Friday, November 4, 2011

Guilty Crown - 04

[CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_00.29_[2011.11.03_19.49.49] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_01.16_[2011.11.03_19.50.35] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_17.25_[2011.11.03_20.06.23]

Must not think too much about what’s happening.  Must not think too much about what’s happening.  Must not…

Really, this series should have been called “Guilty Pleasure” because that’s what it’s become for me.  Normally I despise that term – if you like something you like it, and there’s no good reason to feel guilty.  But I find myself having a hard time justifying why I enjoy Guilty Crown, and indeed feeling sort of guilty for doing so.  It represents a triumph of style over substance (sort of) and doesn’t have an original thought in its head.  In short, it’s eye candy and not especially creative eye candy at that.  But I just can’t bring myself to join in the pounding that it’s receiving from a lot of viewers, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why.

For one, I think some of that comes from the show having unrealistically high expectations, which really isn’t its fault.  More importantly, there’s an appealing quality to it – a sort of puppy-dog simplicity that endears it to me.  Not a lot of it makes sense, it’s all stuff I’ve seen before and none of the characters have blown me away.  But at the same time, GC reminds me of a painting that’s done in all primary colors.  It’s not going to be subtle or groundbreaking, but there’s no reason it can’t be aesthetically pleasing.  This is a pretty basic good vs. evil, boy meets girl kind of story that’s been retold thousands of times.  And at the end of the last couple of episodes, I’ve really found that I enjoyed watching it.  And it doesn’t hurt that even the eyecatches are stunning to look at.

As we pick this up, Major Sagai (Canna Nobutoshi) is twirling his figurative mustache  and having a bit of sport with Shu as he tries to get him to turn on Undertaker.  I sense the series trying to paint a balanced picture here by showing the “good” side of what GHQ is doing – such as treating Yahiro’s little brother and others with Stage 4 Apocalypse disease – and the terrorist side of Undertaker.  But really, shades of gray is not what this series excels at and all this comes off as rather a tepid attempt, the show’s innate xenophobia shining brightly through.  There’s also the realization that it was Gai’s order that Shu not be rescued (though not, apparently, that got him captured in the first place).  Gai has interests inside the correctional facility, though, namely in springing Undertaker and convicted murderer Kido Kenji, who has a very special anti-gravity void inside him.  When Inori disobeys Gai’s order and breaks into the facility (way, way too easily) to free Shu herself, all hell breaks loose.

The following action sequences are pure gold, utterly preposterous but a blast to watch.  It’s a mistake to pick holes in the logic of those sequences, because you could drive a mecha through them.  No, just enjoy Inori leaping thirty feet in the air and Shu climbing anti-grav bubbles and iconic imagery that will quicken the pulse of mecha fans everywhere (and with good reason).  It’s delightfully, innocently silly and completely spectacular.  And dammit, I’m even sort of getting caught up in Shu and Inori now, very rough representations of that Shinji and Rei archetypes they are.  Shu is so utterly guileless and mopey that I’ve sort of come to like him, and Inori is irresistibly beautiful and sweet in an alien way.

As things stand, looks like the improvised kerfuffle at the correctional facility has closed all of Shu’s doors except the one that leads to joining forces with Gai and Undertaker.  Of course, being the bet-hedger he is, he takes the listening device disguised as a pen that Sagai gives him just in case – and Sagai seems only too happy to let him go, having seen just what he’s capable of.  Information is Sagai’s weapon of choice after all, and he has Shu’s mother as a hostage if he needs to use her.  All this beauty and stark moral certainty is beginning to form a nice NoitaminA sandwich the ugliness and relativism of UN-GO, making this a better and more interesting block than I would have guessed a couple of weeks ago.

[CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_09.09_[2011.11.03_19.57.21] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_10.17_[2011.11.03_19.58.29] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_11.37_[2011.11.03_19.59.49]
[CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_12.17_[2011.11.03_20.00.28] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_13.36_[2011.11.03_20.01.48] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_14.29_[2011.11.03_20.02.41]
[CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_15.05_[2011.11.03_20.03.17] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_15.11_[2011.11.03_20.03.36] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_16.16_[2011.11.03_20.05.14]
[CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_16.51_[2011.11.03_20.05.49] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_17.13_[2011.11.03_20.06.11] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_18.01_[2011.11.03_20.06.59]
[CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_18.50_[2011.11.03_20.07.48] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_19.21_[2011.11.03_20.08.19] [CoalGuys] Guilty Crown - 04 [0984A4AC].mkv_snapshot_20.27_[2011.11.03_20.09.25]


10 comments:

  1. Gah, Inori's such a horrible character for so many reasons. I still watch, because the show is incredibly pretty, and Inori is quite simply a god-tier character design, but why does she have to be...like she is? Can't she be an actual character, not every stereotype of what people think female anime characters dressed like her are? THROW ME A BONE JAPAN. PLEASE.

    Blah blah whatever we all could have written this episode's plot out beforhand and gotten 90% of it right.

    Best part was Kido's Void, though I'm seriously annoyed by how HAX Inori's is. Why even bother with anything else when he call pull a +1 sword of "FUCK YOU I WIN" out of her at any moment?

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  2. Oh, one other thing re: your current poll

    The problem your front page has isn't images, but you've got something slowing it down bad, and I think its one of your plugins, probably "Recent Comments", since that seems to take forever to load, but it might be one of the others as well. You may want to look into whats on your sidebar and see if you can streamline it or what, this is easily the slowest blog to load of the ones I read regularly.

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  3. Yeah, I know that's an issue. Blogger is bad that way - none of the speed mods you can do with Wordpress work with Blogger. All of those sidebar widgets are useful though, so it's a question of which one is slowing it down and which ones I can live without.

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  4. @Enzo: the speed has been bad for me before the new recent comments came about. it has been like this since the new bg came into play.
    whats your mail

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  5. Guilty pleasure indeed. There are a lot of things that doesn't sit well with me but somehow I still find it enjoyable and that's almost entirely thanks to its superb animaton quality and BGM. The writing's mediocre at best and we don't even have to try hard to find flaws. The drama felt forced, the dialogues silly and the anime cliches are not even executed well. It's still too early to tell if it can meet expectations since it's a two cour show but I can't say I'm very optimistic.

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  6. I'm hoping for it to master the grayscale! (in a way very much like Code Geass, (P.S. remember where you heard the comparison between CG and GC first, it's me, baby. yeah!))
    Back on topic, since the logic holes are "mechasized", the logical conclusion is that the GC crew knows about it, and decides just to divert their eyes from it and fix them on something much more beautiful. And I'm seriously hoping one of them is the grayscale of morality. Otherwise, the only thing left is fuzzy love and visual effects...
    .. basically the anime-maniacs version of porn. And probably why you feel guilty watching it!
    Wow, I feel I just realized something big here!

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  7. IMO, there is nothing wrong with enjoying an Anime so much for the eyecandy. After all, Anime is the only medium that can give such eye candies and this is no way a bad use of it.

    Anyway, I am slowly starting to like Shu: while he did accept to join them, the way he looked at transmitter shows that he isn't walking blindly in but is ready to turn against Gai should the need arise. Yahiro's betrayal must have taught him a valuable lesson and I hope he continues to grow as a character.

    And Gai is freaking awesome. He definitely has some dark plans, but he is damn awesome ^_^

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  8. I agree, there's nothing wrong with eye candy even if you'd like there to be more. I do think it's sort of a shame to have this on NoitaminA, though, as there are endless places for eye candy and almost none for edgy, character-driven series of the type that used to take up at least half of the block.

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  9. That I agree with... I find it weird that this is even on Noitamina as it is targeted at less mainstream shows...

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