As we reach this penultimate episode of Guilty Crown, so the goals of both Gai and Shu become clear, with the former looking to resurrect Mana for his own ends while Shu needs to stop him doing this at all costs.
With Gai's attempt to "transform" Inori into Mana ready to begin, the only real potential fly in his ointment is the presence of a massive UN military force who is all set to invade Japan at the slightest provocation. At least, that's their plan, but Gai puts this idea to bed in short order thanks to the combined fire-power of a trio of Voids at his disposal.
That isn't the end of the matter however, as of course the remaining members of Funeral Parlour have plans of their own, revolving around saving Inori and thus putting paid to Gai and company's scheme. This brings us a couple of action set pieces - first as Shu and his group break through the defences outside of the headquarters where Gai is situated (thanks largely to a little Tsugumi magic), before the decidedly trickier objective of actually finding Inori leads to Shu facing off against Daath's envoy, with the latter teasing the former about his potential place as the new world's Adam to Mana's Eve. Once all of the talk and combat is out of the way however, can Shu make it in time to save Inori? It certainly doesn't look like it...
Despite offering up some more slick action (which again feels perfectly laid out as a potential level of a first or third-person shooter video game), this episode drove home to me more than any other instalment of Guilty Crown that I simply don't care any more - not about its characters, nor about its wider setting. Whether it's because of the various plot holes or overbearing requirements to suspend disbelief that have cropped up during the series, I just can't find a "hook" into the show's big climax, and to be left unmoved by the concept of a world and the lives of its people at stake is a pretty damning indictment of Guilty Crown as a whole. While I've been able to find a fair amount to enjoy in the series over the past few months, engaging my emotions certainly hasn't been on that list, and the show is suffering for it at this late stage.