Guilty Crown – 13 Review

Right, because when shit has hit the fan and a city has sunk into chaos every teenager would go to school wearing the school-uniform…

Guilty Crown 13 – You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party

Two weeks have passed, this episode tells us in the beginning and like predicted in these two weeks Shuu has already grown a pair which excludes him from any sort of whining-sequences. Filling that spot will be Ayase who still can’t get over her failure to save Gai. Shuu’s completely fine with it and even has convinced himself that he let Gai die because stabbing someone with a big kick-ass sword isn’t killing or something like that. The evil guys (not the real heroes of this episode, I mean Sergai, Professor-Dude & Co) also have a nasty surprise for the protagonists… Apparently Aquarion Evol isn’t the only series these days realizing that a wall is an amazing plot-device.

Synopsis:
After two weeks of chaos and confusion Shuu’s school has become a refuge for all the prestigious under-17-teenager-survivors in Tokyo – and they all wear the school-uniform. Not everyone of Funeral Parlor ended up at that school but most of them did anyway. The known characters who did end up there are members of the ruling council of that school. While they think about their future steps and realize how grim the situation is Souta has the brilliant idea that they should held a cultural festival like they usually did. Because keeping up appearances by having overbearing festivals during a crisis is important. It also cheers up the teenagers in the school – and pisses off everyone else in the city.
Using that aggression Sergai helps a group of Defenders Of Justice who are disgusted by the display of wealth and nonchalance shown by Shuu’s school in contrast to the misery and ruin in the rest of the city. And so they attack. Ayase who’s in a bad mood since Gai died for which she blames herself sees in the attack her chance to finally do something useful. But Shuu just rolls her away first, indirectly telling her that she’s indeed useless (he’s a jerk after all…). But she can convince him to help her and so he pulls out her Void which are a pair of levitation-boots coincidentally. And she uses those to get rid of the Defenders Of Justice despite the fact that sitting in a wheelchair should mean that she can’t move anything below her waist. Shuu also destroys the Endclave by using Inori’s Void. After that display of action everyone in the school claps like that has been some live-action-stunt-show. In the midst of confusion and chaos the school also managed to get the equipment for a EGOIST-concert where Inori shows that she’s quite the one-trick pony with singing the same song we saw her sing in the first episode already.

I assume letting even characters in the series realize how ridiculous the plot was, this whole thing was supposed to be funny or something. Well, it’s not, people are dying in the rest of the city – and these kids organized a festival

Review:
Last week’s Guilty Crown episode was good, I have to repeat that, it was actually good. I was entertained while watching it. Of course it was strange how much of a clean cut the last episode was and I guess nobody could escape the feeling of seeing an acceptable finale. So the preview told us already one giant horrendous detail of this episode: They all go back to school. Tokyo’s central area is buried by crystal-stuff, thousands of people died – and Shuu & Co go back to school.
It isn’t the normal school-life anymore, though. It has become a refuge for lost kids who bravely wear their school-uniforms while around them the whole city is crumbling into ruin and chaos. And these kids are (of course led) by another bunch of kids which are all the known protagonists. Gee, Infinite Ryvius may have been whiny at times but at least it knew what happens when you leave a bunch of brats to their own devices. But not here: Everyone still acts as if this were a normal school, even the punks of the school still bully and pester the weak like they did before the second ‘Lost Christmas’ (it wasn’t Christmas exactly but who cares about these details…). So what I’m getting at is that you never get the sense of crisis from this episode. The city is supposed to be in ruins, people have died, kids have lost their parents – and Ayase gets bullied at school like it’s another one of those school-life- series. The destruction wrought by the last few episodes events is talked about instead of shown and that’s always a bad way of storytelling in my book.
So these kids are sitting around in their own council and ponder the question what the hell they should do now. Then suddenly Souta has a brilliant idea: “Let’s make a school festival!” Yeah, because that will cheer these people up… who lost family, home and money. And the majority of the Council likes the idea although Yuu (who apparently is now the brains of the show) thinks it’s a crappy idea. And everyone else with a decent brain thinks so through but the general public of teenagers at school seems to like it and they spend their time playing “school” although there’s a danger of getting infected, food-shortage, riots and the usual crimes you see committed when chaos rules. It’s a preposterous concept, not only because a very familiar generic trope got shoehorned into the plot at a point where it doesn’t seem appropriate. What’s far worse is how this episode lacks any sort of substance and really goes back to all the flaws of plot-progression the first half had. This kind of episode is the reason why the decent semi-final didn’t get sufficient build-up.

Wait, did the bad guys just build a giant wall around this part of the city with the tech to let it disappear in the ground – and nobody on the imprisoned side noticed any of this?

So looking at the filler-esque plot of this episode there are two elements which got real development over the course of the episode. One is Ayase bitching about her weakness and Gai’s death and the other is the antagonist’s showing up to have some fighting scenes. The rest is very banal except the last few minutes of course.
So, the antagonists… A band of men judging it unfair how the school can have the resources to have a party while around them people struggle to find food or get the cure. Does that strike you as evil? No, me neither. In fact it’s understandable to be baffled by the resourcefulness and cheerfulness of these brats in their school. I have no idea who got the idea for these antagonists but they sure were successful in continuing with the theme of making Shuu look like a jerk. Forgiveness? Naw, just kill the intruders, people above 17 just have to be jerks who don’t deserve mercy or pity in this situation. It certainly also continues the theme of this show which gives the people under 17 all the privileges.
Shuu’s new power is really giving everybody the chance to use their own Void-powers which is as convenient as it gets with the concept of Void, I guess. And Ayase’s Void certainly made me roll my eyes since the Void’s form was once again shaped by plot-convenience. Ayase’s sub-plot of self-pity and whining seems very strange in relation to Shuu’s behavior. Shuu was the wimp and Ayase was the strong one but apparently Shuu has really manned up after Gai’s death and just takes the burden of killing him. It’s funny how Shuu corrected Ayase by saying “You didn’t let him die, I let him die.” since technically Shuu killed Gai, he didn’t let him die. Shuu’s over the death of Gai apparently after two weeks but Ayase just goes on and on being all gloomy and jerky. And all it takes to brighten the mood is her kicking the asses of some random guys. Wow, that really sounds like deep character-development to me. Perhaps everyone should try to kick some random people’s asses the next time anyone’s in a sad mood. You never know, it might cheer you up! Shuu also had a typical jerky moment when it comes to Ayase’s second problem in this episode. She wants to be useful despite not having an Endclave to control. So what does Shuu that jerk does as soon as the action starts? He rolls her away from the action and tells her “Oh, I’ll just roll you to this quiet spot where you can hum and stay out of everybody’s way.”. Then Ayase tells Shuu what a jerk he is, has a dere-moment and then he pulls out her Void out and voila, it’s the one she needs. It’s great how this plot-convenience always seem to help when you need it.
Then the last few minutes of the episode: Whoa, way to make yourself look bad. The Professor-Dude (who should be dead) announces himself to be President of Japan and his first action is building a big wall around great parts of Tokyo. Parts of Tokyo are under quarantine now which weren’t destroyed or ravaged by the previous events. Remember that? Well, no wonder because it’s the exact same thing that already happened at the beginning of this series – only on a larger scale. At the beginning of this series one of Gai’s arguments why GHQ is evil was that the ruins of the quarantined parts aren’t actually full of infected people. Yep, same old shit, history is repeating itself with a speed that qualifies as a serious lack of imagination. It’s only on a larger scale than before but all in all we’re back at the beginning of the series with Funeral Parlor in a wrongly quarantined zone fighting the good fight against GHQ. And there I’ve thought this series would try to depart from the school-setting and delve into the mythology of the Apocalypse-Virus… Well, that wouldn’t be generic enough of course, I guess.

After a rather good episode Guilty Crown returns with an underwhelming aftermath/filler-episode. Most of the characters’ development was inconsequential and it was only Ayase who got any sort of character-development. But her sub-plot like the rest of this episode fails to acknowledge the bigger picture of the setting at this point and fails in creating the appropriate atmosphere. One could also complain that the plot-twist at the end was a poor attempt of kinda time-travelling to the beginnings of this series.

Episode-Rating: 3/10

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About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on January 19, 2012, in Anime, Guilty Crown, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Even though it makes sense that the antagonists in this episode would be mad about what the kids are doing, exactly how is killing a bunch of high school kids supposed to help anything? I mean, they didn’t say “we’re fixing to go take all their food” or “we’re going to overtake the school because it’s safer than being in the riots” or anything, they’re just… going to kill them because they can.

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    • Yeah, of course you’re right. Ultimately they are antagonists, evil people doing evil stuff. But that their motivations are reasonable up to some point makes the whole situation very weird. Especially since nobody of the “good” protagonists seem to acknowledge that.

      Like

  2. Wow. This episode was reeeeaaaaally disappointing. WTF? A typical anime high school cultural festival complete with a cat-maid girl? Wow.

    I mean, I’m of the opinion that the cultural-festival-device is just plain inexcusable at this point in the series. However, several things could have been easily and quickly done to work it in a little better… Like, a 5-second flashback showing a student’s memory of how a similar situation in the past worked to ease the tension of a bunch of students during the first lost christmas. I mean, just about anything would have sufficed to decrease the amount of “suspension of disbelief” the viewer must have to actually enjoy this episode. I mean, the largest city in the whole world has been f’ing decimated, there’s no functional communication (phones/tv/etc), there’s riots and looting, the kids are all trapped in the school, supplies are limited, the plague is running rampant, tons of people are dead – essentially the shit has *totally* hit the fan and the teens are about to get all Lord of the Flies on each other – and we’re supposed to believe that all they need is a little bit of “school spirit” to make them forget that the apocalypse is happening? WTF.

    @Notaku- Exactly! “Hey mang, the end of the world as we know has just happened, and we’re freaking out about it, so let’s go butcher some high school kids.”

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    • and the teens are about to get all Lord of the Flies on each other – and we’re supposed to believe that all they need is a little bit of “school spirit” to make them forget that the apocalypse is happening? WTF.

      Well, apparently all it needed for a true happy ending in Lord of the Flies was just a way to get these kids into a school 😀 . As far as I’m concerned this sounds like a VERY interesting way to re-interpret Lord of the Flies.

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  3. I’m willing to forgive the bad guys’ motivation in this episode, despite it being stupid, because people will do crazy things when under a lockdown within a week. Granted, the lockdown I remember doing that had no electricity, had monsters running around, and all that other stuff, but who knows what will happen when Scarface is involved?

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  4. I can’t believe how the author keeps putting them back into school!
    It was some kind of apocalypse!
    The sky was turned into dark blue, with a whirlpool of death in the core.
    LOTS People got sucked by it and dispersed into itty bitty crystals.
    They should be sad! All of kids (and all the people) should mourn for their parents/family members/friends’ death. And yet they have time to bully a girl in wheelchair?
    I guess all of them have memory reset ability just like Yuno/

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    • It was some kind of apocalypse!

      Isn’t it nice? Tokyo devastated – but the school still stands! Thousands of people died, everyone lost people dear to them – but the students still go to school wearing their uniforms! Society is in ruins after this catastrophe – but the students manage to act like normal students at a normal school on a normal day! Well, if you ask me I would like to see the teachers who created these kind of students 😀 …

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  5. I actually enjoyed the episode even though as you all have pointed out it was a filler. I was more shocked how the authors made a total 180 on Shu’s character arc. He went from being shy, awkward, and isolated to someone with some authority in the school? I felt like at least 8 of the first 12 episodes were completely useless. I think the series can be salvaged, but the authors can’t decide to have one climatic episode that incorporates the entire plot again.

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    • I was more shocked how the authors made a total 180 on Shu’s character arc.

      Hmm, the last episode already hinted at that development. Since Shuu is main-character and anime-main-character in general have a memory as good as shit he forgot what a brave guy he was as a kid. So now remembering again that he isn’t a wimp at all, his character is supposed to work quite different from before.

      And I agree with you that much of the first half has been a waste of time especially considering what extra build-up the semi-finale could’ve needed.

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  6. Wow, last week’s episode was a fluke apparently.
    Its cool that Shu wasn’t as unlikable, but they really let the episode go in return. I was hoping to see Shu really be more like Gai and take charge, but it seemed as though the writers are still trying to make him hesitant outside of battle.
    I think this series as a whole would have worked better if they had flipped the order of the episodes around, and started with the recap of Lost Christmas, and then gone from there, to give context as to why he was so pathetic until he joined Funeral Parlor. From there I think the plot is still very workable, it was always an interesting concept to me, the execution just failed horribly. Then again hindsight is always better.

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    • Well, Shuu did kinda change… he didn’t whine as much as before. But that’s all there is to it. And you’re right, even if it would’ve been a bit weird to make Shuu Gai 2.0 with a simple lost-memories-trope I would’ve still liked to see him “act” like a hero. But as soon as I saw him trying to get Ayase away from the action despite her intentions, I knew that it was essentially still the same stupid character.

      And how the plot could’ve worked better… There are multiple ways, I guess but the painful truth is that despite the lacklustre first half there was a good story waiting to be told. But they screwed up.

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  7. Are you sure about two months? It is “two weeks” in russian translation, not months.
    I do no agree that Ayase’s void shape is another “happy coincidence”. Void is a reflection of a heart, remember? Heart desire of a girl in a wheelchair – is to be able to run and jump. that makes sense to me.
    It is said in the 8th episode that voids change with human hearts. So I think the creators must change Yahiro’s void. I mean, scissors fulfilled it’s purpose – сut away his “burden”. He is free. But maybe he doesn’t feel himself free.
    What made me roll my eyes (besides school festival) is the way Shuu and Ayase stood back to back in the end of the episode. Like team Rocket from Pokemons.
    What makes me laugh in this episode was Scarface giving Endlave to the bandits. It is theft of state property!!!)))) Russian can recognize a corrupt official when he see one)))
    PS: sorry for my English

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    • Ah, yeah, it’s actually two weeks… Thanks 😉 .

      Well, I call it a “convenient coincidence” because Ayase wanted to do something and that she can use her Void because of Shuu’s new power and that the Void is giving her a chance to sort-of walk again is just too ideal. Voids are very vaguely defined to begin with. Your explanation of why Ayase’s Void looks like that makes sense but if you look at other Void’s then it isn’t the norm for a Void to interpret a person’s desire *that* literally. For example Souta, if the Void would’ve been such a literal interpretation as in Ayase’s case then he should’ve had a desire to open doors and not just a desire to help people being more honest about themselves. There’s also the episode where a student got a fridge as Void and what desire can be literally translated into a fridge? I think every Void in this show is pretty much plot-convenience since there’s no norm for how Voids look like and for what reasons.

      As for the changing of Voids, I think it’s the same there. It’s all pretty much plot-convenience, if Shuu is confronted with a problem in the future I expect people’s Voids to change. And now it doesn’t even need to involve Shuu himself since everyone can use their Voids themselves. In the end it’s a typical shounen-setting of special people doing special stuff to save the world. This series just isn’t serious enough about its setting.

      The episode is decent enough on a mediocre level but the timing for it is just SOOO bad… The context of this episode makes everything in it look ridiculous, I think.

      And Scarface with his roguish intentions could be an interesting character if the series would actually bother to not paint its world in black and white.

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  8. That student (from the third episode) was fat))) I guess food is the only thing he can think about.))) Primitive explanation, but I believe he was included in order to create something humorous, not meaningful.

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  9. … Speaking of deep sense… Do you have any idea why the show got its name? What is it supposed to mean?
    Into Russian it is translated like “The crown of guilt (feeling)”, “the crown of guilty (person)”, “The crown of sin”, “the crown of sinner” “the crown of offender”. Literal translation doesn’t make sense: it means that the crown itself is guilty
    I noticed “crown of thorns” in the opening song – but what it has to do with Christianity?
    “crown of thorns” = “The crown of sin” (the most frequent translation, by the way) After 9th episode I thought I got it: Shuu’s ability allowed him to undertake Yahiro’s sin and guilt (desire to kill his own brother), to make all dirty job with his hands. But now I’m not so sure.

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    • There’s a reason for the title of the show or so the merchandise would have us believe. The ED-Single had a sort of epigram which is supposed to explain the title:

      The right to use
      my friend
      as a weapon.
      That is the sinful crown
      I shall adorn.

      Well, I never really got the feeling that this is an important part of Guilty Crown’s plot. So go figure how this title has anything to do with the show.

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  10. So just recapping on all the dumb crap that’s happened in our beloved series Guilty Crown.

    What have we established?

    Segai is about as random as he gets. Examples of this happening? He shoots down his own men if they’re getting in his way of amusement or enlightenment. Likes to donate military grade robots to random terrorists for fun, Occasionally likes to shoot Shu’s hot mom and at times likes to help her out by backstabbing his previous employer.

    Inori is in many ways the newest version of Ayanami Rei. Is a genetically reproduce copy of someone. Gets attracted by boys who call her a monster. Wears the type of colorful outfit that stands out alot when she’s in covert operation with the fellow undertakers (you’d think she’d wear something that can help her blend in to the surrounding but no Inori HAS to stand out making her fellow co-workers a easy target for snipers).

    Shu is strong with or without his Void pulling hat tricks. I’m sure most of us noticed it by now but when he means business he can suddenly fly around like he’s a humanoid gundam waving his giant sword around like it weighs nothing. He’s supposedly got perfect control over his balance enough that he won’t be thrown off a moving vehicle even if that said vehicle was driving off road, being pelted by missiles and god knows how many rifles. The dude probably doesn’t even need Voids. I swear I won’t be surprised if he can just beat up giant mechs with his bare hands tearing off the limbs like it’s nothing. When Ayase calls out SHU and he went to cut up that robot? He practically flew faster than bullets.

    “giant wall around this part of the city”

    Doesn’t it remind how in Evangelion their buildings used to sink underground from time to time? I dare say they’re living on the same universe. Who knows, we might get Evas in Guilty Crown, y’know them mechas that let’s the pilot feel pain when it’s limb get blown off….oh wait. Wha?

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    • Did you read that hilarious interview on ANN 😀 ? I don’t know who it was but either the director or the script-writer said that Shuu is supposed to be the “Shinji Ikari of 2011”. That makes Inori probably the “Ayanami Rei of 2011”. Of course while these characters are similar I wouldn’t really say they are the same. I mean even Evangelion had better characterization even if they kept everyone’s psyche dysfunctional until the final episode. In Guilty Crown, though, the characterizations are just silly.
      And stealing ideas from Evangelion is apparently something nearly every anime does nowadays… I don’t even know whether I should bother criticizing an anime for doing that anymore.

      Segai is about as random as he gets.

      Well, I actually like these kind of characters that only look out for themselves. It’s a nice idea that being evil doesn’t mean all you’re doing is killing good people all day. But since we’re talking here about Guilty Crown which doesn’t care about any shades of grey when it comes to morality Sergai’s behaviour doesn’t make much sense.

      When Ayase calls out SHU and he went to cut up that robot? He practically flew faster than bullets.

      That’s actually also another proof for why Ayase’s Void is plot-convenience. Shuu doesn’t need these boots because just having Inori’s sword he already moves like he’s defying gravity. These boots are only there because Ayase needed them now.

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  11. Look, the overall concept of the show was good. The execution of the show, on the otherhand, was what puzzles me the most. It’s hard to believe that this show had the same director and script-writer as Code Geass, given the jumble mess it has elicited so far. What happened in episode 12 was just way to random and out of place, they could have built up what was to happen over the first eleven episodes–instead, they just gave new facts from no where. They could have implied that Gai knew Shu before hand, yet he acted like a total stranger for eleven full episodes. Inori just has no charaterisation at all, she’s a kuudere sex .Despite her status as the heroine of the show, it just feels like she’s an eye-candy and totally irrelevant. Her character was never explored, just as much of the other characters in the show–namely Gai.

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    • Hmm, it certainly seems like a show planned to make money instead of telling a gripping story. The show is so focused on delivering non-stop-fanservice in some way or another that it’s rather obvious why the serious parts of the storytelling simply don’t work. And remembering what happened to Code Geass in its second season it seems that this script-writer has a rather “unlucky” way of getting his scripts produced. I don’t know why but it certainly isn’t a secret that this series isn’t interested in high-quality-storytelling.

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