What They Say:
Inori’s been kidnapped by forces intent on performing a secret ceremony, and the only way for Shu to get her back is to remember what really happened on December 24th, 2029.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Guilty Crown took a bit of a break for the holiday with a planned three week time period between episodes, but episode 12 showed up last week and we didn’t notice it since we went by the official schedule. So we’re doubling up this week as episode twelve brings to close the first half of the twenty-two episode series and episode thirteen gets things moving with the new one. With the break, I have to admit a lot of energy has gone out of the show, but it kicks off well enough from the start by going big with how dangerous everything is and just how much trouble Shu is in at this point. The show built up a good deal of intensity and energy in the last couple of episodes prior to this and went big in a way that resonated in an old school kind of way.
Part of what has to be established here is clearing up the past, which gets a bit interesting if somewhat convoluted since it deals with the lost memories that Shu has. Going back to 2029 when he was younger and was with his sister Mana, the two discovered Gai on the beach and we get a better understanding of the whole Eve virus and what it means with its origins, which have a pretty amusing religious angle as we’ve seen from the whole Lost Christmas part. The show plays it in big fashion when it comes to the scale of it all, talking of revivals, destruction and bringing Eve back through Inori, but it keeps it all in a more personal realm since it’s just the few players at this point that are involved.
The show does a good job of following through on the larger elements placed on it through the first half of its run so far, though the change in relationship between Shu and Gai feels al ittle forced in some ways. It’s definitely the kind of mid season ending that makes you wonder if it’s a series ending though, which is a big plus in my book as it deals with a lot of destruction, a victory that has the taste of ash in the mouth and a lot of personal pain to be felt by those that survived. So much so, in fact, that you almost sit there thinking that it should end at this point rather than go on since it’s very appropriate and hits all the right notes, even if it was a bit too talkative at times for my taste when it came to how they pulled everything together.
But, there is something to be said for dealing with the fallout from situations like this, something that often doesn’t get dealt with, which is why I like the tacked on episodes of Macross back in the day. Following up two weeks later after the second Lost Christmas as it became called, GHQ has sealed off the area entirely that everyone is in though many people try to go through their life as normal, which has got to be a hell on the adults who have to deal with so many things. For the kids, they’re trying to keep some semblance of life by still going to the school and spending time there in an effort to maintain normality and composure. But for Shu, the whole thing feels like a bit of a farce after what he experienced and the losses that came from sealing Mana.
Being cut off as they are, only a couple members of Funeral Parlor are trapped in with Shu and the others but they’re blending in well enough. They don’t even know if the organization exists anymore after what happened to Gai and that adds a good sense of despondency to things as the mood is pretty pervasive the further in you get. It’s not all bad though as there are a lot of kids that know how to work a situation and bring in some lightheartedness so that everyone doesn’t get depressed. It’s good to see this angle play out as well, especially as you have those like Ayase trying to blend in and doing so through interacting with others. Of course, their efforts aren’t always viewed kindly by others, such as when they try go to through with a cultural festival while people are suffering, not realizing that such a festival can help ease people’s minds.
When the episode goes big towards the end, it does so in a kind of refreshing and more personal way since it’s not dealing with a big, epic threat at the moment but a more simple and easily dealt with one. Letting those from Funeral Parlor trapped inside get involved and to realize that they have to move forward as well shows the direction of the series at this point, giving them all incentive to be proactive and do things rather than just hiding. And it even lets Shu stand tall a bit as well, which is good since we didn’t want to see him idling and being all cautious after the events that happened before with Gai. There’s some understandable moments where he holds back a bit, but when he and Ayase go over the top, publicly, towards the end here, it infuses the energy into the series that it needed. The twelfth episode was hard to get into after the break, but by the end of the thirteenth episode it has me excited to see where they’re going to go next.
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Streamed By: FUNimation
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.