Friday, 27 January 2012

Guilty Crown - Episode 14

Never mind culture festivals, the inhabitants of Tennozu First High School and the wider Loop7 region have some big problems on their hands - namely, that they've been labelled as contaminated by new president Keido and have thus been quarantined from the rest of Japan.

With communications down and no real way of knowing what's going on in the outside world, the school's students quickly become restless, with most of their bile reserved for the student council president Arisa - despite her assertions that her grandfather and the Kuhouin group he fronts will do everything in their power to rescue them, these promises fall on deaf ears largely on account of the school's delinquent elements.  With no communications and the the whereabouts of the rest of FUneral Parlour still unknown, even the likes of Tsugumi and Ayase are powerless, although the former does just so happen to pick up a Void strength measuring device that she finds laying around.

While those within the walled-in quarantine zone wait idly, the powers that be are rather more energetic however as they put their own plan into action - effectively, organised genocide against those remaining in Loop 7 using Endlaves and a movable barrier to shrink the quarantine area ever smaller.  As news begins to filter through about what's going on, panic breaks out in the school, while the promise of freedom in return for handing in Funeral Parlour members creates a witch-hunt which threatens more than just actual members of the organisation.  As things look set to get really out of hand, it's ultimately left to Shu to step up to the plate and make a difference, courtesy of a plan involving the use of Tsugumi's newly-unveiled Void to gain the support of the students while showing that the government have no interest in the survival of those within Loop 7.  Reluctantly, it seems as if Shu is stepping into the... well... shoes... of predecessor Gai.

As the episodes roll on by, there's an ever-increasing suspension of disbelief - or more precisely, a willingness to accept what you're seeing without question - that comes with watching Guilty Crown.  So many of its twists and turns now feel like convenient plot twists, such as Tsugumi's Void and the Void measuring device, while other elements are as-of yet unexplained such as how Keido is not only alive but President of Japan.  No doubt some of these questions will be answered, but that still doesn't change the fact that Guilty Crown is pretty much the de facto home of dei ex machina of all shapes and sizes at the moment.  Then again, if you embrace these elements and just roll with it, the slick presentation and occasional "cool factor" go a long way towards making up for those deficiencies - if only that wasn't such a big "if", and if only this series wasn't marketed as a noitaminA work, we'd probably be saying far more positive things about it.

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