Please note that I haven’t finished watching Guilty Crown, and would appreciate it if spoilers beyond the halfway point were left out of this discussion. I will probably write another post on Guilty Crown once I do complete it.
Maybe I’m late to the party; 4 years late to be exact, but I’d still like to discuss Ouma Shu. I’ve been watching Guilty Crown (it’s taking me longer than I’d admit), and last night one specific episode resonated with me on a very emotional level. No, I didn’t cry, but for the first time I felt like I understood main character Shu, and the show. While the anime itself is within the action/sci-fi genre, I found certain themes that anyone, having super powers or not, can relate to. Episode 10 portrays depression and human insecurity better than I’ve seen in a long time.
From the start of the show, Ouma Shu seems nothing but another typical anime hero; introverted, traumatised, neglected by his parent(s), and he accidentally acquires the power to fight off evil. Not a great start, especially as Ouma himself doesn’t stand out as an interesting personality. But something happens in episode 10. At first, I rolled my eyes at his freak-out at school; they’re always so dramatic in anime. However, as the episode progressed I understood more about Ouma’s character. His depression finally shines through.
This entire time I’ve been thinking of Guilty Crown simply as a poor copy of Code Geass. It’s in this episode though, that the characters finally show their weaknesses. Ouma Shu doesn’t freak out because someone put it in the script, he freaks out because he’s lost and insecure and unable to deal with life. He admits to having thought he could be like Gai and save everyone. But having been unable to save Jun, he goes back on his belief, and hates himself for it. His confidence drops down again and he’s back to square one: back to feeling insignificant.
Shu’s line: “I never wanted this stupid power in the first place!” strikes me as a euphemism for life itself. Shu never asked to be born, and therefore feels like the world is unfair to him. It’s something many depressed people can relate to. Consequently, Shu reaches out to the only person he’s sure of likes him, his classmate Hare. A last attempt at making sure he’s loved at least by someone. It’s a simple but powerful scene, because everyone desires love, even from people they don’t necessarily love back. What Shu needs more than anything in this moment, is support, especially since everyone else have left him (Gai, Inori, his parents). Hare’s rejection is a great example of a female character who can think for herself, but that’s a topic for a different post.
Lastly, not only to we get insight to what’s going on in Shu’s mind, but also other characters. Gai, who Shu believes to be the strong and ultimate alpha male, shows his weak points too: he suffers and knows he may not be able to fight much longer. Additionally, Gai admits defeat to Shu, ironically enough, over having lost Inori as she’s gradually fallen in love for with the protagonist instead. Inori herself, the beautiful, strong, and successful girl, is hurt by mere words that Shu throws at her. We also know Ayase’s troubles: she’s trapped in a wheelchair, but refuses to accept assistance from anyone. On top of this she’s also in love, unrequited feelings that follow her around.
Everyone has something that no one else can see. Everyone suffers from insecurities, even the minor characters than no one pays much attention to. Guilty Crown’s episode 10 shows this in such a real, relatable way, that it’s probably worth watching just for those twenty minutes.