Guilty Crown – 09 Review
Shuu finally reveals how troubled he really feels about using the Voids of his friends…
Guilty Crown 09: Yahiro Samukawa Starring In… “The Fugitive”
Christmas is still a few weeks away so I was surprised when a miracle happened: Guilty Crown showed some brains in telling a story. Some, I said, because it’s still Guilty Crown. Shuu is still a jerk, this time accompanied by Yahiro (also a jerk) and they want to save Jun, Yahiro’s little brother (who wasn’t a jerk… but has become one). I’ve always asked myself why the series is called Guilty Crown and I assumed it was a mixture of me feeling guilty and Shuu wearing the crown of jerkiness. Now I know it’s Shuu feeling guilty for being stupid, arrogant and a pain in the ass while still retaining a main-character-role although someone should’ve noticed already what a douchebag he really is. But I’ve talked about Christmas because I actually have a good opinion of this week’s episode. It’s still Guilty Crown but good enough to make me interested again for what will happen (mainly so that I can laugh about its pretentiousness in the end, I guess, but still…).
If you ask yourself where you would hide and you have the options: 1. Random hotel in the middle of nowhere. 2. Some place where you spent your childhood. 3. The infinity of space. What would you do? Don’t bother answering that, it should be easy but seemingly it isn’t because Yahiro had the smart idea to take 2. which was the orphanage where he grew up (with catholic sisters… so near-miss for having a miserable childhood, I guess). ‘Surprisingly’ Scar-Face finds him there and they have to flee.
Back at school, Shuu’s club is doing a stupid movie with Inori playing herself because anything else would require showing emotions. Shuu meanwhile indulges in talking with terrorists on schoolgrounds while being overheard by his second girlfriend who fell in love with him for real after someone heard me cursing how stupid her reaction in episode 03 was (or was it 04?). She has no real reason for loving him besides one surely invented later in the series or one that’s left to out fantasy filling in the gaps or I’ll simply say that she has currently no reason. After getting the mystery out of the way (or that’s what I’ve thought) the anime throws at me another mystery like trying to wake me up. The glasses-girl and the other girl who are too generic to deserve names so I’ll call them Girl A and Girl Be sit in a classroom. Girl A (the one with glasses) reads her horoscope which says some weird shit (not vague and stupid like normal horoscopes but weird like offering hotdogs bathed in scorpion-blood and calling it ‘interestingly funny’). Girl A loves Yahiro and her horoscope tells her where her loved one is but Girl B (the one who loves Shit… uh, I mean Shuu) learns from her Horoscope that her ‘lucky charm’ for love is a tiger-striped tea kettle and therefore Shuu had to walk into the room promptly with such a thing. And Girl A being the obnoxious energetic stereotype forces Girl B and Shuu to take the train to buy stuff.
They take the train and in an embarrassing scene Girl B nearly confesses to Shuu but Shuu doesn’t get anything of what’s happening because a Shounen-main-character never can be witty enough to apply logic to love-related events – except if it’s a series’ finale. But like I said, only nearly because Yahiro runs into the train and Shuu starts to talk with him. Shuu thinks someone elected him to be king douche of the universe and therefore he decides to help Yahiro out of mercy, compassion or wahtever… but not Yahiro directly! No, he really wants to help just Jun, Yahiro’s sick brother. So Shuu tells Girl B to piss off because a deadly situation like helping Yahiro is strictly men-only business.
Despite Shuu’s words Girl B follows them in the way James Bond might do which tells me that perhaps there’s a reason for her love, a reason with a strong smell of cheese and cola-flavoured shampoo (never understood why that crap needs to exist, is what I’m saying…). On their way to Yahiro’s new hideout he tells Shuu their ironic story of buying for health care by betraying Shuu (health care: without it you’re only as healthy as you’re rich and with it you’re only as healthy as it’s deemed ‘affordable’). Due to the not-so-subtle means of sending an entire army-squad to kill ill patients Yahiro’s able to flee in the confusion of such a stupid action. They have (again) a hear-to-heart-talk but this time Shuu fancies himself some kind of hero while Yahiro is the scumbag.
After Shuu had enjoyed his moments of showing Yahiro how much better he is they go on to some warehouse-district where Scarface with his soldiers already waits. He has snipers but since they have tomatoes on their eyes they don’t really hit anything which gives Shuu & Co the chance to flee into a warehouse. But Dan Eagleman has the brilliant plan of “There’s no such thing as ‘enough’.” and therefore Mechas attack the merry band. Yahiro panics but Shuu (who still fancies himself to be Yahiro’s better in every way) tells him to shut the fuck up and let him use his Void. Yahiro thinks that sounds like a good point and gives Shuu the responsibility to get them out of this crappy situation. Shuu runs around and does his best (meaning the situation seems grim) but that’s when fortune smiles gently upon Shuu again because sickly Jun sees his chance to fulfil his wish for Santa even before Christmas this year: He wants to kill his brother. But due to some weird science-fiction-freakishness happening the leading Mecha attacks Jun now but Jun uses the physical contact to infest the Mecha and transform it into some kind of bio-cyborg-hybrid. Jun in his new form pwns the other mechas and Scarface tells the rest that that’s it for their field-day.
Jun in his new strong body of course tries to kill Yahiro who’s unconscious but Shuu tries to stop him with Yahiro’s Void but instead he’s drawn into another one of those pseudo-telepathic dialogue-scenes where Jun confides in Shuu that he loved his brother until the point where he could see Voids and learned that his brother is an asshole which before that point he kinda didn’t notice due to also having tomatoes on his eyes but also apples in his ears (well, you have to be really retarded after all if you don’t notice what a jerk Yahiro is). And then he asks Shuu to kill him. It’s either that or he will kill Yahiro because he kinda got used to making life difficult for others. Shuu still whines a little, just to get on my nerves, I suppose and then he kills Jun. Yahiro’s saved.
Later in the schoolyard Yahiro now thinks that he has some apples in his ears because Shuu tells him that Jun is dead. But that’s when Shuu steps out of the shadows and delivers the punchline in his best Hannibal-Lector-impersonation: “I killed Jun.” Meanwhile Girl B is still following them and watches them having this conversation (no, her actions make no sense to me either…).
Dan Eagleman is still the best character of the show for being so exaggeratedly silly that he’s fun to watch in contrast to douchebags like Shuu or Cyborgs like Inori.
A surprise was surely the last thing you’d expect from a series like Guilty Crown. There I’ve sat down last week already planning ahead what I would wanna talk about this week because Guilty Crown was a bad series, bad because it’s unoriginal, bad because it’s stupid. But then they somehow shoehorned this episode in the series due to some divine intervention or something. After the episode was over I had only one question: Where the hell did this come from?
Yahiro was a real scumbag even compared to the likes of Shuu. He betrayed Shuu even after they had a heart-to-heart-talk (which counts for something if you’re naïve and stupid like Shuu). And later Scarface (I like Dan’s nickname for that freak-villain more than his real name) revealed to Shuu that he had a reason. So we should feel sorry for him? I guess that was the most obvious way to interpret it but after that it was kinda ignored. The point of the whole Shades-Of-Grey-routine was to show Shuu that Funeral Parlor aren’t exactly the Justice League or S.H.I.E.L.D. and while it was impressive that a stupid series like Guilty Crown would even think about such things ultimately it just seemed like a flicker in the darkness.
Usually when a stupid series includes something resembling ‘grey’ morality-wise I’m inclined to sigh and say “At least they tried.”. With Guilty Crown I ignored that and went right to the next part – I laughed. So I laughed when Yahiro got an excuse for being an asshole. Well, imagine my surprise when this episode introduced him again to be on the run from the authorities. Now that was a surprise. I’ve thought “What the hell is going on?” but the series went back to Shuu who was at school doing this silly movie. Although I should add that it was important all the same because it was the first time I actually cared about what would happen next.
And a scene follows which is really weird. These two girls from Shuu’s school are talking about their horoscopes which are truly bizarre. But as the episode shows: They are right. And it’s made obvious with the way the tiger-striped tea-kettle was used that these horoscopes are the fishiest shit this episode has seen which wasn’t made for complete retards. Of course I hope there’s a reason for these horoscopes to be that precise besides having a moron as a writer and that this is actually foreshadowing. Because these bizarre horoscopes matter to the story, it’s not just some random sentimental shit telling us that kobolds and unicorns are real. This is something strange going on for unknown reasons but with the certainty that it has a purpose. Currently I have this theory that the ‘real story’ of this series involves a being capable of pre-cognition because Yahiro’s escape is suspicious and the impact these horoscopes have on what follows after that is strange, too. Of course the best kind of foreshadowing becomes obvious to the audience only when it’s revealed what was foreshadowed with it so in case I’m right with my assumption this means it’s not the best. But hey, it’s Guilty Crown, every effort to count beyond three gets my applause.
They matter because one of these girls loves Shuu for no reason whatsoever (in animes shit happens the same way love does: As an unfortunate accident) and the horoscope made it clear that she loves Shuu which prompts the other dimwit (who loves Yahiro) to arrange a sort-of date by having the girl go together with Shuu to get… stuff. And Shuu goes with her. And while using the train in a scene I probably have seen now a felt thousand times he’s standing in the train when Yahiro arrives – and the girl clings to him like they are on a boat in a stormy sea. That of course doesn’t disturb Shuu and prompts him to take notice of her and what it could… no, what it definitely means. He’s staring at Yahiro and completely forgets her. Because after last episode’s great heart-to-heart-talk with Satou which had him admitting that he considers Satou to be a jerk Shuu is in a really great mood – which means that he thinks he’s some sort of Bruce-Willis-clone and his life is a Die-Hard-movie. So he sees poor jerky Yahiro playing the tough guy for old time’s sake and Shuu decides to help him, not really him, though, but his sickly brother.
I have to admit I laughed in that moment. Shuu spends half the episode being a prick towards Yahiro – and then screws up big time… At least the series still knows what ‘poetic justice’ means.
And then like with all great plans Shuu dreams up this one follows strictly Murphy’s law of shit happening in every possible way. First, they’re discovered, then Shuu had a narcissistic streak of telling Yahiro to let him use him – and then the sickly brother becomes Hulk by taking over a mecha using whatever screwed up yet unexplained powers this series has dreamt up for him. And that’s exactly what this series needed.
I don’t remember in which review I said it but it was something like that Shuu needs to face the consequences of his actions to get real character-development. That’s what happened here. Shuu took control of the events – and shit hit the fan. Of course it was funny considering the way Shuu acted all high and mighty in this episode. Confidence sure didn’t make him less of a jerk.
So Shuu got his development for valid reasons although it isn’t clear at this point where exactly the series will take this. If it means that Shuu becomes catatonic and whiny like Shinji then I would actually say that I was happier with him being a jerk who doesn’t face the consequences. I’m not that great of a Neon-Genesis-Evangelion-fan but at least NGE had the pseudo-death of being mysterious with its setting and story. And some time ago ANN had an interview with the guys producing this series and someone (I believe it was the director) said that Shuu is the new Shinji Ikari version of 2011. Well, but if Guilty Crown ultimately wants to be Neon Genesis Evangelion then it’s Neon Genesis Evangelion directed by Michael Bay. Just go into the cinema and watch Transformers 3, I tell you, that’s how Guilty Crown ends – and it’ll think it’s deep. Although it’s not.
Now back to this episode I have to admit that the part concerning Yahiro’s sickly brother was handled really well. Though I think the dialogue could’ve been better in showing this contrast of whishing for a past that Jun knew is a lie. He knows that his brother is an asshole and he wants to kill him (he even acknowledges that Shuu is a jerk to which I only nodded understandingly). The dialogue doesn’t bring this two views together it’s more like there are two versions of him talking, one being the innocent wimpy kid being helped out by his big bro who even bribes him so that he likes him, the other being the supernatural tortured teenager looking into the Void of his brother and realizing that his soul isn’t the beacon of compassion and justice he would’ve liked to see. Of course it’s nitpicky of me to say that but this story-tidbit was the best one we have seen so far. The rest of the series so far wasn’t garbage per se but recycled garbage. Recycling isn’t bad when done right but Guilty Crown took everything, threw it in a mixer together with beautiful appearance and believed to dazzle us. No, it was boring and shit.
Considering the bizarre horoscopes at the beginning of this episode I believe that Guilty Crown hasn’t told us its true story yet. GHQ isn’t the story, the virus is. And this virus isn’t your run-of-the-mill cold turning turtles into ninjas. It’s clear that Voids are a story-element with a strong psychological vibe but the series so far treated them like another lame excuse for why the side-characters should lick the main-character’s boots. But considering the connection to Neon-Genesis-Evangelion I do ask myself how far Guilty Crown wants to go with Freudian surprise-visits theme-wise when the story starts appearing because what we currently see is random shit believed to appeal to everyone. It may be a stupid joke from the producers to sell DVDs believing the first half has to be a generic hook for dimwitted otaku with money but in the end what counts is that Guilty Crown wasted time with stupid generic stuff that got nowhere. Seriously look at the title: Episode 09. Who really does feel like he has seen more than two hours of story-material from this series? The last episode was solid in a generic way and I believed this would be the best I could hope to get from Guilty Crown. But this episode had (perhaps) foreshadowing and a good episodic story.
And now the really nitpicky stuff of details that made me remember I was still watching stupid Guilty Crown:
1. When Yahiro and Shuu fled in the beginning and Scarface had his snipers ready, they fired, missed – and never shot again. What’s the point of having snipers in the story when they are worth shit?
2. After Jun, the sickly Weltschmerz-fanatic, becomes ‘Hulk’ the soldiers don’t interfere anymore, Scarface withdraws. Just like that… Like it didn’t matter to begin with what would happen. Well, I hope I’m not overthinking things with believing that this series actually does foreshadowing.
3. This obnoxious lovesick girl from Shuu’s school… Why is she present in the last scene? We did see her following the two… so what the hell happened? Is she some kind of elite-assassin to follow them without being seen by a troupe of soldiers?
4. Shuu talking to Funeral Parlor during club-activity and being overheard by the super-spy… That’s not the least bit secretive, rather it’s fairly obvious that the rumours about him being a terrorist are true. He’s really do ing a poor job of hiding his new-found-hobby of terrorism.
Guilty Crown delivers for the first time an episode that’s honestly good. There are some nitpicky things here and there I didn’t like but it was solid and had an interesting story to tell. It also promised some interesting character-development for Shuu which also for the first time didn’t feel forced or without reason. Guilty Crown may have a story to share which it hasn’t talked about yet because this episode really stands out in comparison to the lackluster crappy episodes of the episodes before last week.
This time I actually have a question for my dear readers…
What do you think Guilty Crown’s stance toward euthanasia is with Shuu killing Yuu and GHQ trying to kill Yuu?
Or a less provocative version for those who don’t like answering provocative questions (I know I don’t, I just like asking them):
Was it right for Shuu to kill Jun?