Guilty Crown – 16 Review
So even after Shuu had become a tyrannical merciless leader he still knows a thing or two about being a spineless jerk. He’s really quick to change his opinion about the Void-Ranking-System after enforcing it so strongly for some time now.
Guilty Crown 16 – The Benefits of “Distinguishing”
Guilty Crown is still a silly series. For example this series want to make us believe that the Void-Ranking-System isn’t only a way to organize this school’s survival it actually has turned it literally into a totalitarian regime with “Secret Service” and stuff. And it’s all managed by children. Also in this big ruined Tokyo there are conflicts between various groups of survivors who try to get vaccine and other stuff but the conflict shown in this episode was between teenagers with Voids from Shuu’s school and… another group of teenagers. There were no adults around, we pretty much have seen only teenagers being in this ruined Tokyo. And the Big Wall that came up through the ground and now moves through the city is also a really mind-boggling plot-device. At this point I don’t really care about these logical flaws. I guess I’m just happy that gravity still works… most of the time anyway. And since it’s written by the writer of Code Geass it’s to be expected there would be some silliness for the sake of action. The problem is of course that Guilty Crown isn’t that exciting. So most of that silliness just seems… silly without having any excuse for why it should be that silly.
Argo and the big dude (he doesn’t play a big role so I didn’t bother looking up his name) are sent to Tokyo for a mission by Arisa’s grandfather. He has made a deal with some bigshots in Shanghai but sadly the deal involves a marriage of convenience between someone there and his daughter – who’s currently trapped in the destroyed part of Tokyo. So Argo infiltrates the destroyed Tokyo.
Luckily he meets a bunch of kids from Shuu’s “Kingdom” who had just beaten up another group of survivors who coincidentally were also teenagers. Following that group Argo is horrified to watch how things are done in Shuu’s Kingdom and has to interfere on Souta’s behalf to save him from drowning. Due to this insubordination Shuu throws him into the jail (a thing every good school has obviously…). Ayase’s bot appears before Argo and fills him in on what previously happened in Guilty Crown while he was off-screen doing God-knows-what.
Shuu meanwhile is sulking in the basement of the school with Inori who changes into Mana (probably…) for a short time much to the surprise of Shuu. But they are interrupted as Argo escapes. Using his “Secret Police” Shuu quickly finds Argo and confronts him together with another girl from the Secret Police. Argo ridicules him and forces him to the ground when Yahiro appears who quickly takes control of the situation. But due to some unlucky accident the girl that was with Shuu dies as her Void got crushed. While the three talk Shuu realized that Yahiro has betrayed him (again…) and is also quick to change his opinion about his reign’s style. But forced to choose between Yahiro’s position and Argo’s he chooses to forcibly take Argo’s Void and while manically laughing he realizes that he can kill Argo now as simple as that.
All the while Inori has found Arisa as Shuu instructed her and killed her (as Shuu hasn’t instructed).
Come on, first it was Gai and now it’s Shuu. That isn’t so hard to understand. Inori obviously lacks the personality to ever do things on her own…
Surprisingly Guilty Crown had another good episode this week. It’s a shame though that whatever good thing you can say about the episodes is always attached to a bunch of flaws that come along with it. There’s nothing seriously good about this show and when I say that this is a good episodes so it’s one by the show’s standards and I guess if you’ve come this far you can accept whatever silliness is present in this episode. It’s just something you expect from this show at this point. There’s always some silly stuff in a episode that will make you chuckle when you think them through.
What this episode did surprisingly well was presenting the grim Void-Ranking-System of Dark Shuu (Gloomy Shuu might be better, though, since he hasn’t really turned evil). The episode uses some side-characters who have the mission of getting Arisa out. Her grandfather wants to her to enter a marriage of convenience with someone from Shanghai. It’s not made very clear why it’s so important besides being perhaps a sort-of alliance with this other gang but I assume that would’ve furthered the Anti-GHQ-cause somehow. What this did very well was getting an outsider into this survival-setting with the Void-Ranking who offered the moralized side of the argument. The first dozen minutes of the episode are quite good in the way they provide an interesting perspective for what’s happening. It’s not just Shuu again who has to listen to Yahiro’s endless arguments. And since Shuu is passive anyway having Argo explore Shuu’s “Kingdom” is a nice way to include a different point-of-view.
After that though, the episode did some questionable things with the matter of presenting the Void-Ranking-System. When Argo saved Souta while Shuu said he should help himself or die since he’s just Rank F, I would’ve liked to see more of a discussion. It was basically just Argo saying “This is evil.” and Shuu saying “But it’s necessary.”. There was simply no back and forth in that discussion so there wasn’t any real dialogue to speak of. In the most critical moments Shuu got all enigmatic with talking about “the girl” but naturally Argo had no idea what Shuu wanted to say with that. So until then I guess it was okay but then Argo lands in a prison and then Ayase appears and talks to him. And what happens from now is nothing new. It’s just beating a dead horse at that point since there’s no dialogue. It’s like the point that what Shuu is doing is necessary wasn’t valid to begin with in the greater scheme of things. I always think that it’s always more subtle to follow a “show, don’t tell”-rule with presenting a setting or a world so when Argo saved Souta while Shuu did nothing that was a genuinely good scene. What followed after that was people saying “Shuu is nuts.” and Yahiro saying “It’s necessary, though.”. Shuu’s opinion is worth shit anyway so his doesn’t count. There are also some useless generic side-characters I don’t really care about so their opinion is worth shit as well, I guess. The point is that what the scene in the first half said indirectly was spelled out obviously for the rest of the episode.
Guilty Crown sure knows how to be xenophobic about what other countries will do if Japan ever becomes the victim of a deadly plague…
The episode also had some interesting plot-developments that started to introduce the spirit of Christmas Past, so to speak. It was a nice scene between Shuu and Inori when Inori suddenly had this short moment of being Mana again. And I think I preferred that scene far more as a way to let Mana re-enter the stage in contrast to the last scene when Inori kills Arisa. Of course at this point it isn’t clear what exactly is happening because it could be also Shuu’s “mom” doing… stuff. Daath also picks up important story-related items in the wasteland of Tokyo and everyone’s still trying hard to be mysterious all the time when it comes to important story-elements. It’s good to see that the show is already building up for a big finale and considering the state Shuu is in and adding to that how central Inori seems to be, it’s clear that those two will be the important characters on the good side of things. Inori is of course still a really bad character so I’m not really thrilled about that prospect. While it may be interesting to see her turn into Mana there’s of course a certain lack of loss because for a change of personality such as this one Inori would need to have a personality in the first place. But her behavior and her dialogue-lines are so bland that the reason you realize that Mana is talking is that she gets a slight hint of a personality all of a sudden. What does Inori want? That she wants to be with Shuu is a rather shallow goal for a character who’s supposed to fill a main-role. As far as female characters go I guess you couldn’t choose a more bland characterization than the one Inori has. She’s really just a soulless pretty doll – nothing more. It’s hard to even argue why someone should recognize her as a human being at this point. Her role is just that shallow.
Shuu’s character was again the star of the show with not having any kind of development. You’d think that after Hare’s death and him becoming Void-Tyrant he would be a slightly different person but no. Shuu is still a spineless jerk. Hare dies because of Souta and he thinks that kindness is pointless. So he follows Yahiro’s advice to establish the Void-Ranking-System. In this episode he acts all high and mighty in front of everyone while whining in front to Inori. That was the first hint that the character-development wasn’t as firm or drastic as I thought. And then at the end he exclaims “Oh, if your Void is destroyed, you die! Okay, let’s just not do this Void-Ranking-thingy anymore …”. Again he just backs down when being confronted by a fierce argument. That he takes Argo’s Void and talks about crushing it to kill him are just forced, I think. That there’s still a trace of his wimpy nature in his behavior doesn’t sound good because I think it means that him being his old naïve wimpy self is supposed to be a good thing. Well, it’s not obviously. It would mean that there’s no character-development whatsoever and that all the stuff Shuu has done ultimately leads him back to where he started characterization-wise.
Another surprisingly good episode for Guilty-Crown-standards that did a good job of portraying Gloomy Shuu’s reign of terror thanks to the Void-Ranking-system. It also had some interesting plot-development which is of course still mysterious foreshadowing at this point. What Guilty Crown really gets right these days is conveying the sense of a grim atmosphere where doing what’s necessary is perhaps more important than doing the right thing. In the end it’s still Guilty Crown of course and looking at it closely there are the usual silly tidbits.