A second coming of Lost Christmas on the horizon... Gai seriously wounded... Inori about to be kidnapped by some malicious interval? Yep, I'd say that's pretty heavy as mid-series cliff-hangers are concerned.
This is, however, not even the half of it, as before we know it we're in flashback mode to a simpler time, and a summer involving Shu and his big sister Mana. Yes, that's right, Shu has a sister, not only long-forgotten but also locked away in the depths of his memories. This isn't the only thing he's kept under psychological lock and key, as that summer also led to him meeting Gai, or Triton as Mana chose to name him after his lifeless body is washed up on a beach. With a deep friendship delvoping amongst this trio, things take a turn for the worse as Mana becomes the first victim of the so-called Apocalypse Virus, albeit not before descending into madness and, ultimately, proving to be the sole catalyst for Lost Christmas itself.
Given that power, I'm not sure if it's surprising or not that anyone would want to resurrect Mana and her twisted will, but that's exactly what's at the heart of the new Lost Christmas at which we are at the brink. It seems that only Shu and Gai can stop this madness as Koudou looks to quite literally marry Mana in the hope of inheriting her powers for reasons unclear - cue some more hot Void action as it's ultimately left to Shu to make the day via another extremely tough decision.
There's no doubt about it - lots of stuff happens in this week's Guilty Crown. With revelations aplenty, attempted incest, madness, action and another hefty dose of gorgeous animation it's tough to be too harsh on an instalment that tries so hard, although at the same time I can't help but wonder whether anything that we're seeing actually makes much sense. At the moment Gai's origins as a boy washed up on a beach remain unexplained, Mana's madness feels weird more than outright bonkers, and I could probably list plenty of other moments that don't sit with me quite right were it not almost dinnertime as I write this. Perhaps most importantly of all - where does the series go from here? This felt like a perfect ending to Guilty Crown in many ways, and with its two biggest personalities removed from the picture I can't help but think that the second half of the series is going to be a very different beast indeed.