Guilty Crown – 21
「羽化 emergence」 (Uka)
Well, I complained about wanting Guilty Crown to step it up a notch last episode, and this week Guilty Crown certainly offers up a lot of things as it heads into its penultimate episode. The conflict gets brought back to Gai, Mana/Inori and Shuu, which is fitting since that’s how ‘Lost Christmas’ came about the last time.
Yuu makes more of an appearance in this episode, and although he manages to reveal several things, and answer some questions, he’s gone like the wind by the end of the episode. But since Daath was an organization that made things more complicated than necessary, Yuu going out of the picture is not necessarily a bad thing.
So! Same drill as last time – summary –> tl;dr. I feel it worked pretty well last episode, so I’ll be using it again this time.
- Yuu wants to speed up evolution by forcing Mana and her chosen ‘King’ to propagate and make a new race.
- Because of the above, Gai never had a ‘choice’ in being revived
- The Leukocytes were a bluff, but the UN forces get trashed anyway by the Void
GATTAIfusion between Kenji, Arisa and Yuu
- GHQ seems to have come up with a way to ‘counter’ Voids, if Daryl’s new Arc-reactor rip-off is anything to go off of
- Funeral Parlor makes their attack, with Shuu at the front on a segway
- Gai and Inori share a nice moment, where he erases her identity while she professes her love for Shuu
- Yuu reveals himself to ‘be Daath itself’ and ‘strips’ Shuu’s ‘right to succession’ after he refuses to create a new race with Mana
- And just in time for the finale, Mana is reborn
Now, onto the episode. Like I said above, taking Yuu out of the picture isn’t a bad thing. In an ideal world, he would have either made a bigger impact or none at all by never appearing, but in GC‘s universe, this episode is as good as any for him to disappear. He brings up an interesting point about humanity and evolution though. Yuu (and by extension, Daath) claims he represents the ‘will of the human race’, which is apparently to evolve. He’s trying to force natural selection by the way of the Apocalypse, using Mana and either Shuu or Gai as the tools.
That leads in to the conflict that will probably take centerpiece in the finale: Gai vs. Shuu. And while Gai’s initial goal was to be with Mana, I felt like to him at least, that goal was already fulfilled; I’m not entirely convinced he wants to be the ‘new King’. He knows now he had no say in being revived, so it’s almost like he’s just fulfilling the role of the bad guy now. It puts his character in a more tragic light, and gives Gai some much-needed dimension to his character, because let’s face it: he’s never been an interesting character. He also acts as a much better foil to Shuu now and there’s a clear role reversal here – Gai is now the one being jerked around while Shuu is the one to step up. It’s why the cool Gai is not the protagonist of the Guilty Crown, and why he can never be.
Unfortunately, while the reluctant antagonist does help in characterization, it also saps the tension out of the conflict somewhat. Gai still probably wants to be with Mana, but like I said, I’m not fully convinced he’s invested in his role; he knows he has no say, so it’s more like, “I guess I’ll screw humanity” rather than, “YEAH I’M GONNA SCREW HUMANITY”. It might seem like a subtle difference, but from the perspective of the central conflict, it lacks finesse. That’s why I’m hoping the conflict in the finale gets framed around Gai and Shuu rather than the questions of who’s going to be Mana’s new man. Now that’s a development I can get behind.
And of course, the episode wouldn’t be complete without discussing the elephant in the room: Inori. I actually felt something for her character this episode, and while it doesn’t fix the problems I had with her as whole, it does make me sympathize with her. Now, if this sort of thing had happened consistently for the last twenty-one episodes, I probably would have shed a tear or two. I understand Inori is just a ‘vessel’, but there was no need for the producers to take that so literally and make her so… unresponsive to everything throughout the show.
The final thing I’ll address is Shuu and Inori. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree, but me? Wasn’t feeling it. Actually Inori’s monologue about Shuu was poignant and I was actually pretty invested. I felt for her and I could understand why she would say those things. But when Shuu opened his mouth – with “None of you know Inori” no less – I sighed. His words had all the right ingredients: emotion, conviction, etc, etc. It’d make the post too long to properly explain why that whole scene bothered me, so I’ll keep it short: I couldn’t really figure out why he would be saying them.
In any case, a pretty solid action-oriented episode in preparation for the finale. I have vague ideas about what may happen, but not much else. Inori will probably be back by the end, although how she does make it back should be interesting. My only hope is that the Gai vs. Shuu conflict gets all the fabulous animation and development it deserves.
It’s been very fun blogging episode 20 & 21, and I hope you enjoyed my brief coverage as well.
P.S. Souta! Yahiro! Argo! I guess while everyone wanted to be an astronaut when they were younger, Shuu wanted to catch ‘em all. Also, does anyone know who the last two Voids belonged to? He didn’t call them out, so I wasn’t too sure…
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