“Survival of the Fittest”
Now with slightly higher-quality screenshots! The music has also improved this episode as the world of the Guilty Crown seems to be settling in and giving us a chance to know the characters a bit more.
When last we left our new hero Shu, he was in the midst of a battle zone with a sword he pulled out of a girl’s heart.
This episode slows down enough to give us insight into more characters and introduces some new ones. Though, since I’ve finally seen the official opening sequence, I am uneasy about the large number of characters in this series that still have yet to be introduced.
But, let’s take it one step at a time. This episode concludes the “introduction” of the series, yet it’s packed full of facts upon facts, all wrapped up and tied up with a fight at the end.
Last episode, things didn’t go how Gai had planned them, but since the past cannot be changed, he offers some valuable info to Shu.
In case we forgot, this is one of three enhance genomes that was in Shu’s jacket pocket.
“Void” is the keyword on this one. The sword Shu pulled out of Inori’s chest was her “void”.
It’s too early to tell if there is a connection between a character’s personality and their “void” yet, but it seems to be portrayed as their essence or soul in some ways. And, these “voids” are now under the control of Shu. Yet, unlike most protagonists when gaining power *coughLelouchcough*, Shu doesn’t really want this power. Nevertheless, he can’t get rid of this power. In fact, it seems that Gai, the leader of the rebel group and overall really motivated guy, would have been a better choice for the void power. He wanted it, but didn’t get it.
Gai offers a good deal of one liners in this episode that define his attitude about life, “You can sit quietly and be selected out of this world, or you can adept and change.”
Meanwhile, we are introduced to a specific person for our antagonist: the general’s son, Lieutenant Daryl Yan, who appears rather charming in the beginning, yet seems to have a more crazed psychopath personality. He pilots a mech and likes shooting people.
In an attempt to find the rebels and this new sword wielding “foot soldier”, the military’s Anti-bodies, who can exterminate anyone they please if they are deemed to be infected by the virus, begin to take civilians in the area hostage. Gai and his rebel team take advantage of this and plan to surprise the Anti-bodies with an attack and to rescue the hostages. Shu agrees to go along with this, accompanied by Inori and they both sneak into the Anti-body HQ area.
Unfortunately, we run into Daryl again, who first kicks a civilian woman trying to save her husband, then beats her because she ruined a daisy he was carrying (yes, a daisy). Then, he pulls out his gun, as do the other soldiers on some blindfolded hostages.
And he shoots her. In fact, all the soldiers shoot the hostages they have lined up in that square. Right before the shots are fired, you hear the members of Undertaker (the rebel forces) yelling to “Hurry up!” as they are getting things into position for the attack. But, they are seconds too late and don’t save this woman or the other hostages.
Thus far, Guilty Crown has been sticking to a pretty common shonen plot line of “Hero gains power and fights against the big, bad enemy (usually police government-like), and saves all the little people from harm.” Yet, all Shu does is watch in horror as these people die.
Thus begins a full-fledged battle. Thankfully, these rebels aren’t really the “Let’s storm the castle without a plan.” Once a majority of the plan had been carried out and HQ surrounded, Gai confronts the Anti-bodies’ leader head on and is about to be shot by multiple lasers. It’s finally Shu’s turn to make things happen.
Then, sword in hand and in a matter of seconds, Shu breaks into Daryl’s mech and pulls out a void from Daryl’s chest. All according to plan.
And fires the gun void, creating a geometric force field, protecting Gai and making the lasers bounce off the surface and destroying the HQ as well as the Anti-bodies.
In the end after the “bad guys” are defeated (sorry though, Daryl is still alive), Gai offers Shu a position to join Undertaker officially, but Shu surprises me and doesn’t take the offer. He’d rather go back to his old life with school and being a bystander again.
Just when you think, “Oh, this anime is over in two episodes,” they pull the oldest trick in the book, the transfer student twist.
I will admit the ending of this episode threw a wrench in all of my predictions concerning the direction this story is going. First, I think Shu is going to set aside his cowardliness at once and fight alongside rebels to save his country from oppression, but he refuses the once in a lifetime offer and returns to a normal, boring life. While I was disappointed that I didn’t guess right, I was also impressed. Truthfully, people can’t change overnight, even if they do get a super awesome power. Shu gives a realistic response and admits he’s not ready to be a hero or a savior. I have to admit, if I was in his position, I probably would have acted the same. Most of the time when I watch shonen series (or some magical girl series as well, for example), the hero becomes a hero right away and the rest of the series focuses on their ongoing battles with the enemy, and the continual building of their power. But I am curious if GC will be paced in order to tell a story about the protagonist’s journey to become that hero in the first place, focusing more on the person than the power. Regardless, this series has kept me on my toes so far.
Until next week!