The fate of Hare was bound to open up a new paradigm for Guilty Crown, and more specifically for Shu - but who would have imagined the change would come so quickly?
We rejoin the action just a mere few days after the events of last week's episode, following the remaining members of Funeral Parlour outside of the confines of Loop 7 as they set out to undertake a mission - an attempt to rescue student council president Arisa at the behest of her father. Getting into Loop 7 is easy enough, but once inside Funeral Parlour member Argo is increasingly shocked by what he sees as he comes face to face with a shocking world inside this sealed-off area - a world where those inside are only valued by the contents of their Void, where dissenters are imprisoned and those affected by the Apocalypse virus are sent into the most dangerous situations to work for the vaccine that keeps them alive.
Of course, at the head of all this is the new "president" himself - Shu. Far from the sensitive, pale Shu who cowers from confrontation we're used to, this Shu has no qualms about using other's lives as he sees fit, even if outwardly this facade is born of a determination to not allow Hare's death to have been in vain. With a belief that Hare was killed by some kind of experimental weapon, it seems that Shu himself is being manipulated, but even that lie being outed in shocking circumstances isn't enough to snap him out of his reverie... and what of Inori, who is not only going along with Shu's decisions but actively taking a vicious role of her own?
Once again, Guilty Crown proves to be somewhat frustrating - on the one hand, its slick presentation emboldens some nice ideas and plot points, but these points often become either overblown or otherwise unbelievable on account of their execution. Shu's descent to the "dark side" works well enough, as does Yahiro's manipulation of his supposed friend, but for it to happen completely in just a few days? With Inori as Shu's queen and a cold-blooded killer in her own right? It's too much too soon, and this is the kind of transition that might have worked over a number of episodes, whereas within a single instalment it flounders somewhat. With all that said, I have to confess that I continue to enjoy Guilty Crown more often than I shake my head at it, but once again the expectations of the show's broadcast slot weigh heavily upon it as it contrives to devalue the intellectual value of some of its most interesting concepts.