What They Say:
Ten years ago on Christmas Eve, Mana, Shu, and Gai had a fateful encounter in a church. That’s the story we already know. The story we don’t know: where were their parents?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s almost amusing how in a lot of ways the show feels like a massive bit of improv from week to week where it sort of kind of follows what came before but also just wings where it’s going. With Shu in particular this feels pretty blatant at times since his life is such an amazing roller coaster. While he had gained a fair bit of power and was manipulated by others in the quarantine zone, he’s now just a shadow of who he was and is trying to figure out where to go from here. With all the death that has surrounded him, and the amount of it he caused, it’s been a bit too much for the young man.
With Shu running in contrast to Gai at this point as his return to the world of the living is of much concern, the basic truth is revealed that Gai simply wants the Lost Christmas epidemic to be a worldwide event. With the fascinating little place he’s managed to set up for himself, Gai is certainly playing the role of the villain well, but it’s hard to imagine that there’s not some greater plan involved here as well considering his time in Funeral Parlor, unless something has changed so dramatically. Which is certainly possible considering how this series runs. Seeing more of the background material about the virus here, seeing Gai’s role in events and combining that with the way he is now as an overview of sorts drives home just screwed up his own life is and certainly explains away the strange zigs and zags it may take.
The extensive background material here is certainly interesting, especially as it deals with the various scientists and the like and the larger mysteries going on, but it also feels odd to push Shu out of the show again at such a time. The focus on Gai’s past and the threads that it weaves is certainly useful, but it’s a bit more single focused than I expected here. It’s not without drama and tension though, and some striking moments such as a murder that occurs which leads to a fascinating event. The series knows how to create big moments in surprising places and execute them well and this one is no exception. It just lacks some of the resonance it needs since it’s something that doesn’t deal with the characters we’ve really been closely aligned with for awhile.
With this episode, Guilty Crown is focused on filling in some of the blanks from the past and firming up Gai more in the position he’s in now. With it having removed some of the core cast from the quarantine zone problem, something that I still don’t think was really finished in a good way, it’s set more as a bookend kind of plot here that’s designed to set up what’s to come. By focusing more on the past we get the things we needed in order to really get the scope of what’s involved for some of these characters in a very personal way, but I again can’t help but to feel that it’s something that will flow better when taken in marathon form rather than weekly. The series does have some fantastic moments here, but it’s still lacking that strong connection for me to really help elevate it. When it hits those moments, it’s a beauty of a work. This one is another cog in the machine, albeit a good one.
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.