I was all prepared to carry on my weekly ritual of laughing at Guilty Crown. OK, so this weekly ritual has been going on for an entire week, as I was quite partial towards the opening episode, but episode 2 was so astonishingly atrocious that I failed to see how the series could possibly be anything other than the work of a bunch of jaded twats, convinced they could trot out some rip-off of a previous popular title and call it a night.
Which puts me in an embarrassing position because…umm, I quite liked this episode.
First thing this episode did was fix up a bunch of plot holes from the last episode. The most important point it cleared up was why Gai knew he would be safe from the lasers. He can see what weapon the Power of Kings…sorry, the Kings Power (don’t know how I could have gotten those mixed up) will provide from each person. This also provides a solid reason why he wanted the weapon in the first place. The power becomes rather useless when the weapon you could be drawing ends up being nothing other than a fridge. My first thought upon seeing this was “oh gee, isn’t it convenient that the one person he ended up drawing the weapon from turned out to provide him with a massive badass sword”. But thinking about it for a sec, of course Gai would team up with people whom he could draw powerful weapons out of.
This is also why Inori asked for the weapon to be drawn out of her when she was with Shu. She knew she would provide a powerful weapon that would help them survive because Gai told her. If you extend this logically, that’s why the other people are there and why they are so loyal to Gai. Gai told them they were special. Use me Gai, because my heart can give you power and me meaning. It’s a bit creepy to think about, but Gai is presented as being not entirely admirable. I read on some forum somewhere that he’s Guilty Crown’s version of Lelouch. A morally ambiguous revolutionary leader. They just need to focus a bit more on the ‘morally ambiguous’ side and we’re in more solid ground.
Guilty Crown is pretty. Really pretty. I know this will be said with every episode, but somehow switching to schoolyard comedy just highlighted that even further. School life romcom series tend to be a bit less ambitious than, say, rip roaring mecha political thrillers. So the contrast between the production values your standard anime and Guilty Crown stand out even more. Schoolyard scenes that have BGM that isn’t just irritating boops and pops? Some effort put into stuff like shading? Holy crap does it ever look gorgeous.
The scenes themselves are kinda retarded, sure, but what they have added is the slightly camp jokey aspect that Guilty Crown needed. OK, the boob grabbage scene was bleh, but the main character charging across town, drawing bizarre weapons out of his classmates was great fun, taking the power to the logical extreme. I would never have thought that swapping from warzone to classroom would have resulted in this much of a jump in quality, but taking the focus out of the warzone stopped the series from making so many retarded plot twists and out-of-place fanservice.There’s still fanservice, but it actually feels like it should be here for a change.
Not that the episode was amazing or anything. There’s still plenty to complain about. Guilty Crown seem to be pushing this idea that the main story is Shu getting over his wimpyness. The Kings Power is meant to be a metaphor for this, making him get over his emotional insecurity and look people in the eyes for once. However, if that is meant to be a metaphor for making friends, then ‘making friends’ is to rape your way to their heart so they have no memory of the event. Riiiight, cheers for that image Guilty Crown. Also Inori moving into Shu’s house and undressing made me roll my eyes so hard I think they swapped places. The whole series still has this awkward wish-fulfillment going on. But hey, compared to the severe levels of retardation that was episode 2, this was practically Berserk in comparison.