Guilty Crown 02 /// Persona 4 03

Guilty as Charged

Boy was I right about this show being “very much in the anime tradition”.  This show is essentially a collection of tropes dancing around very pretty character designs.  The animators want it all, and they want it now (and surely they deserve points for this, nothing’s worse than an episode where nothing happens).  The risk is, of course, that in trying to please every crowd and hit every cliche, they’ll end up turning everyone off.

For example, you have some fast-paced music to go along with the fast-paced action.  If you’re watching Guilty Crown and haven’t figured out it’s epic don’t worry, the show reminds you at every turn.  But wait, Guilty Crown is also a fanservice extravaganza.  And god forbid you try to ignore that aspect and enjoy the story, the show just won’t let you.  But double wait, the show is also esoteric anime, with lots of mysterious jargon like Voids and Powers of the Genome and what not.  Ignore that for a second and all of a sudden you won’t even understand what the characters are talking about.

This excess (and again, let me be clear here: excess is a sin, but it’s far from being the worst sin in anime, at least these people aren’t lazy) shows up best in the character of Inori.  She’s supposed to be hawt and she’s supposed to be moe.  That is, she’s meant to be super hawt and super moe.  She sings in the show and she sings the opening song, and it doesn’t matter that the voices are utterly different and belong to different women because…What are real human beings to the phenomenon that is Guilty Crown? Nothing but tools.

To me the end of the episode was fascinating.  I mean, this deal with Inori coming to school has been done time and time again, so it isn’t a surprise in itself, but goodness, right here, right now, after all those epic explosions and fanservices and mysteries?  I think the characters of Tengen Toppa sat down at a coffeeshop, ordered double espressos all around and decided to write an anime.  Next episode should be interesting…

Choices and Shadows

I liked the scene where Yu is asked to join the basketball club, and then his new friend Chie tells him to hurry up, and so he turns the invitation down.  This is what the sim game aspect of Persona 4 is all about, and it was handled smoothly here.  I do truly believe that school is similar to these sim games.  I can recall specific moments back in high school when I deliberately chose to “cultivate” my relationship with a particular person or crowd at the expense of another, both because as a kid I didn’t have time to score points with everyone and also because often scoring points with one group meant losing points with another (precisely like how raising your rep with goblins in WoW damages your rep with the buccaneers, and viceversa).  And I was somewhat conscious of this whole process.  Freaky, no?

I love Yu’s oneliners.  They’re precious.  I don’t remember them being in the game…There were quite a few new things cropping up and the good news is that I think the pacing problem is getting fixed.  I found this episode very manageable, even more, I think the anime was able to break out of the mold of the game in order to make things much more exciting.  Consider the battle inside the castle as the guys went after Yukiko.  At one point tons of minions showed up, something the game didn’t have IIRC.  The interaction between Chie’s Shadow and Chie was more engaging here because we could get so many different shots as opposed to the more static conversations in the game.

[BTW, this deal with people’s shadows is super interesting and worthy of some thought.  One might think that the point is for you to face the evil side of you in order to suppress it and even possibly destroy it (since the shadows never show up again).  But the truth is darker I think.  You don’t destroy your shadow, you don’t even suppress it, you transform it into your slave (a Persona) in order to wage battle.  And let’s be frank, fighting and killing people isn’t exactly a good thing.  Even if Yosuke and Chie will go on to use their Personas to fight evil, I don’t think the whole process is an innocent one.  If, say, Chie wanted to use her new Persona to beat up her Mom I’m afraid to say I think the Persona would go along with the plan!  So the lesson might be that a house divided cannot stand, and that rather than having good and evil fight over your soul, or rather than having good trounce evil or evil trounce good, what makes you most powerful is to be able to activate both forces and harness them for your own ends, whichever they may be.]

Now, sadly, there is another (potentially catastrophic) problem and that’s dissension in the ranks of the crew working on this anime.  I do hope that gets fixed, because I think we have a very good show on our hands.

~ by Haloed Bane on October 21, 2011.

21 Responses to “Guilty Crown 02 /// Persona 4 03”

  1. By far the best part of Guilty Crown ep 2 was main dude pulling a weapon out of the enemy’s chest, and so without warning. Other than that the episode was boring and gave me a headache.

    I also like Yu’s one-liners, but I’ve dropped Persona 4 after this episode.

    • I had a bit of a headache, but from all the giggling. So, are you dropping Crown as well?

      As for Persona, I guess you’re doing the right thing. I mean, most episodes from now on will be more or less like this one. If you didn’t like this one, there’s no reason for you to continue.

  2. Unlike digiboy, I hated the resolution of that battle. After all that buildup they just let the hero effectively wave a magic wand and POOF victory!

    That really, really pissed me off.

    What do I have to do to get an actual battle get animated?

    • I’m afraid you’d have to animate it yourself!! It’s obviously not cost-effective for the animators since anime fans seem to be OK with focusing on pretty backgrounds and scrumptious fanservice.

    • FWIW, the villain dude was referred to as “the kaleidoscope” by Gai as soon as Gai knew he was there, and devised his plan around his presence.

  3. I’m rather surprised to hear the random minions popping out of the walls in Persona 4 weren’t in the game. That felt to me like they were trying to force the games attempts to shoehorn gameplay into the story into the anime (confusing wording there). I do like Yu’s one-liners though. The lack of personality makes the delivery of the lines even funnier

    lol guilty crown

    • There were random minions popping up, yes. But there were only 2 or 3 at a time. What was new in the anime was the scene when 20 of them showed up (though they faded away when the Shadow began to attack).

      Yes, Yu’s lack of personality is the key to this comedy. And remember, Yu is the player in the game, and so in a wacky way he doesn’t have a personality because he’s just an empty husk. But he looks cool, though.

  4. Re: the shadow and persona thing, I have some half-knowledge of Jungian psychology to offer: The shadow is the part of your subconscious that is suppressed. The more you suppress it, the bigger it grows. When you discover, explore and accept it, you can use it for your own purposes. Instead of an uncontrollable, unwanted side you have a dark, but more or less controllable side. How that exactly is supposed to turn it from shadow into persona, I have no idea. (Personas are kind of like different masks we put on when talking to different people. That’s why students want to keep their parents and their teachers as far away from each other as possible, for example.)

    • From your description, this is almost textbook Jung then..

      I guess they’re just giving a genetic origin for personas (as really being controlled shadows).

  5. I think the characters of Tengen Toppa sat down at a coffeeshop, ordered double espressos all around and decided to write an anime.

    IMO, the peculiar thing about the end of episode 2 was the protag’s refusal to join forces at the end, which has somehow resulted in Inori attending his school. It’s familiar, but that action by the lead has a different vibe to it when I was expecting he would be like so many other characters and “join the movement.” Although there is so much generic content floating around this story, I am interested to see where this particular relationship with Funeral Parlor goes.

    • It reminded me of Shinji’s defections in Eva, and other stuff I can’t recall now.

      Clearly, Inori has joined his school so he can lure him to join the movement. Expect lots of fanservice, some sappy backstory about how her life depends on him, and then a final commitment to the cause (who could resist a pretty Inori’s tearful plea?). Probably all in one episode.

  6. what’s up with the fan service in Guilty Crown? Fanservice is okay and even expected from shows like Ben-to or C3 but it is not for something that featured in noitaminA. I’m disappointed =(

    • The only noitaminA show I saw to completion was Trapeze, and that had some spectacular fanservice (although it was a very good, intellectually stimulating show). Anyway, I imagine noitaminA will end up becoming just a regular anime outlet, simply because there are more young, moe and/or mecha fans out there to cater to.

  7. Guilty Crown actually managed to make me angry. I found it offensively stupid, from the horrific Engrish OP to the fanservice-operated user interface to the cartoonishly EVÖL villains to that fucking ridiculous “plan” to that abyss of personality that is the MC to THAT ENDING. I don’t think there was a single frame of this episode that didn’t make me want to kill someone. ;__;

    I don’t know, maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe it’s just because it seems so vapid next to Penguindrum. Maybe it’s just because so little else in this season seems worth watching and I put too many expectations on it.

    I’m not even sure I can bring myself to drop it, I’m watching so little. ;__;

    • Well, I’m in the same boat on your last statement. I’m watching very little and I really want to keep at least 2 current shows going. But honestly, if every single frame of this episode made you want to kill someone, I beg you to drop it. We’ve had too many mass killings of late. And for all I know you’re one of my neighbors 😦 Why don’t you watch an old show, one of those people always recommend but you’ve never gotten around to watching?

  8. Yu certainly did show some personality even as a playable protagonist; while the player still chooses responses, your choices are constrained within a fairly consistent range, and characters react to his presence in subtly similar ways and voice opinions about him. Plus, even in the game he displays a pretty consistent sort of body language. All this together builds a consistent, if a little sparse, sketch of his character.

    Compare him with the protagonist from Persona 3, despite being both playable characters, Persona 3’s protagonist feels like a completely different person while still sort of retaining the similar niche of being a reserved, “cool” character.

    Part of me wonders if Persona 4’s breakneck pacing might be because the the script writers want to get into various subplots for the party members (and potentially NPCs, although the basketball team turn-down might rule it out) represented through the game’s Social Link system. It certainly seems like they’d have a lot of time at the rate they are going, and arguably much of the meat of Persona 4’s writing is precisely in those segments.

    • I must confess to never playing Persona 3 or any of the others, but you’re right, “Yu” in the game wasn’t a blank slate altogether.

      I’m looking forward to particular social links being covered, in particular, the part-time jobs🙂 I think the pace right now seems to be determined by the characters’ shadows. One shadow per episode.

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