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Guilty Crown - "leukocytes (Cage)" - Episode 6 Recap

After his reinforcements are wiped out by an attack from Leucocyte, Gai
decides to carry on with the plan to take down the laser weapon. The problem is
that the plan becomes riskier and the projected casualties for Funeral
Parlor go from 5% to 35%. Realizing that so many lives rest on his
shoulders, Shu finds himself at odds with Gai once again and resists going
along with the plan.

Well, this episode definitely had its
problems. The biggest problem is that Guilty Crown is digging itself
into a really predictable story trend: Shu doubts himself, Inori
encourages Shu, and then Shu saves the day with a void. The first time
it was awesome, because we see Shu go from a wimp to a certified badass.
The second time it was still pretty cool, but now we are on the fifth
or so time and the appeal has been lost to me. At the end of the episode
when Shu pulls a new cannon void from Inori I thought to myself “Wow,
this again?” I’ll admit, I’ve been so amazed by the technical aspects
that I’ve overlooked the unoriginal aspects of Guilty Crown. But now we
are in a situation where an unoriginal premise is being mixed with a
predictable plot. That’s not a desirable combination and a game changer is
going to have to happen soon.

I think this issue stems largely
from Shu’s characterization. In the last episode Shu is happy with
Funeral Parlor and seems accepting of Gai’s position as leader. This
episode all of that is apparently forgotten and Shu goes back to
his usual reluctant self again. I suppose the rationale is that he is still
just a student that has been forced into a terrorist situation. Kenji
Kido even makes fun of Shu for not firing his gun as they invade the
Leucocyte control base. It’s aggravating, but slightly forgivable since Guilty Crown is only six episodes in. What isn’t forgivable is how
easily Shu gives into Inori. After his argument with Gai and Funeral
Parlor, Inori confronts him outside and asks him to do exactly as she
says. Why he listens to her so easily is beyond me, considering just
last episode she told him she was more or less using him under Gai’s
orders. Shu makes one step forward and then three steps backwards.

This episode shined a new light on Gai.
Before we had only seen a tough leader, but this time it’s revealed how it takes all of his strength just to act like the leader. After the
Leucocyte attack Kyo, a young member of Funeral Parlor, was still hanging on
and thanking Gai for what he had done for her. A bitter, solemn Gai
had to shoot her out of mercy, and he carries the weight of his dead comrades.
While telling this story he is under the impression that Inori is sitting
beside him, unaware that he has been tricked and that Shu is actually
listening to him. When he finds out he reverts to his normal
arrogant self, the two get into a small fist fight and then…they make
up. Why? Because men make up with their fists of course! Yeah, not sure
if I buy into it either.

Getting back to the plot, Funeral
Parlor makes their attack on an underground base containing the controls
to the Leucocyte. The control system can’t be physically touched, so the
plan is to get Kenji and Shu inside and for Shu to use Kenji’s void to
deactivate the system. Their success is vital since otherwise, the Leucocyte
will supposedly be used as a means to exterminate the Japanese. If there
is one redeeming quality in this episode, it is that Gai’s operation
doesn’t go exactly as planned for once. Lieutenant Daryl makes his
return and shoots the Leucocyte
controls in his quest to get revenge on Gai, which causes Leucocyte 1
to fall out of orbit on a crash course toward Tokyo.

 

The pen Shu has been carrying around is linked to the main Leucocyte.
Had he pushed the button to betray Funeral Parlor, it would have fired
down on his coordinates. Knowing this, Gai makes a deal with the GHQ’s Major Segai – he
will use the pen to stop the satellite in exchange for all data on Shu being erased. The catch is that using the pen means Gai will have to sacrifice itself to make sure Leucocyte 1 is destroyed. Cue Inori
inspiring Shu to save Gai and the city. Cue Shu accepting this
inspiration and using another new void, which is a combination of Inori’s
and Kenji’s. Though this did raise some new curiosities regarding Inori,
it just fell flat and followed the same formula previous episodes have
used.

My frustrations with Guilty Crown remain largely with Shu
and his poor characterization. The show needs to get past this
argument-doubt-inspiration cycle that he goes through each episode and
do something new with him. Better yet, it’d be great to expand on Inori
if she is going to be the one motivating Shu. Hopefully Guilty Crown
will have better and new direction in upcoming episodes.

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