「浮動 flux」 (Fudou)
After the cliffhanger last time, Guilty Crown takes a noticeable turn for the better in terms of showcasing complexity in the characters, building up the story, foreshadowing future events, and most importantly, avoiding any questionable plot developments that viewers may dwell upon prematurely. At the center of it all is of course Shuu, who’s now at a crossroads on who to trust. Out of the options before him, GHQ is undoubtedly the shadier of the two, having executed unregistered citizens in cold-blood simply because they refused to take regular inoculations. That easily raises suspicions about the “vaccine” that GHQ is administering, which leads me to why Major Segai is my highlight character of the week.
With Kanna Nobutoshi (Kabuto in Naruto, Lancer in Fate/stay night, Nekki Basara in Macross 7) voicing him, Segai could’ve easily been the stereotypical sadistic interrogator that he made himself out to be last episode. Instead, he proved to be a lot more cunning, calculating, and manipulative than I gave him credit with the way he tried to earn Shuu’s trust without any obvious visual cues to us as the viewers that he’s lying. I highly doubt he cares about Shuu’s well-being, let alone the fact he’s Dr. Ouma’s son, so the prevalent thought is that he’s trying to have Shuu lead them to Gai with the transmitter. All it really took was hearing him ask Shuuichirou if he could try a different “approach” to convince me that he’s up to no good. Watching him kill one of his own men supports my suspicion that he wants Shuu to leave a trail for them to follow, though he does seem genuinely fascinated by the Void Genome as well, calling the sight of Shuu drawing out Inori’s weapon “beautiful”. (I would have to agree, but only because of Inori.)
It may surprise some people when I say that Yahiro was another character highlight, but learning that he didn’t feel any guilt over selling out Shuu spoke volumes to me. The introduction of his virus-infected younger brother Jun and the revelation that Yahiro’s been selling Norma Gene (and not taking it) to support him left me with every reason to believe that there’s more depth to his character than we’ve seen. While I can’t picture how it would play out, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to anticipate that Yahiro will redeem himself at some point. He’s not exactly the first character we’ve come across who’s willing to do anything to save a family member — even if it means turning their back on the world — so I’m looking forward to seeing how involved he gets in the Funeral Parlor/GHQ struggled down the road. The same goes for “mass murderer” Kido Kenji (Okamoto Nobuhiko, in everything again), whom I was half-expecting to be voiced by Miyano Mamoru because images of Durarara’s Kida Masaomi came to mind when his face was revealed.
Of course, that’s not to say our main trio of Shuu, Gai, and Inori took a backseat this week. As per the above, Shuu’s decision to follow Gai with Segai’s transmitter in hand suggests that he still doesn’t trust Funeral Parlor and is primarily tagging along because of Inori (…good reason IMO). It also foreshadows the possibility that Shuu will betray Gai and come to regret it, which would help our protagonist ultimately decide on which side to support. More often than not, I find this type of development irksome to watch, but there’s almost always a positive effect on an indecisive character who goes through it, plus the air of distrust floating about should make things more interesting to watch. In Shuu’s case, we also have the subplot about what I presume to be losing someone dear to him, which the crystallization effect caused by the Apocalypse Virus sort of reaffirmed here.
Gai on the other hand never ceases to amaze me with the way he’ll spearhead every operation even after revealing his face to the world. It can be perceived as a calculated risk, sheer recklessness, or both, but it says a fair bit about out the 17-year-old Funeral Parlor leader. As for Inori, I’m still indifferent to how devoted to Shuu she’s become, since part of me sees it as a seemingly emotionless girl struggling to be useful to Gai and perceives being a tool for Shuu as her new-found purpose, whereas another part of me sees it as a seemingly emotionless girl experiencing feelings of love for the very first time for the boy who *cough* reached out and touched her… “heart”. Judging from her earnest desire to be useful to Gai, I’m leaning towards the former; however, her independent actions here do suggest a gradual shift toward the latter. (Granted, the thought did cross my mind that Inori’s insubordination may have been planned by Gai to trick Shuu into joining them.) Whatever the case, changes in Inori’s character are definitely something to keep an eye on as we go on.
Save for Inori choosing not to use her personal stealth, rushing fearlessly in to save Shuu, and jumping god knows how many stories into the air, there wasn’t really anything that came off as a terribly convenient development that’s in desperate need of an explanation. That’s clearly an improvement from episodes prior, as it shows that the premise has finally established itself enough so the plot can finally move forward around that foundation. The third episode made some arguably sloppy amends for the first two — but amends nonetheless — taking the series back to square one from a plot standpoint. This fourth episode looks like it’s shaken off the jitters from that rocky start, which should help renew faith in this series even for those who came in with realistic expectations. I know it has for me. Next time, it looks like Shuu’s going to get some actual training.
Divine’s Random Corner (i.e. sense of humor that no one finds funny):
Funell: “Because you’re hugging me.”
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