「再誕 the lost christmas」 (Saitan)
Did I just watch the finale? Because it sure felt like I watched the finale. Every subtle development that’s been built up so far culminated to a finale-worthy conclusion — and in ways that were fairly satisfying too. The only real problem I had with the feverish pace were a few sub-developments that tried to push the melodrama as much as they could, such as the whole marriage ceremony between Shuuichirou and Inori complete with wedding rings (the purpose of which still isn’t entirely clear), Gai’s ability to stay conscious after his Void Weapon is drawn (is it because he’s already infected…?), and Gai asking Shuu to stab Mana through him (undoubtedly just for added effect). Minor nitpicking in the grand scheme of things really, as there was precedence for everything else that happened.
Of course, that impression is highly dependent on the individual. If you see Guilty Crown’s story as nothing more than a running joke after the not-so-agreeable first eleven episodes, that negative connotation will naturally make you biased toward anything that happens from here on. Objectively speaking, everything that transpired in this episode was heavily foreshadowed time and time again, going all the way back to the very first episode, so there was nothing that felt terribly forced or out of place. Even the big revelations that Mana is Shuu’s older sister and that Inori is some “instance body” (read: emotionless clone) to “revive” Mana were firmly rooted in the previous episodes. Coherency definitely wasn’t an issue, assuming you were willing to give the series the benefit of the doubt at this point, and I dare say that the writers even rectified my qualms with Shuu’s character to a certain degree.
I mentioned last week that the one-hour “special” recap left me feeling that there was a disparity between the story that the writers wanted to tell and the one they ended up telling, and this episode more or less reaffirmed that sentiment. The original intention is clear (and almost painfully so): Shuu was more confident and reliable than Gai when they were younger but after Mana came into contact with the “stone that started it all” and was possessed by an almost alien-like desire to reproduce with Shuu, he was left traumatized when he called Mana a “monster” and caused her to go berserk and resonate what would later become known as “The Lost Christmas”. Gai, a.k.a. “Triton”, with his newfound determination to become stronger like Shuu, ends up forming Funeral Parlor against GHQ’s Anti-Bodies who seek to harness this unknown power at any cost, and in turn, makes Shuu wish he was more like Gai even though it started the other way around. The last part was the most subtle yet interesting development, as the reversal of roles not only makes it (somewhat) easier to accept Shuu’s flakiness so far, but is also instrumental on where things go from here now that he’s literally inherited Gai’s mantle.
One possibility — though a bit far-fetched in my mind — is that Shuu regains the confidence he once had and becomes the new leader of Funeral Parlor. I don’t quite see that happening since he lacks Gai’s strategic prowess, but the preview does suggest that he’ll be asked by Ayase to help with something once the story picks up two weeks later in the next episode. Things are dialing back to the school life aspect, but there’s a “new threat” setting their eyes on Shuu and others. What that entails is anyone’s guess, but will likely involve Yuu in some way after he was revealed to be “Daath” of the “Grave Keepers” and was quick to one-touch kill Shuuichirou in a typical villain-kill-villain scenario. That was a bit cliché, but worked well in signifying the end of the first major arc, much like how Segai’s proven to be “above” being on anyone’s side like I’ve been anticipating he would be. Anyway, I quite like how this first arc turned out, particularly the implication that Gai had an unrequited love toward Mana despite her psychotic-like treatment when they were younger, and given how I wasn’t expecting there to be more than one arc to begin with, I’ll be looking forward to where things go from here.
* Netorare in my Guilty Crown? And among kids? Damn.
* Want. Do not want.
* Gai referred to Haruka as Shuu’s “new” mother, so I wonder if that means he was adopted. It would explain why Shuu calls her by her first name.
* The English portion of this episode’s title is supposed to be “the lost christmas” but was shown as “temptation” in the actual show. I assume this is a mistake since episode seven was titled “temptation”.
* Full-length images: 02, 07, 08, 11, 14, 18, 19, 27.
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