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Guilty Crown Episodes 6 – 8

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Episode 6: Death Star

The plot for the latter half of Episode 6 reminds me of something, just can’t put my finger on what it is…

Yes, I made two references to outside franchises right off because that’s the way we roll down at GHQ.

Gai turns out to be alive, having survived the Leukocyte strike on Point Delta. Returning to rendezvous with the forces stationed at base camp, Gai briefs the Undertaker rank and file on the target of their next objective, indicating they will launch an offensive against a dam complex which houses a subterranean control center for the Leukocyte satellite system. Unfortunately, logistics calculates potential casualties at around 35% of forces, a figure Shu finds completely unacceptable. Questioning Gai’s seemingly callous acceptance of lost lives, he refuses to participate. Afterwards, Inori shows Shu just how much of a tortured soul Gai actually is: all too aware of the weight of each human life he shoulders and haunted by the blood sacrifice of countless comrades fallen in the name of the cause. Shu resolves to help Gai.

However, there are complications as they commence their attack on the dam complex, as GHQ has anticipated their movements and immediately launches a counteroffensive. Gai and Shu manage to reach the control center for the Leukocyte but the operation is compromised when they are interrupted by Lieutenant Daryl, eager for vengeance for his humiliation in his previous sortie with Undertaker. The float cage encasing the main control mechanism is severely damaged in the ensuing skirmish, setting off a chain reaction that disrupts Tokyo’s power grid and the stability of Leukocyte 1, which begins to descend into freefall from orbit at alarming speed. Knowing the satellite poses an imminent threat to the entire population, Gai decides to use Shu’s special “pen” to destroy Leukocyte and brokers a deal with Segai, who tracks them to the location, to have Shu exonerated; however, this time Shu won’t allow himself to passively stand by and takes charge of the situation.

Thus, humanity is saved. Right?

Episode 7: Wine, Women, and Song… and Missiles

Shu’s rejoins his classmates at school for the first time since Segai took him into custody. At first things are tense but Seitoukaichou Kuhouin Arisa (Endou Aya – Cheers to you, Sheryl) smooths things over for him, relieving any lingering misgivings in the air amongst his peers, who are actually curious and eager to talk with him. Yahiro, however, is conspicuously absent.

And now for the most important part of the episode:

This is Shu’s mom, Ouma Haruka (Fujimura Chika). His mom, for gyoza sakes. She’s been seen in fleeting glimpses alongside Keido in several scenes in earlier episodes but this is the first episode to feature her in any significant capacity, personal or otherwise. Shu refers to her as simply “Haruka,” sans any any honorific or familiar appellation whatsoever. The second she appeared in her unmentionables, beer in hand, I just knew what kind of parental figure/guardian she likely is. Case in point:

Ouma Haruka, mother of the male protagonist though she has more of a sisterly air, and…

Katsuragi Misato. While she also projects a sisterly air, her relationship with her series‘ male protagonist is decidedly much more… complex, shall we say.

Meanwhile back at the plot, Gai crashes the Kuhouin Group’s private party aboard a luxury yacht to petition the family patriarch Kuhouin Okina (Houki Katsuhisa) for cooperation in securing a new supply route, essentially securing a vital lifeline for the resistance. Shu, accompanying Gai for the mission, is surprised to see Haruka in attendance lobbying amongst other industry players.

Things turn deadly serious, however, when Tsugumi relays the message a GHQ detachment, led by obnoxious field commander Dan Eagleman (Mogami Tsuguo), means to destroy the vessel with surface-to-surface missiles. Gai finds Arisa and leads her on deck where Shu makes use of her Void, a highly-resilient barrier type Void that, fortunately for everyone onboard, is able to withstand the entire combined payload of GHQ’s missile strike. More importantly, it makes pretty lights!

Like this! AT Field! If there is a more efficient way of producing fireworks, I don’t know what it is.

Episode 8: OBLIGATORY SWIMSUIT EPISODE!!!!11 (sort of)


Yes, that is the official translation of this episode’s title.

Shu is taking a class trip with his friends from school to Oshima Island but the entire thing is an elaborate cover to facilitate Undertaker’s most recent mission, which involves infiltrating a secret GHQ laboratory on the island. There, Gai plans to acquire the “rock that started everything.” He arranges for Shu and his classmates to stay at a rented villa provided within a short distance of the site.

Key to the mission is Shu’s classmate Tamadate Souta (Sakaguchi Daisuke), whose Void is essential to bypassing security to reach the inner facilities of the GHQ compound.


Oshima is also where Shu’s father Kurosu is buried. As Ayase and Tsugumi reconnoiter the GHQ base, Ogumo, Arugo and Shibungi monitor Shu’s classmates enjoying the sunny beaches while standing by. Later, Shu becomes agitated over his feelings for Inori and jumps the gun, drawing Souta’s Void under less than ideal conditions. The assembled Undertaker members decide to adjust for Shu’s impetuousness and proceed with their objective.

Using Souta’s Void, a camera-like object with versatile, skeleton key applications, they bypass each level of security until they reach the secure storage chamber for their objective, only to find GHQ commander Keido Shuichiro has already taken it. Chillingly, he accessed the facility with Ouma Kurosu’s clearance cardkey.


Growing Pains

The series is picking up and really improving. Notably, Shu is becoming more sure of himself and displaying more competence as a member of the resistance and as a male in general. While I’m still wary of the production going overboard on the romantic engagements with the possibility of unnecessary melodrama, it’s good to see Shu assert himself where Inori is concerned. Though he has had a few missteps with his associates in Undertaker and lacks finesse in certain social situations, Shu is definitely on his way to earning his man card. Let’s hear it for the kid!

Oh, and please remember to vote YES to more of the luscious, languid splendor that is Haruka in her skimpies.

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Guilty Crown Episode 5

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Ayase does not approve

Well, it isn’t the first time a timid, emotionally insecure youth has been trampled underfoot (undertread, in this case) by a girl in a red plugsuit, and if Shu’s less-than-manly behavior keeps up it won’t be his last.

I’ve been taking my time with this episode’s review because, well, the series has come to a pretty crucial junction, and it mostly has to do with the protagonist, Ouma Shu-kun. Now that the series has taken us through some of the obligatory exposition (though I doubt we’ll be getting much more, if any), the focus of events is shifting in the direction of the looming central conflict between GHQ and Japan’s self-proclaimed liberators, Undertaker.

As Gai declares to the rank and file within the organization, Shu will be the key component of their offensive campaign strategies moving forward, to the nearly-universal surprise of all. The next goal is gaining control of GHQ’s super satellite, Leukocyte. Gai tasks a reluctant Ayase with putting Shu through a crash-course in basic training to mitigate his liability in field operations; and as he completes each battery of his training regimen, his instructors have little hope for his becoming a competent soldier for the cause.

Disillusioned and buckling under the weight of his own inferiority complex, Shu is devastated at Inori’s coldness and shocked when he learns of her special relationship with Gai.

At his final test, he can do little else besides evasive maneuvers in the face of Ayase’s pursuing Endlave until he improvises and draws Arugo’s Void, an instrument that envelops its target in an sphere of abject darkness. Just as he is congratulated by everyone and officially welcomed into the resistance, Tsugumi brings word GHQ has fired the weapon Leukocyte at Point Delta -where Gai and Kyou (Fujitou Chika) supposedly are- obliterating the area in a hellish, smoldering crater of devastation.

Can Ayase's advice inject Shu with some backbone?

At this point, Guilty Crown sits on precarious ground. This episode is perhaps the last before the series has to start picking up speed plotwise. However, at the moment the primary protagonist has all the charismatic engagement of wet tissue paper with the resolve to match.

Shu has perhaps the weakest conviction of a series’ main character this side of Ikari Shinji, and at least Shinji could play the cello. Shu’s fascination with Inori was made clear from the first episode; and the news of her status with Gai surely comes as a blow to his fragile ego but hopefully, the series will not take a turn for the melodramatic and inject the series with a forced dynamic between Shu and Inori and Gai to meet some perceived need for romantic drama.

At the end of his test, Shu defeats Ayase only because of the element of surprise and relying on the Void Genome. It seems the series is reminding us of the painfully obvious fact that the only thing that makes Shu unique, and indeed the only reason why either Undertaker or GHQ would even bother with him is because of the Power of the Kings. It’s common for a lead character to have a number of character faults/weaknesses (s)he overcomes through the course of the story to account for development and growth, but it’s remarkable how little Shu has started with and how little he has changed thus far.

Delta Point, after the strike by the satellite weapon Leukocyte

With recent developments (e.g. the possibility of Undertaker having just lost their primary leadership), there is still alot of room to compensate for a weak character or two. We’ll have to see what happens at the next stage.

Guilty Crown Episode 4

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I had to... she's just too cute.

As Inori watches from the departing railcar, Segai takes Shu into custody and prepares to transport him to a remote facility for interrogation. Thinking fast, Inori begins searching frantically for some way to intervene and almost halts the train but she is stopped by Tsugumi, onboard incognito, who informs her such are Gai’s orders.

Crestfallen at Yahiro’s betrayal, Shu can barely respond to any of Segai’s questions. At school, Hare and Kanon inform the rest of their classmates of his arrest, throwing the classroom into an uproar. At his debriefing, Segai reports to Keido he is all but certain Shu has ties to Undertaker and, based on his interactions with Gai, is no ordinary member.

Although Segai presents Shu with photographic evidence of having met Gai in person, he is uncooperative. Keido in turn shows Segai a transmission received just minutes earlier, in which Gai announces to GHQ authorities he is planning to rescue a comrade from GHQ custody the following day. Segai, pondering Shu’s relationship with Gai, proposes an idea.

He beefs up security at the detention facility and releases Shu from his cell, bringing him to a heavily fortified-ward. The interior of the state-of-the-art fortress is dedicated almost exclusively to a vast treatment center for the most severely afflicted victims of the Apocalypse Virus. It is there Segai informs him this is what Yahiro sold him out for: the best medical care available for his sickly younger brother, who displays symptoms of the disease’s most advanced stage.

In an appeal to Shu’s sense of civic decency, Segai explains GHQ’s vital role in the aftermath of the Apocalypse Virus outbreak and the ten-year-long struggle re-establishing order in the country. He condemns Undertaker for undermining lasting peace and threatening to disrupt the order that took so long to restore. Although Shu can’t forget the killing committed by GHQ forces which he witnessed with his own eyes, Segai reveals Gai’s intent to release a mass murderer, Kido Kenji, from imprisonment, explaining it is Kido and not Shu whom Gai is concerned with rescuing.

Segai ends the meeting by leaving Shu with a transmitter, which he is to use when he is with Gai. He mentions Inori in passing and implies he will approach her next if Shu refuses. Back in his cell, Shu contemplates his predicament when a guard informs him his lawyer has arrived. Shu enters the conference room to sit face-to-face with Gai.

Under the identity of Shu’s lawyer “Mason,” he maintains the act until Tsugumi successfully hacks the CC network to kill sound and video surveillance. Gai alerts the rest of the team to remain on standby as he begins explaining the mission to free Kido when Shu snaps. Gai immediately becomes aware someone has talked to Shu. As Shu questions Gai’s motivations, the emergency alert system triggers and Gai gives the green light to commence the operation. The conflict begins and Gai tells Shu to decide whether he will act or continue to hesitate.

Filled with doubt, Shu wavers until he hears Inori’s voice via transmission, who tells him she is on her way. Against Gai’s orders, she has infiltrated the holding facility on her own initiative and secured the coordinates of his holding cell in a bid to rescue him. Deciding to make a break for it, Shu leaves to meet up with Inori. Gai informs Shibungi of the change in plans, declaring he will act alone to secure Kido Kenji (who at that moment is in the process of being transferred to another location) and instructs Ayase to provide back-up for Inori and Shu instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As he navigates the labyrinthine corridors, Shu is almost captured before Ayase finds him. Making their way outside, their path is blocked by Endlave ground forces, forcing Ayase to send Shu to take cover while she sorties with the enemy. Gai obtains visual confirmation of Kido as he is being moved and brings him down to ground level within mere yards of Shu, who makes eye contact with Kido after his mask slips off. Remembering Gai’s plan, Shu rushes forward and draws Kido’s Void: a strange gun that manipulates the specific gravity of its intended target. He is able to dispatch several foes but as the weapon takes considerable time to release its charge, he is quickly surrounded.

Only My Railgun...

Inori arrives and Shu, redirecting the gravitational pulse on a nearby water fountain, climbs the time-seized column of water to meet her in the air. Though unsure of Gai, he trusts Inori and draws her Void. On sighting Shu, Segai executes a soldier just as he is about to fire on him, awestruck as he witnesses him use the Power of Kings. With Inori safe in hand, Shu handily annihilates the remaining Endlave attack force as the facility burns to a gutted heap of smoldering rubble.

Afterwards, with Inori in tow, Shu surrenders Kido to Gai’s custody as the latter once again invites Shu to join Undertaker on the condition he follow orders without question. In the end, Shu accepts but holds on to Segai’s transmitter as they withdraw.

—–

I enjoyed this episode immensely for a number of reasons, among them the characterization of Segai. You could tell from his introduction last episode he represents an altogether very different menace from Daryl, who doesn’t seem to care about anything so long as he’s able to kill something, protocol and circumstances be damned.

Segai proves a cunning and resourceful enemy, whose subtle tactics easily overwhelm the naive and inexperienced Shu. Granted, there’s hardly anything noteworthy about a highly-trained military tactician trapping a high-school freshman in his psychological web but I appreciate a villain whose brain is sufficiently hard-wired he doesn’t have to rely on the conditioned reflex of using brute force alone.

Now that he’s planted the seeds of doubt, all he has to do is wait. Unfortunately, so do we. A week is a long time!

Guilty Crown Episode 3

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Presenting the Usual Suspects

In the wake of the incident at Roppongi, Gai and the Undertakers formally declare their existence to the world and their open challenge to GHQ’s authority over Japan, prompting GHQ to issue a public call for anyone with information related to the Undertakers to report it immediately. At Shu’s school, Inori makes a big splash in her first day on the scene as the instantly-popular bishoujo tenkousei. After all, she is the frontwoman of (apparently universally) popular band Egoist. Puzzled, Shu wonders to himself why Inori has transferred to his school after he turned down Gai’s invitation to join Undertaker, but stops short of asking her directly.

After school, Shu arrives home resolved to refrain from any further involvement with Inori, only to find she has personal access to his apartment and has already deposited her belongings there. She has taken up residence at his place for his own protection. Shu’s mother Ouma Haruka turns out to be a senior Sephirah Genomics researcher working closely with Keido Shuichiro (Inoue Kazuhiko), most likely Director or Lead Researcher of Genomics research, in the GHQ investigation to find the lost Void Genome and deal with the aftermath of the skirmish with Undertaker in Roppongi. Keido informs his superiors he has tasked Undertaker-related affairs to Major Makoto Waltz Segai (Canna Nobutoshi), a resourceful, intelligent officer specializing in hunting targets and was able to successfully figure out the Norma Gene genetic drug distribution network.

Yahiro, worried about Shu’s strange behavior at school earlier, shows up on Shu’s doorstep and asks him whether anything happened the day before. Soon, Inori steps out and at her request has Shu come along with her downtown. Eventually, they meet Gai, who recruits Shu to help find the identity of “Sugar,” A Norma Gene dealer who had witnessed the Undertaker operation and who has been determined to be a student at Shu’s school. His single clue is the knowledge of what Sugar’s Void is, which he has already divulged to Inori, leading Shu to conclude Gai has the ability to discern a person’s Void on sight. Gai warns Shu that Sugar is a threat not only to Undertaker but to his peaceful life as a student as well. Shu reluctantly agrees.

With Inori’s help, he embarks on a school-wide search, with no other feasible method available to him than to physically draw each student’s Void one-by-one. In a botched first attempt, Shu unintentionally gropes class representative Kusama Kanon (Kotobuki Minako), an incident which seals his reputation as a pervert school-wide, much to his chagrin. Fleeing to safety, Inori explains why he failed and helps him overcome his fear of eye-contact.

After spending all day trying to find the correct Void, Shu finally learns the Void they are looking for take the form of shears. Just as Kusama catches up with them, Yahiro helps Shu avoid her wrath by taking cover in the gym. Yahiro gives himself away and Shu calls him out, revealing his identity as Sugar. With no more reason to hide his true personality, Yahiro attacks Shu who draws Yahiro’s Void in desperation. With Yahiro effectively subdued, Inori prepares to eliminate the threat but Shu will not allow it. Trusting Shu’s judgment, Inori relents. When he awakens, Yahiro makes a truce with Shu, with both promising not to reveal the secrets of the other.

On the railway, Inori asks Shu whether she can stay with him forever. The line comes to a screeching halt. The doors open and Shu is shoved through onto the platform, which is crowded with waiting GHQ troopers. Shu turns just in time to see Yahiro apologize before the doors close; he watches as the train pulls away and shouts after Yahiro, not yet comprehending his predicament. Just then, Major Segai walks up and places Shu under arrest.

—-

They only mention Inori is a member of Egoist every five minutes, so in case you’ve forgotten in between the time you first started reading this post and now, I’ll tell you again. Inori. Is THE Inori. From Egoist.

We all knew Yahiro was going to betray him in the end but then Shu’s logic for sparing him was just horribly, woefully-wrong to begin with. Even if Shu had been feeling lazy enough to not want to think for himself, Gai had already given him plenty of reasons but Shu decided he didn’t want Yahiro’s efforts of constructing a completely false but painstakingly crafted and carefully maintained facade to go to waste? Not trying to nitpick here but that kinda seems like a non sequitur to me. Despite the plot holes, Guilty Crown still has so much else going for it. Like the villains. Segai looks like a real bastard. I wonder what sort of havoc he’ll wreak on Undertaker in the weeks to come.

Guilty Crown Episode 2

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Gai watches from the distance as Shu mops up the remaining GHQ Endlave mechs, neutralizing the threat before rescuing Inori. As he rushes to her aid, Gai warns him to leave the area within fifteen seconds. Elsewhere, Undertaker Shinomiya Ayase (Hanazawa Kana) sets course for her next target when a new-model GHQ Endlave appears out of nowhere, pursuing Ayase’s already-battered craft with deadly speed. In the pilot’s seat is Lieutenant Daryl “Kill-‘Em-all Daryl (皆殺しのダリル)” Yan, a mercurial, impulsive young officer with a demon’s taste for carnage. Outgunned and at a serious tactical disadvantage, Aya is nearly killed before Tsugumi (Taketatsu Ayana) performs an emergency ejection, leaving the bloodlust lieutenant supremely disappointed to have impaled nothing more than the husk of a lifeless cockpit.

As Daryl returns from his reckless sortie, he introduces himself to Major Guin, third squadron commander of GHQ’s Antibodies division (and the man who apprehended Inori in the previous episode), from whom we learn that Daryl is the son of a GHQ Major General. Cocksure and contemptuous of authority, Daryl declares he will do as he pleases, much to the consternation of Guin.

Gai voices his frustration at Inori’s failed mission and though Shu pleads on her behalf, Gai reminds him that in the end, results are what matter. One of only three of its kind developed by Sephirah Genomics, the vial containing the Void Genome Inori was supposed to have secured was intended for Gai’s use; but because Shu intercepted it, he has acquired the “Power of Kings.” The Void Genome harnesses the hidden power with the human genome and converts into Voids, which manifest as weapons and differ from person to person, the user can then extract at will. Gai solemnly warns Shu he can no longer remain a passive observer in the face of the circumstances around him and the responsibility to use the Power of Kings for good now falls squarely on his shoulders.

Gai receives a communications transmission from a subordinate, who informs him the Anti-bodies have stormed an underground safehouse and, along with the notorious Lieutenant Daryl Yan, are preparing to liquidate the hundred odd people caught there. Although Shibungi (Koyasu Takehito) advises Undertaker withdraw from the potential conflict in light of weaker numbers and overall firepower, Gai proposes a daring, overt combat operation to eliminate the
Antibodies forces and rescue the captives.

Gai explains the Antibodies are a special task force given carte blanche to declare people symptomatic and eliminate potential threats at their own discretion. (Although not entirely clear at the time of this writing, the Antibodies seem to function as both a paramilitary organization within GHQ as well as its primary means of enforcement, possessing characteristics of both the SS and the Gestapo of Nazi Germany.) GHQ’s brutality may be best personified in the person of Lieutenant Daryl, who in a fit of sadistic brutality beats a pleading female civilian to a bloody pulp before finishing her off execution-style. At Major Guin’s orders, the first group of citizens are put down and Gai issues the command to commence the operation.

Undertaker operatives begin by launching a salvo of long-range ground-to-ground missiles at the Antibodies forces, which they promptly intercept. Already thrilling to the prospects of direct combat, Daryl runs off to mount his Endlave and the rest of Undertaker’s Bravo and Charlie Teams begin their operation objectives, culminating in targeting the Antibodies field command center with numerous missile threats too numerous to intercept. Shibungi transmits a live communications feed direct to Major Guin’s command bridge, advising complete surrender and release of all hostages. Guin dismisses the offer with a counterthreat, demanding the leader of Undertaker to show himself.

Striding out into the open, Gai addresses Guin face-to-face with the latter issuing the ultimatum of divulging the location of the missing Void Genome by the count of ten. As Guin begins his count, Shu seizes the initiative; he locates Daryl’s cockpit and extracts his Void, a Kaleidoscope weapon that deflects Guin’s beam attack in a vast field of reflectors, shielding Gai from the onslaught and obliterating the Antibodies command center and detached Endlave forces below. Ostensibly, Daryl survives, pulled from the wreckage by a few remaining stormtroopers.

Gai walks over to the still speechless Shu, commending his efforts and inviting him to officially join Undertaker’s ranks. At school, Shu listlessly stares out the classroom window, wondering how his life would have changed had he accepted Gai’s offer. Content to slip back into his old routines, Shu prepares to continue his life as a normal high-school student. However, the introduction of a familiar face leaves him cold: Inori has transferred to his school and is now among his homeroom classmates.

What, Shu-kun: you thought you could just appropriate, albeit accidentally, the product of untold millions-of-dollars worth of top-secret genetics research; become initiated into the clandestine operations of an underground guerrilla movement; take part in rebelling against government authority with widespread damage to public property in collateral, and just walk away? Tsk tsk. You can’t stop now, you’re the protagonist. Notable in this episode: Lieutenant Daryl Yan is a narcissistic sadist after Knight of Ten Luciano Bradley’s own heart, with perhaps a touch of dandy-ism. I highly doubt Production I.G. would kill off a character with such dramatic impact potential on the plot, especially after just one episode, so I imagine we will be hearing a good deal more from “Kill-‘Em-All” Daryl as the series progresses. Gimme thrills; gimme chills; gimme spills; gimme kills.

Also, it’s fun to see some Hanazawa Kana + Taketatsu Ayana onscreen chemistry again.

Guilty Crown Episode 1

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Guilty Crown (ギルティクラウン) is probably the most-hyped anime title of the Fall 2011 Anime season; it is definitely one of the most-talked about shows associated with Production I.G. in recent memory. After many months of restless anticipation, the wait for eager audiences is finally over, with episodes airing in the latter half of Fuji TV’s exclusive noitaminA (ノイタミナ) anime block as the Main Event. Directed by Araki Tetsuro (Gakuen Mokushiroku – High School of the Dead, Death Note) with original character designs by Redjuice of Supercell fame, and Supercell contributing both OP and ED themes, the production team has spared no effort in assembling some of the most successful professionals in the industry to ensure Guilty Crown is a quality work of the highest caliber.

The premiere is nothing short of spectacular, and it’s follow-up episode continues to raise already-lofty expectations. Fair warning for those still forming objective opinions on this show: as you may have already guessed by now, I am completely biased in favor of this series and unreservedly endorse it. As always, spoilers do apply so read at your own risk.

Guilty Crown is set in the year 2039, in a dystopic future where Japan is recovering from the catastrophic devastation of ten years prior by the sudden outbreak of what was known as the “Apocalypse Virus.” The resulting fallout from the epidemic is so severe and widespread Japan verges on the brink of collapse, requiring sustained, long-term aid from numerous countries simply to maintain its status as a nation. However, the international organization GHQ intervenes and declares martial law under the pretense of restoring order and rebuilding Japan’s crippled infrastructure. This is not mere philanthropy out of good-will, for the cost of assisted survival is high: with GHQ’s effectively permanent occupation, Japan loses its independent sovereignty. Needless to say, corruption, societal decay and numbed resignation to an uncertain fate determined by outsiders have paralyzed the general public.

Having a foreign power cross your borders in time of crisis to commandeer your country because “you don’t have the power to protect those precious to you” is no doubt humiliating and would be a reproach to any national psyche.

Out of the midst of this climate of utter despair rises a boy. Ouma Shu (Kaji Yuuki), by all accounts just your average koukousei, has a fairly unremarkable life until he meets frontwoman and vocalist for the group Egoist, idol Yuzuriha Inori (Kayano Ai), whom he much admires. Inori incidentally also happens to be a member of Undertaker, an underground resistance group dedicated to freeing Japan from GHQ. After seizing possession of a strange vial from the hands of the government, Inori evades capture by taking refuge in the abandoned building Shu has commissioned as his makeshift design workshop. It isn’t long, however, before GHQ agents track her to the location and take her into custody, threatening Shu should he interfere.

Immediately afterwards, Shu is overcome with guilt, despising himself for his hesitation and inability to help someone in need. Urgently, Fyu-Neru, Inori’s robotic companion carrying the yet-undiscovered vial, compels Shu to take up her mission in her place to convey the precious cargo to Tsutsugami Gai (Nakamura Yuuichi), leader of Undertaker.

He is successful in reaching Gai but mere moments before he can turn over the vial, the rendezvous point is attacked and overrun by GHQ forces. At Gai’s encouragement, Shu takes responsibility for himself and throws himself into the fray, effectively joining Undertaker as an unofficial recruit as he races to assist Inori, who has been surrounded. As he nears the action, one of the GHQ mech pilots fires upon him, shattering the vial and scattering its contents:


In a flash of light, Shu inherits an ability known as the “Power of Kings,” which allows him to draw weapons and objects from people via the artifact bonded in his right handed. Finally obliging Inori’s request, Shu draws his weapon from Inori and cuts down the hostile forces, ending the skirmish.

Thus begins a revolution? The struggle has just begun.

If there is one thing thus far that defines Guilty Crown, it is its elegant, cinematic presentation. By cinematic, I mean precisely that. The visuals are breathtaking with stunning scenery and exquisite character designs that amaze and allure; and while the richness of the animation exudes style on its own, Supercell’s OP and ED contributions bookend the drama in each episode to lend the story a suitable ambiance.

In short, the premiere episode is a resounding triumph. I won’t go into the obvious comparisons with a certain other runaway-hit anime also about an oppressed, occupied Japan on the eve of revolt, but I will say though that Guilty Crown promises great things to come.

The right to use my friend as a weapon;
That is the sinful crown I shall adorn.

Indeed. And a glorious crown it is.