This week leaves no loose ends, picking right up from the dazzling conclusion of the premier episode starring Shu as he skillfully wields his newly acquired Power of Kings. From the captivating new full-length OP performed by our very own Yuzuriha Inori to the series’ marvelously innovative take on fan-service—plenty of beautiful-bodied heroines showing off skin-tight outfits in their quest to save Japan—Guilty Crown promises no disappointment to its devoted viewers.
Having capitalized on the action potential of the series in exploiting the Power of Kings to defeat Saen and his Endlave mech, Shu, and the focus of the Undertaker organization are quickly diverted to a new and vastly more imposing threat with the arrival of the dogmatic GHQ Lieutenant, Daryl Yan. Commandeering his new-model Endlave, Yan has already made quick work of eliminating many of Undertaker’s field soldiers, including a close-call with operative Shinomiya Ayase. Now (electric) slide over to the Undertaker headquarters where we catch Gai amidst a heated conversation in which he chastises Inori for allowing Shu to obtain the ability Power of Kings from the Void Genome—a task originally determined to be carried out by Gai himself. With some convincing, his purpose evolves to protect Shu as the proprietor of the organizations ‘secret weapon’.
From their high vantage point, the three observe Daryl rallying hostages for extermination, marking Undertaker’s ideal moment to shine! Shu and Inori are sent on an inside undercover reconnaissance mission (the exposed back and crawling position do wonders for the fan-service (*¬*), giving them a opportune position to observe the situation. However, GHQ’s hostility promptly surmounts to a ambitious massacre, initiating a fierce battle headed by the “sharpest fang”, Lt. Yan. Yet their advance is stopped short as Gai’s expert planning employs a standoff with the young GHQ leader. In an intense, yet subdued sequence, Gai’s aggressive threats lead up to a climax reveal of their new ‘secret weapon’ as Shu wields his newest weapon—Kaleidoscope—destroying the enemy in a violent and visually stunning display.
In fantastic juxtaposition, the episode trails off with scenes of recovery serenaded by Inori—marking Shu’s official induction into the Undertaker resistance. As school for Shu begins the subsequent morning, he and the class are treated to a welcomed surprise as the new transfer student is introduced as none other than Yuzuriha Inori~
An impressive follow-up, for sure, to an amazing premier, the second installment introduces quite a few new ideas not present in the premier—fan-service (no reservations here :) ), a rude introduction to GHQ’s bad(est)ass commander/Lieutenant, Daryl Yan, and a better glimpse at the development and future of the series. Firstly, I have to mention how pleased I was with the introduction of this very unique style of fan-service, which unlike the majority of series, employs very subtle “appeal” namely in the wonderful uniform design complimenting the contour of the heroines’ bodies without all of the extravagant boobs and accidental groping. Being a well-known fan of slice-of-life series, I tend to sway towards the humor+yuri fan-service, however I’ve also always loved mecha, so it is incredible to watch a single series and be impressed on both notes.
With this said, Guilty Crown—even in all of it’s unique and comparison-less high standing—does occasionally fall into the trap of clichéd development and reused ideas. Of course, the young and infinitely powerful antagonist and intense battle scenes characteristic of the mecha genre come to mind. Furthermore, some of the developments including how Shu’s acquisition of the Power of Kings from an accidental misstep originally intended for Gai seemed a bit questionable as the fate of the first conflict and essentially the entire series was based on this minor detail. Not to mention that it was Gai who prompted Shu to rescue Inori. Overall, it appeared to be a fairly pivotal detail brought about by a rather coincidental incident. Other than these few particularities, the series doesn’t fail to deliver in the visual department, employing cutting-edge techniques that bring the original character designs by Redjuice to life and coupling the illustration with melodic accompaniment.