「縮退 retraction」 (Shukutai)
I’d like to think that I’m pretty forgiving as far as anime goes — particularly when it comes to overused stereotypes — but while Guilty Crown’s done a decent job of avoiding that pitfall lately, there always seems to be something else that rubs me the wrong way. This time it was Shuu and almost everything about his character. I was prepared to see him traumatized over his inability to save Jun, but not to the degree that it was depicted here. There simply hasn’t been enough to suggest that being reminded of the Lost Christmas would result in a complete breakdown of his character, other than maybe his lack of memories from his childhood. Even if I were to assume that’s the reason Shuu’s forgotten about Gai and the older sister-like girl whom they both presumably loved, his character simply hasn’t been portrayed in a way that makes me pity him.
As such, watching him screw up a Funeral Parlor mission, disappoint Ayase’s belief in him, call Inori a monster and wreck the device with her new song (which was conveniently way too fragile), and last but not least, confide in Hare as a replacement for Inori, turned out to be a rather frustrating endeavor. I get that Shuu’s meant to be a reluctant hero, but boy is he stretching my patience with him. It doesn’t help when his actions aren’t all that agreeable — especially when I’m already finding it hard to like his character — so I was actually happy to see Gai just continue on without him and take over the main protagonist role. Both Funeral Parlor and the series as a whole have been dragging their feet from being forced to have Shuu as the star of the show — so much so that I couldn’t help but wonder how much better things would be if he was simply written off. His finicky resolve is no different than the frustration I would feel about having a weak performer in a group whom I’m forced to work with. I can only be patient with someone for so long before the urgency of my own situation has to take precedence, much like it did for Gai.
I’d like to give Shuu the benefit of the doubt since he’s not mentally strong like Gai, but it’s pretty hard to when he has almost no redeeming qualities and his flakiness both hampers and hurts those around him (i.e. Hare). He doesn’t deserve the support of a cute girl who’s helplessly in love with him, let alone a group of terrorists who are trying to liberate Japan. I’m really not sure what the writers hope to achieve by making Shuu so difficult to like, but it’s unfortunate to say the least since the entire series revolves around him. There’s little doubt in my mind that his breakdown is a precursor to an eventual character-defining moment where he comes swooping in to save the day, but I’m afraid it might be a little too late to redeem his character by then. It’s not a good sign when he’s constantly question why he’s the main character in the story and I’m doing the same. The worst part of it is how Shuu’s problems tend to overshadow the much bigger ones surrounding Shuuichirou and his Anti-Bodies, who have turned out to be the ultimate antagonists as suspected.
The underlying story involving Gai’s love for the girl who fell for Shuu, Inori possibly being a clone of that girl, Daryl’s unrest over his father’s mistresses, and most of all, Shuuichirou’s unknown goal with Genome Resonance is coming together rather well in recent episodes. In connection to the latter, there was also a flashback to suggest that this girl’s singing caused a Genome Resonance ten years ago, which would tie into Inori’s reaction about how Shuuichirou twisted the “song”. Based on those developments, if I were to look at it from the perspective of Gai as the main protagonist, I dare say most of my qualms with the series would instantly disappear. I guess the producers were right about how Gai’s the “other” main character of the story, though I don’t think they were anticipating viewers like me who wishes he was the only one. Whatever the case, I’m quite content with how things are progressing from that angle with Gai’s cancer taking form and Inori experiencing some emotions for the first time. I’m just not expecting much from Shuu, other than maybe his continued disruption to the flow of the story. 😛
* I don’t have any complaints about Inori wearing skimpy outfits during missions — as unpractical as they may be — but redjuice sure isn’t making it easy for cosplayers to dress up as her with his designs. She does look great in white with that backless design though.
* Production I.G, what the heck is this?
* Full-length images: 05, 16, 17.
ED Sequence & End Card
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