「輪舞 temptation」 (Rinbu)
More so than what kind of series Guilty Crown is trying to be, this latest episode left me wondering what kind of series the writers want it to be. The tone has almost ubiquitously turned lighthearted with the re-introduction of Shuu’s hot and too-good-for-clothes mother, Haruka (Fujimura Chika), and the first-time introduction of GHQ’s American colonel, Dan Eagleman (Mogami Tsuguo), both of whom in typical anime-fashion have personalities uncharacteristic of their success in their jobs. What’s more, Haruka is an easy-going, alcohol-loving, clingy single mom, whom Shuu calls by her first name for some strange reason, whereas Dan has a Rider-like charismatic yet difficult to handle attitude, which has even Rowan, Segai, and Daryl looking like the straight person in a manzai routine. Then there’s the misunderstanding that Haruka has of her son and Inori, which has all the makings of a high school romantic comedy — complete with addition emphasis on Hare being the third wheel.
Quite frankly, I’m not the least bit opposed to these type of developments, but I do have to question the timing of it here given how things left off last time. I’m not bothered by the fact that the writers glossed over the Void Weapon fusion (mostly because I anticipated they would), but it is a little concerning to see the writers just assume everything’s just hunky-dory on the plot side of things and delve into the more frivolous stuff already. (Granted, they probably figured as much well in advance since episodes are generally completed several weeks ahead.) I’m pretty sure that I’d be okay with what transpired here if Guilty Crown had gotten off on the right foot in these past six episodes, so for anyone who feels that they did, I can see how this episode and its homosexual army jokes wouldn’t feel terribly jarring. Unfortunately, I don’t fall into that category after the iffy impression I was left with last week, forcing me to take this episode in strides to make the most of what was relevant to the main plot and actually built upon what’s been established thus far.
Of those developments, the most welcomed one was the additional foreshadowing of the girl from Shuu and Gai’s past, whom Haruka was also acquainted with and likely saw a resemblance in Inori. Another one was the long overdue introduction of the student council president, Kuhouin Arisa (Endou Aya), who is perfect in seemingly every way, but actually uses that as a front to protect the frail girl within — something that Gai sees through immediately from what I presume is his ability to see Voids. Like the Kuhouin women in kurenai, she’s somewhat resigned to her fate of fulfilling her grandfather’s (Houki Katsuhisa) wishes to take over the Kuhouin Group’s underground dealings, and like another Aya-voiced character in Macross Frontier, harbors feelings of insecurity that she tries very hard to hide. Where that leads Arisa I don’t know — be it simply a target of Gai’s womanizing ways or more — but I’ve seen enough about her character to want to find out. She’s shown to be perceptive of what’s going on and saved Shuu from the school rumors, so the only surprise is that she’s not familiar with the leader of Funeral Parlor like her grandfather is. Compared to Arisa, mention of Keidou between Haruka and her grandfather was relatively minor, but did serve as foreshadowing of things to come.
Last but definitely not least was Gai’s continued scheming that even deceives all the members of Funeral Parlor, save for Shibungi, which made me wonder if the likes of Ayase and Tsugumi would be so loyal to him if they found out they’re constantly left out of the loop. Gai’s methods aren’t exactly all that agreeable, seeing as he purposely leaked intel to GHQ, namely Dan, to demonstrate the Void Genome’s powers and win over the Kuhouin Group’s support to secure arms. What I find interesting about this is how Shuu is still a complete sucker for Gai’s manipulating ways, which probably took into account that Haruka would be on board the cruise ship so that he would desperately do anything to save her — including asking Gai for orders. I must say, I had more respect for Shuu when he was less of a tool, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the writers are using him as a stepping stone to further reiterate how cunning Gai is.
Incidentally, the same could be said about Inori, whom I’m a little apprehensive toward because she’s all devoted to Gai and all smiles around Shuu. If she had a little more personality, she could very well be perceived as a two-timing tease. I tell you, it’s always the quiet ones that we should be worried about because they’re the least suspected. (Yes, I do feel a bit betrayed by Inori’s character.) The next episode doesn’t look any better either, with Inori shamelessly calling out Souta and toying with his feelings, though I am looking forward to it because Sakaguchi Daisuke is all kinds of awesome, even when he voiced the youngest Gundam pilot ever, Uso Evin. Oh right, it’s a beach episode too.
* Judging from Kuhouin’s speech, it sounds like he has the liberation of Japan in mind, but just needed some convincing before backing Gai in his efforts.
* Nintendo finally gets some support in an anime, “Super Funell Bros.” parody style.
* In hindsight, I thought the use of Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flower” during the ball dance/missile fireworks was pretty well done.
* Full-length images: 02, 06, 08, 14, 16.
ED Sequence & End Card
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