Guilty Crown Episode 2 – I Only Want an Ordinary Life

“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.

Thankfully, the sword can actually be returned.

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.

DNA altering liquid is always pink. Always.

“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.

An antagonist with a rich father and unsettling demeanor. That's just unfair.

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.

You're seeing him from the same angle as the woman.

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.

Leaping with ease over the perplexed guards.

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.

A void can be taken out against the will of a person, it seems.

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.

Shu is about to lose his tie from this much power!

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.

Shu finally smiles! It warms my heart.

Just when you think, “Oh, this anime is over in two episodes,” they pull the oldest trick in the book, the transfer student twist.

With her around, all chances of an ordinary life are thrown out the window.

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!

10 thoughts on “Guilty Crown Episode 2 – I Only Want an Ordinary Life

  1. I saw the end of the episode in kind of the opposite way. I thought it was terribly unrealistic of Shu to accept Gai’s plan and then, even more, to be spectacularly successful at it. But granted that this is what happened, I think the realistic thing would have been for Shu to join the team. I mean, he’s been spectacularly successful and he’s got a good-looking gal with him, what boy would turn down the offer under these conditions? His rejection here (instead of before the whole thing started) strikes me as unrealistic.

    1. I can see where you’re coming from and you raise a good question, why did he turn that fantastic opportunity down when he did?
      Shu has been presented to us as a rather soft-spoken pushover. His fears seem to drive him rather than his hope for saving anyone.
      A theory I have centers around Shu witnessing the woman and men being executed. Before all this, he never saw anyone die before his eyes (that we know of). But instead of driving him to action to defeat this monster government and join up with Undertaker permanently, his fears start pushing him back to his former “everyday” life. He finishes the job, but he doesn’t want to deal with that problem or rather, he doesn’t want to break even farther out of his comfort zone.
      But even in that theory, there are some holes (such as why didn’t Shu ditch the plan right after he saw the people die, instead of waiting until after he finished the plan? And if this is really what Shu’s character is like. I’m currently only going from what I’ve seen) I agree with you that the ending and Shu’s actions didn’t sit quite right. Even now, I’m still mulling over it.

    2. Mainly what animekritik said.

      Also, another thing that I would disagree upon is the plan, or the lack thereof. Sure, they don’t just barge in the castle, but absolutely no specific of the plan was revealed to the audience. We’re just expected to accept that Shu knew the exact time and place to be and exact weapon and type to use (despite being a complete rookie who was clueless a second ago). I get that Gai is a genius and has Lelouch’s strategic skills, but in Code Geass we got a good look at how he plans, his methodological and his meticulousness – all very neatly explained. But in Guilty Crown…it’s just the age-old Medusa-tested “Use a mirror!” tactic. Where’s the class?

      I’m just not feeling it with this show…

      1. I definitely see what you mean. While they tried to imply that there was a plan as it unfolded (from having a decoy for Daryl to chase after to Gai being the target so Shu could use Kaleidoscope to reflect the lasers back to the HQ), there was a lack of briefing on who did what. It was a pretty simply plan too, but we’re not fighting the heads of the government yet, I suppose. I assume Shu was simply told to pull the void out of Daryl by Gai, and Shu did it because he is currently a pushover. Him breaking into Daryl’s mech so quickly had me suspend my disbelief a bit though. (how did that happen in three seconds?) I think they are just trying to cut to the action, but that may end up sacrificing character and plot development in the long run. I sincerely hope not, though.
        One thing I’m hoping they introduce very soon is a plot drive. What goal are we heading towards?

  2. O.O I wasn’t expecting the exchange student twist….ah, I wonder if I’ll ever learn to see things coming…
    Guilty Crown looks like it shall become extremely interesting. I can’t wait to hear what happens next!

  3. I agree with everything. (I never say that.) The part in which Shu declined the offer, made me do a double take. I stopped the show and re-watched that part. It was such a good use of situational irony. I did however think that the new student ending was a bit to cliche, but I was willing to forgive the animators because of the genius I had witnessed before. (Also, the laser thing was over kill, but exciting.)

    Great post. I rarely see eye to eye with people on new anime; this is quite exciting.

    1. Thanks! ^_^
      I’ll agree the transfer student twist did lessen the impact of the episode overall, but they did pull a few genre breakers before that, I think. The fact that the main character isn’t as predictable as a lot of other shonen heroes out there piques my interest.
      Here’s hoping the show continues to build momentum!

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