Guilty Crown is the much anticipated sci-fi/action post-apocalyptic series for Fall 2011. The whole story revolves around Shu Ouma, a 17-year old high school student who has a tendency to keep to himself and Inori Yuzuriha, an internet pop star and undercover member of the organization Undertaker. In their world (which I ought to mention takes place in 2039), it’s been ten years since the “Apocalypse Virus” spread over Japan, plunging the nation into state of chaos known as “The Lost Christmas.” Since then, a group that calls themselves GHQ have taken over the government and restores the country to what it was before, but only at the cost of it’s civilian’s freedom and independence. The episode starts off with a gorgeous intro song (sung by the 15-year old voice actress for Inori, I might add) where we see Shu watching a music video from one of Inori’s new songs while on a balcony overlooking the city. Meanwhile, we see Inori’s other objective as an Undertaker member. She’s escaping from a laboratory of sorts, clutching what appears to be a small vial with DNA inside of it. A small robot which we learn is named Funnell accompanies her (I was immediately reminded of the tachikoma from Ghost in the Shell) and gives her directions to her destination while simultaneously offering her audio connections to her home base. While she is fleeing, several tanks/mecha units arrive and begin firing missiles at her. Inori manages to escape with the help of one of her teammates, but not without becoming injured. The intro ends when she escapes, but by this point the haunting song Shu was listening to and the action had already sucked me in.
The next morning, we see Shu on the train ride to school and no one has any reason to suspect that something happened at one of GHQ’s laboratories the previous night. One of his friends approaches and asks him if he was up all night watching music videos online again and Shu denies it, though his friend knows that she was right. Upon arriving at school, Shu tries not to alienate the friends he managed to make, and informs them that he’ll be sure to have their project done on time. His friends seem to understand, but once they head to their desks the girl he rode the train with makes a comment about how he’s trying too hard. We then get a minor narration from Shu, where we learn that his mind tends to work differently than others and that he simply goes along with whatever people want in order to not completely alienate them. During lunch, we see Shu heading to what appears to be an abandoned building – perhaps it was barricaded by the GHQ? – and when he enters, the room, he sees Inori sitting in the middle of the room, singing softly to herself. Shu startles Inori and Funnell attacks him, though thankfully he just shoots a rope around Shu’s leg and causes him to collapse. After Shu makes it know that he’s not an enemy, he asks Inori what she’s doing there. Inori simply states that she needs to get “this” to Gai before turning around with a Jacob’s Ladder (a form of Cat’s Cradle) and asks him if he’ll take it from her. Shu hesitates and during his hesitation, members from the GHQ barge in and confront them. Inori attempts to flee, but is captured and when the men turn their guns on Shu, he collapses and says that he had nothing to do with her. Satisfied, the men leave with Inori in tow, though Shu mentally berates himself for not being brave enough to stand up to them.
After Inori and GHQ are long gone, Funnell approaches Shu and opens up a small digital map, telling Shu where he needs to deliver the vial (luckily, Inori had placed it inside Funnell to keep it safe). Shu is uncertain of what’s going to happen, but he scoops up Funnell and follows the map. Once he arrives at the place marked on the map, he’s accosted by several large me, who demand that he hand over Funnell. Even though he’s getting beaten to a bloody pulp, Shu refuses to give Funnell up and instead apologizes to them and explains that Funnell isn’t even his. This only angers the men more, but before they can do anything, someone with long, blond hair appears and scares the shit out of the men. Turns out, this is the Gai that Inori needed to deliver the vial to and he defeats all five men without even breaking a sweat. Once the men scattered, Gai turns his attention to Shu and greets him (to Shu’s surprise, Gai already knows his name). Before Shu can say anything, a young girl with cat ears and purple hair named Tsugumi runs up to him and snatches Funnell out of Shu’s grasp before huffing and stomping off. Shu finally asks what’s going on and Gai informs him that they’re all part of the rebel group Undertaker and that Inori is also a member. When he asks where Inori is, Shu apologizes profusely for not being able to protect her. Gai says that it’s alright and asks Tsumugi to track Inori’s location. As she does so, Tsumugi exclaims that there’s several troops attacking civilians.
Turns out, GHQ’s commanding officer attempted to get some information out of Inori, but when she wouldn’t speak, he took his frustration out on the civilians by destroying the city block by block. Meanwhile, there’s an important meeting going on with the GHQ’s commanding officer where two scientists inform him that one of their vials was stolen. When the commanding officer asks what it was, they simply say that it’s classified information and they can’t talk about what it is, but only that it’s capable of something catastrophic. Sounds like fun! Going back to Shu and Gai, Gai orders everyone to take positions to try and combat GHQ and save as many civilians as possible. He then informs Shu to escape and keep the vial in his coat pocket safe. Terrified, Shu reluctantly agrees and manages to escape, though as he’s trying to find a way around the fighting, he sees Inori in front of a large mecha. He forces himself to refrain from running away and rushes to Inori’s side, though as he reaches her, a gunshot shatters the vial in his pocket. Thinking he’s dead, Shu screws his eyes shut, but when he opens them, he finds himself and Inori in what appears to be an alternate dimension. Thick metal bands wrap around his right arm, causing a mark (later known as “The King’s Mark”) to appear on his hand. Once they return to reality, Shu reaches into Inori’s chest and pulls out a large sword. Stunned by this, he only takes a moment’s hesitation to attack the mechas and defeat them all.
Opinions: For a first episode, this was super action packed! While the concept of a normal teenage boy gaining supernatural powers and a girl (whom he presumably likes) being the catalyst for his powers is somewhat cliched (Dantalian no Shoka and Utena anyone?) it was a damn good episode. Shu is awkward and likely won’t be able to comprehend exactly what’s happened to him for awhile, but I hope that he’ll eventually come to terms with his new power. Inori is a complete mystery for the most part, aside from the small amount of knowledge we have about her. I wonder if she herself has the power of a King’s Mark or if she’s simply a catalyst. The whole of GHQ is an enigma as well as Undertaker. Both groups looks like they have the manpower to have the fight go either way. What I’d like to know is how and why GHQ managed to take over the Japanese government and what this Apocalypse Virus is. Maybe it was a ploy by GHQ to assume power in the government? There’s a lot of questions already and I hope that we’ll get them in due time, as well as some more information on Inori, Gai and everyone else in Undertaker. Overall, it was an excellent and thrilling first episode and I have a feeling that I won’t be disappointed with this one as it continues.
Posted by nagicakes
Posted on October 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm
in Guilty Crown
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