OP: 「My Dearest」 by supercell
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「適者 survival of the fittest」 (Tekisha)
The Power of Kings along with a gorgeous singer saying she’s mine and all I have to do is help liberate my country in return? Where do I sign up for that? I’ll take two please. It never hurts to have a backup ability when changing the world, or another beautiful girl as support.
If it wasn’t apparent from my earlier post, I consider Guilty Crown’s type of fan-service some of the most enticing anime has to offer. Rather than shoving boobs in our face or getting the male lead to “accidentally” grope them, the series goes for an arguably more tasteful approach where our reasonably proportioned heroines happen to wear skin-tight outfits in their quest to free Japan. In the process, they happen to flaunt us with their curves, both while piloting a neurally controlled Endlave mechs and managing a virtual control room. It’s all very alluring but doesn’t terribly detract from the story, so this is by far and large the type of fan-service that I’d like to see more of in anime. There’s no denying that it’s there to promote the sexual appeal of the characters — since there’s no real reason for Tsugumi to be pressing buttons with her butt, nor for Inori to be climbing through a shaft ahead of Shuu — but at least it’s not in a typical anime scenario where the intention is clear from the get-go (e.g. a beach episode). Also, when we have awesome character designs by redjuice, bought to life in beautiful animation by Production I.G, it would be a waste to not tease viewers a bit with this kind of stuff. The only awkward thing is how it’s making me develop an interest in submissive soft-spoken girls, which is just asking for trouble. It’s a trap I tell you — the kind that will land someone in prison. (Damn you anime, stop trying to corrupt me.)
As for the story itself, I don’t see any point in making constant comparisons to other series, nor do I plan on knocking Guilty Crown because it features some rehashed ideas. I realize some people feel very strongly about originality and perceive it as a fundamental flaw if a premise doesn’t offer anything new, but I fall into the group that likes to look at every new show individually to see what it has to offer with its own version of an existing idea. After all, “original” is all relative. If we were to shun every new show because it features something that’s been done before, we would never have another show with robots, zombies, and whatnot, which may be fine for those who have seen their fill, but would completely neglect those who are just getting into them (i.e. younger generations). They’re classified as tropes for a reason, which is somewhat akin to genres except at a sub-series level. As far as Guilty Crown is concerned, it’s new to me to see a lot of tropes I enjoy mashed together and spun in a different way. I mean, what’s there not to like?
This isn’t to say that Guilty Crown is off the hook in every regard though. Looking solely at this series, I couldn’t help but question some of the developments in this second episode, like how Shuu just happened to be in the
right wrong place at the wrong time, landing him the Void Genome power (and Inori) that was originally intended for Gai. While it’s debatable whether it’s better to have a main character who gets drawn into a conflict because he 1.) started with a special power or 2.) stumbled upon it, I find it really takes away from Shuu’s character to have the Power of Kings bestowed upon him by chance. Shuu isn’t someone the “Funeral Parlor” scouted for their cause, but merely a normal teenager who got in their way, forcing Gai to have him do what he probably would’ve done a million times better himself. I can’t see this boding well for Shuu’s character in viewers’ eyes, plus it throws into question why Gai even encouraged him to rescue Inori, so it probably would’ve been better to make Shuu special to begin with. To make matters worse, Gai actually relied on Shuu to execute the most critical part of his plan against the Anti Bodies division led by Major Guin (Shimura Tomoyuki), where he put his life in Shuu’s hands. No matter how I look at it, that was completely idiotic on Gai’s part — staking his life as the Funeral Parlor leader on a complete rookie — so it took some real suspension of disbelief common sense to overlook that part of his plan. It’s easy to say that Gai’s an absolute genius after the fact, but there were way too many variables with Shuu for me to buy into idea just yet. For now, I think Gai’s crazy.
Aside from those two irksome developments, the rest of the episode was pretty good in establishing GHQ’s cruelty, particularly with the introduction of the GHQ commander’s seventeen-year-old narcissistic son, Daryl Yan, whose Void Weapon is the beam-reflecting Kaleidoscope (i.e. Mangekyou). It was a bit odd hearing Uchiyama Kouki (Ichika in Infinite Stratos) voice him it at first, since I’ve never heard him play an antagonist before and find it hard to perceive him as one, but Daryl quickly established himself as an unforgivable villain with the way he mercilessly stomped on a mother and executed some prisoners. His custom Endlave also sets him up as the ultimate antagonist, so it’ll be interesting to see Shuu, Gai, and Inori clash heads with him later on. I can already picture him doing really terrible things to Inori if she were to get captured (damn you again anime), so hopefully Shuu can protect her properly. I presume she’s transferred to his school because Gai hasn’t given up on getting him to join Funeral Parlor, which I find refreshing because it’s all too common for the main protagonist to quickly get on board with something that turned their world completely upside-down. Shuu didn’t try to play hero and actually turned Gai down. He’s not swayed by the “Inori Effect” like me it seems. That fool. 😛
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