Guilty Crown – 03 Review
Oh, so Mr. Super-Sensitive doesn’t like to be called a moron, is that it? Well, grow a pair, will ye? Because you know what? The guy who called you a moron: He was goddamn right. It’s time to accept that and move on.
Episode 3 – The Actor Who Takes Drugs Isn’t Your Best Friend
Predicament has become a daily event for Shuu and so he knows it’s time to reduce his shyness to private moments of wimpy whining. Gai, who now makes thousand new friends on facebook each hour of the day, tells Shuu that his secret ‘Actually I’m quitting this job.’-pact with Gai could be revealed because Shuu is sort of still working together with the Funeral Parlor group despite the fact that he called it quits last episode. The reason is naturally Inori who like usual shows off the remarkable presence of a nice-looking lawn-mower.
Funeral Parlor has a national broadcast telling everyone that they’re the good guys and points at the GHQ saying ‘Look! They’re REAAAAAALLLLLLYYYYYYYY evil!’. Everyone is a panic which is why the GHQ raised the security levels to Level 2 (or whatever, the audience doesn’t care, the characters don’t care, nobody cares about this). The far more important matter at hand is that Shuu’s class gets a new transfer student – Inori. Everyone tries to get something meaningful out of her since she’s a pop-star and all but she remains silent. In the P.E. lesson Shuu is talking to his friend about her and makes some nasty remarks about her due to his constant nervousness around everyone (except Inori, terrorists and murderous mechas). He calls him a moron and Shuu’s sulking because of this on his way home. But at his flat’s front-door he encounters Inori who enters his home announcing that she’s living with him from now on out of some thinner-than-paper sentimental reasons. That’s when it’s revealed that Shuu’s mother is someone really important involved with the bad guys. And the bad guys hire a scumbag to do something against the terrorists.
In the evening Yahiro arrives at Shuu’s flat because he wants to lend him a torture-porn-movie which seems a very suspicious choice for a favourite movie as far as Yahiro’s usual personality is concerned. But Inori joins the two and Yahiro suspiciously isn’t bothered at all by learning of Inori living with Shuu under the same roof. Inori and Shuu leave for a meeting with Gai who has some good news and some bad news for Shuu. Bad news: An outsider saw Shuu fighting together with the terrorists against the GHQ. Good News: That person goes to the same school as Shuu (just ‘accidentally’ so, of course). And Shuu starts searching him starting with that an embarrassing learning-process of using his new-found powers. By chance he ends up along with Yahiro who makes a suspicious remark about Shuu and the Funeral Parlor. That’s when Shuu knows: Yahiro is the guy, he’s looking for! And drawing out his Void confirms his suspicions. Inori wants to kill him at once but Shuu stops telling her some bullshit about how he has a better way of dealing with this situation. So he spends hours playing the Bonds-Of-Friendship-game with Yahiro and they both leave agreeing to be real friends from now on with Shuu knowing everything about Yahiro’s drug addiction and him being a top-notch actor. But later in the train the first thing Yahiro does is betraying Shuu to the GHQ. Whatever you may say about Yahiro, he may not be the smartest actor out there but he sure as hell is one of the best…
Except the face maybe since he showed it on television as the leader of Funeral Parlor, right? But we already know that Shuu never looks at people’s faces so it’s only understandable that it has slipped his mind to take that part of his appearance into account.
Guilty Crown is a series that tries very hard to do everything right but realizing it can’t do that, the series takes short-cuts. Exaggeration and the kind of ‘coincidences’ that make you laugh are what is the story’s downfall in this episode were.
The exaggeration is the noticeable way of the story to develop ‘as planned’. When the series needs to be funny, it isn’t enough to make out of Shuu’s mistake an embarrassing incident, no, it has to become the talk of the whole school. When the series tries to show off its setting with the Void-rules it has details that interest no one (like making the first rule that you have to be younger than 17 to have a Void inside you since anything older than 18 is “old & uncool”) and the terminology is just as unnecessarily complicated (the drug Germa Norm just… exists and has a name). When Shuu has to find a special Void, it’s not enough to portray his desperate search as something short-lived realizing he can’t just run around headless drawing out everyone’s Void – but that’s exactly what he does which is in the end just another sequence full of poor humour. The series always tries to make full use of a scene trying to drench it in a certain atmosphere but what it ends up with are these mediocre scenes that simply have no ‘flow’. The episode just dragged itself from one scene to another forcing itself to be funny or whatever currently the right mood was but simply ignored the overall story. You can’t see the connecting link between all those scenes if each scene just tries to think about itself first before thinking about the ‘big picture’.
‘Lifeless as a doll’: I can totally agree with that assessment of her character.
The amount of ‘coincidences’ this series is assembling here to get an acceptable storyline together is simply amazing, I have to admit. When it’s revealed that one of the leading scientists of the bad guys side is Shuu’s mother… That was just bad. Isn’t it enough that he stumbled into this adventure, now he has to have convenient contacts to important people, too? That’s simply too much! That’s not a story-concept, that’s a bloody wishing-machine for a pretentious teenager! This whole thing is simply too ‘neat’. And the development of this episode, which wasn’t a very convincing ‘plottwist’ by the way, was that Shuu’s friend is a drug addict – and that he’s got a few Acting-awards for his brilliant role as ‘Mr. Everybody’s Friend’.
Now that development was pretty much the crap when you not only use derivative plotlines but also use them without decent build-up. First, there was the pretty ridiculous affair of Gai telling Shuu that someone from his school may have seen him. Okay, it may sound nitpicky to get that deep with how wrong the logic behind Gai’s words is but just to show how flawed the build-up for the whole thing is. So, Gai was kicking some ass and there was a crowd of spectators. So Gai looks at a crowd of a dozen people, he just looks at them and goes on with his business. The next day he somehow notices that one person, only one person (!) wasn’t from that fort. So, why didn’t he notice him the first time? Well, obviously since he doesn’t remember everyone and doesn’t scan the crowds constantly for outsiders. Gai doesn’t notice the outsider at once but somehow learns that there was an outsider in the crowd, a drug addict that went by the alias ‘Sugar’. And again Gai knows somehow that this guy is from Shuu’s school, that guy had an alias and blended in the crowd of the people from the fort – but it’s known that he goes to the same school as Shuu. But it doesn’t end here with what Gai somehow knows about this guy. Remember how I started with Gai looking at the crowd of spectators and not noticing the outsider? Well, he didn’t notice the outsider – but he sure as hell remembered the form of his Void the outsider had. I think the brilliant investigation that Gai did might be a good plot for an Un-Go-episode because that was nothing short of miraculous what he found out about this whole affair. But the whole ridiculousness doesn’t end there because for Shuu the brilliant detective work of Gai amounts to one stupid hint: Someone in your school has seen you and Inori. So Shuu begins his stupid quest of running around school finding this one person. And then by chance he ends up alone with his close friend Yahiro who just drops a hint, no, you might as well consider him admitting the whole thing for no apparent reason. Because Yahiro makes a strange remark that only someone who has seen what happened could’ve known. And that’s how Shuu learns who the drug-addict at his school is that knows about him. In contrast to Gai’s miraculous detective work, Shuu solves the case because Yahiro seems to be a bloody moron. Not to mention how typical it is for a close friend of Shuu to be the guy he’s searching for, no, he basically tells Shuu it’s him. And then Shuu stops Inori from killing him. Right, because it wouldn’t cause any complications to just kill him after he was seen running off together with Inori and Shuu. And Inori can risk drawing attention to herself since it isn’t suspicious at all how she broke into a lab two episodes ago and then there’s the part where even a brat with shit for brains can tell that her songs are suspiciously pro-Funeral-Parlor. But I guess, Guilty Crown simply isn’t that kind of story where logic matters that much. Ah, and what was really funny about this whole affair of Shuu finding out that Yahiro was the peeping-tom? It was that Yahiro’s characterization was pretty much consistent throughout the episode – by telling you that he’s the culprit. At first I’ve thought he got a decent characterization by not freaking out like the rest of Shuu’s brainless class but the ‘plottwist’ at the end revealed that he just followed a stupid script of telling you ‘He doesn’t freak out because he already knows about it!’. And making him a drug-addict? Well, I guess, if he’s a drug-addict then seemingly Robert Downey Jr. should never have had a pause in his career because if drugs do one thing then it’s making you a bloody good actor.
Characterization ranged from acceptable to pretty weird in this episode. Shuu again took the cake with his mortifying monologue of whining about how someone could’ve called him a moron. Well, he is a moron. Even more so for whining about being called one! I don’t know whether that was supposed to be funny or if someone thought this is something ‘shy’ persons do but it was stupid. And how Inori solves Shuu’s ‘shyness’-problem… Oh my god, that dialogue!
Shuu: I can’t look people in the eye!
Inori: Do you think I ever look into your eyes? I look at your eyebrows!
I was thinking ‘Wait, she’s doing what?’, I mean, come on! There’s no reason for Inori to give Shuu tips how he can live on with his wimpishness. She’s a frigging cyborg! Have you noticed how she didn’t say a word at school? And the first time she spoke in this episode, when she was alone with Shuu, I remembered why. Because she’s goddamn freaky! Jesus, because of the way she talks she would’ve been my first guess for being the drug-addict at school! I would’ve liked to hear a conversation going like this:
Student #1: Have you seen Inori, the singer of Egoist?
Student #2: Pretty cool, isn’t it? We have a real star in our school!
Student #1 (unsure): But have you heard her talk? She’s… strange.
Student #2 (shrugs): It’s a pop-stars-thing. They all are like that. For us ‘earthlings’ they are ‘aliens’ from another planet.
Inori is still this lifeless object walking around, looking pretty and lacking any kind of convincing personality.
Oh, and what was really important for the story was the revelation that Gai has a special ability which is seeing Voids of other people. Neat but I have to ask: Why? Isn’t it enough, that his terrorist group full of teenagers and poor weirdos has gotten enough fans on Facebook to make it trendy liking them? It was sort of campy and funny what Code Geass did with its characters and its story but this is just plain ridiculous. The rest of the cast is simply forgettable.
It’s difficult to say how soon Guilty Crown could get better because it’s deep down in the shitty pits of being underwhelming. This episode was for me the worst one until now because with the lack of any real action but plenty of stupidity it was just a pain to watch. It may look nice but there’s only so much you can hide with good looks because as soon as the characters start to talk you may start to cringe.