AnimeAnime Reviews

Anime Review | Guilty Crown

7

I will admit: I was a little skeptical on the thought of reviewing this show, mainly because of the mixed opinions surrounding it. Being an anime that garnered quite a lot of hype, one may expect this anime to be a “MASTERPIECE” or “THE GREATEST ANIME EVER TO BE CREATED IN THE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RACE”, which, to me, isn’t really the most truthful statement I’ve ever heard in my lifetime. The problem is that I know that there will be a nice chunk of the fan base that would gladly look up my address on Facebook and exterminate me if I said anything, even the SLIGHTEST thing, against this show that they adore so much. However, now, I am prepared, and I don’t mean the “I-Have-A-Bazooka-That-Shoots-Lightsabers-That-Can-Transform-Into-A-Fighter-Jet”-kind of prepared. I mean that I now know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it fairly and to the best of my abilities. And when is a better time to express my thoughts than now.

Today, the 2011 science-fantasy anime: Guilty Crown. Here we go. Let me get myself ready first……………………………………………………………………………………………OKAY, shall we begin?

Overview:

Guilty Crown aired during the Fall and Winter seasons of 2011 and is under the action, romance, and science-fantasy genre. A 22-episode anime directed by Tetsuro Araki (famous for directing High School of the Dead, Death Note, and, more recently, Attack on Titan) and written by Ichiro Okouchi and Hiroyuki Yoshino (writers for Code Geass and Code Geass: R2), Guilty Crown had a lot of things going for it. Oh, I forgot to mention that it was produced and animated by Production I.G., who produced works such as the Ghost in the Shell series and Eden of the East. Add that to the list of things that affect this anime’s hype level. Now, the million-dollar question is: does it live up to its hype? Well, you’ll find out soon enough. Allons-y? (SORRY, SORRY, COULDN’T RESIST)

Plot: 6/10

DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT. STAHP IT.

December 24, 2029. That was the day when the “Apocalypse Virus” spread throughout Japan, causing the nation and its citizens to deteriorate into chaos. Japan asked the United Nations for help, and what they got was the GHQ, a governmental organization that, while were able to contain the chaos, took away Japan’s independence. Years later, average teenage high-school student (surprise!), Ouma Shu, encounters a wounded girl named Inori Yuzuriha, who is actually the vocalist of a famous pop group on the Internet: EGOIST. After Inori gets captured by the GHQ for being involved in acts of terrorism with a group called Funeral Parlor, Shu encounters the leader of said group, Gai Tsutsugami. Along with Funeral Parlor, Shu runs off to Ruppongi, where the GHQ is looking for the vial that Gai entrusted Shu to. The vial shatters as Shu rescues Inori, releasing the Void Genome within the vial and granting him the “Power of the Kings”, an ability that allows the user to extract “Voids” (weapons that are physical manifestations of a person’s psyche) from people. The Funeral Parlor then utilizes Shu and his abilities in their fight against the GHQ and towards the freedom of Japan and its people.

Now, all of these sounds really interesting, and indeed it is. However, it is not without its faults. Oh no, definitely. One of the problems is Guilty Crown’s execution. The entire focus of the plot for the first half of the series shifted during the second half, something that can throw most viewers off, as it makes both halves seem independent. The transition from these two halves isn’t the best, as it seems that the beginning of the second half took a few steps back with a new plot focus. The story itself is cliché (see Code Geass), some of the plot holes are huge enough to throw an entire Dalek army in (one word: Inori), the characters’ actions don’t operate on much logic (they take Student Council elections really seriously), and unexplainable stuff just happens out of thin air (heck, an ancient organization was involved). Above all, THEY DON’T EXPLAIN MUCH.

Okay, hang on, need to relax…………………breath in……………….breath out……………………..alrighty, I’m fine now.

Now, are there any merits at all? Why, yes, yes there are. At the very least, the plot is, most of the time, enjoyable. Although it is cliché, the story has enough merits for it to be interesting and amusing. The plot twists, although some may just fly past your head, were, at the very least, surprising and succeeded in providing suspense. Truth be told, all of these factors ended up making me marathon the show, so it’s not THAT bad. For me, at least.

               …………….I don’t even know how to react to this………………..

Characters: 7/10

I’ll be direct: if Guilty Crown’s character aspect went to university, it would be a Christmas grad, although they do have a fair chance of enrolling again. What I meant to say was that the characters for GC aren’t the best parts of the show. Character tropes and under-development for most characters are abundant, there was little to no proper back-story (therefore, we can’t sympathize with them as much), and there weren’t any real motives for some of the character’s actions.

What I do commend is how some characters develop over the course of the series. This is mostly seen in Shu. You really get to understand why he changes and what motivates him to act the way he acts. Inori and Gai also undergo some development, though not nearly as much as Shu. Another commendable factor is the character interactions that occur throughout GC. The interactions between the main characters and supporting characters were interesting to watch and I really got a sense of kinship between them, thus, you get to feel for them when, oh I don’t know, something tragic happens <SPOILERS>.

                            Basically how every loyal fanboy of Guilty Crown feels about me at this point…

Sound: 10/10

THERE IT IS! THE MAGIC 10! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

THIS is the part where I can cut loose a HUGE majority of praise for Guilty Crown. First off, the voice acting was well-done. With voice acting done by the likes of Yuki Kaji and Yuichi Nakamura, the characters were definitely brought to life and were more interesting than they could’ve been. Then, there’s the soundtrack. THE SOUNDTRACK. A combination of rock and techno, the soundtrack, composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, definitely enhanced the action-packed nature of the show. Oh, and did I mention that the singing is MAJESTIC? A lot of songs from the soundtrack are what made the epic moments, well, EPIC, and the dramatic moments even more memorable.

And let’s not forget about the opening and ending songs, specifically, the first opening and ending. EARCANDY is one of the words that I use to describe the first opening (“My Dearest”) and first ending (“Departures”). The opening songs really get you pumped up for the show, while the ending themes provide emotional release: a great way to start off and end a big show such as Guilty Crown. Oh, the sleepless nights I spent listening to this show’s OP and ED themes…

Animation: 9/10

Of course, from the people who animated the Ghost in the Shell series, we expect nothing but excellence from Production I.G. Thankfully, they met my expectations. The actions scenes for GC are fluid and beeaaauuuutifully crafted, movements and background sceneries were well-modeled, and the lighting was appropriate, serene, and adds to the overall beauty of the show, especially its certain moments of action or drama. Really, the only thing I would nit-pick on is the character designs for some of the minor characters and even some major ones, but it doesn’t override the awesome-sauce animation. Nooooooooo sir.

 Proper lighting is vital. Pretty pink-haired singers are optional. Broken glass fragments…not so much. But it helps in this case.

Enjoyment: 9/10

After all that’s said and done, I can say, with pride and dignity, that Guilty Crown ranks as one of my favorite anime. YES, I SAID IT. The story got me immersed in the show. The animation was a feast for the eyes. I loved Inori before Shu loved her. THE SOUNDTRACK GAVE ME EARGASMS. How can I not like this show? Granted, I watched this before I had a critical mindset towards anime, but still, even with this mindset of mine, I still enjoy Guilty Crown, maybe not for its not-so-perfect story, but definitely for the entertainment piece that it is, and I have learned to appreciate that.

Afterword:

In essence, Guilty Crown is full of flaws. It has a good premise, but lost quite a bit of its luster towards the middle, before finally collapsing into a black hole towards the end (seriously, the ending was WTF for me). People who are super-smart and super-critical when it comes to all things anime may not enjoy this show, and a lot of them really don’t; a lot of them hate it. But you know what, to me, it doesn’t matter. Sure, you can have bad characters and a cliché plot and plot holes the size of the state of California, BUT IF YOU CAN ENJOY IT, then that’s all that matters, no? No? Well, I tried. Guilty Crown gets a 50/50 recommendation from me: watch it when you feel like watching something action-packed to entertain you, but if you watch it for the plot AND ONLY for the plot, theeeeeeen you’re gonna have a pretty bad time.

I hereby award Guilty Crown with an overall average score of 8 Youtube Singing Sensations out of 10

And you said she doesn’t show any emotions 😉

As per usual, leave a comment down below pertaining to your thoughts on this review, on the show itself, or if you would like me to review anything.  And, speaking of liking, give the review a thumbs-up if you enjoyed it.  With that, until next time, this has been DividebyZer0, and I’ll see you guys in the future.

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7 Comments

  1. I have watched half of the series thus far and I would describe it as okay. Not great, but not terrible. The animation is indeed good, but in terms of story and characters I was expecting something less generic given how many talented people worked on the show.

    1. Indeed ^^ But you should finish it, nonetheless ^__^

      1. I will. I just have to wait for it to get released in the UK. They released volume one, but for whatever reason are making us wait a few months for the second half.

        1. Ahh, i see ^^ oh well, good things come to those who wait, they say ^__^

  2. Here I was thinking you were going to bash this for being a terrible, atrocious, and utterly disgraceful anime but I’m pleasantly surprised to see that you did enjoy it. Even as a person who really liked Guilty Crown, I can definitely understand your criticisms. But I’ll be honest, I didn’t even KNOW there were huge Guilty Crown fans, I’ve been under the impression that almost the entire internet hated it. Back when I watched it I went into it expecting something terrible with all the anti-hype, and for a while I dismissed it BECAUSE of that. Turns out that was a really stupid idea because I ended up having a blast and I really enjoyed it in the end, regardless of how much other people I know may despise it. But really, if there are more big Guilty Crown fans I’d really like to meet them. It’s like there’s a terrible shortage of them, sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who genuinely liked the series. =C

    Anywho, the plot didn’t get to completely flesh everything out on the level of the scale it presented, and quite a bit was indeed unexplained, but I found it all very engaging. I found Guilty Crown entertaining pretty much the whole time, and even though there really wasn’t much of a defined purpose throughout the whole thing, I really liked seeing how things played out and GC was certainly an exciting watch for me. It’s the type of thing you watch for the thrill factor, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel that.

    The characters, well, they’re a bit of a mixed bag I suppose. But first and foremost, contrary to what most of the internet thinks, I really do think Shu is a solid character. I feel like a lot of the hate directed toward him is generated by the widely accepted dislike toward the wimpy, beta male protagonists in anime, and while they may be understandable in some cases, I can’t understand why it’s so strong with Shu. I think it’s understandable to react as he did in his circumstances for the most part. Another thing I feel the need to comment on is Shu’s development about halfway into the story. Don’t wanna give spoilers, but I’ve heard people describe Shu’s development as going from wimp to Hitler to Jesus, which I personally feel is one of the most dumbed down, exaggerated descriptions of development I’ve ever seen. I strongly disagree with the people who say that because (having seen something similar happen with Lelouch in Code Geass) it felt VERY reasonable to me how he reacted in response to a certain incident that dramatically shifted his character, and I’d like to believe that Shu’s personality was easy to understand but some of the things I’ve heard people say make me wonder if I’m just an idiot or if other people seriously just didn’t get it.

    Er, I’ve gone on a lot about Shu so I’ll stop there. As for Inori, I felt her character was indeed quite inconsistent and I couldn’t become attached to her so much as a result. I was pretty fond of Gai, he was pretty much the badass of the series before Shu began to develop and I thought he was a part of some of the more interesting twists. And I have a lot of love for Ayase, who has pretty much everything going for her (badass in spite of disabilities, Kana Hanazawa voice, mecha pilot, awesome character design, etc.) and I really do think she was quite a nice character, even if she wasn’t developed to the fullest. I quite liked Hare too, she reminded me of Shirley from Code Geass (who I am also very fond of).

    And not much needs to be said about the music and visuals. Even the people I’ve seen who utterly despised the series can’t deny that Guilty Crown looks and sounds beautiful. The production values are glorious and the character designs are amazing, it’d be a lie to say this series isn’t eye-candy. And the music really is breathtaking, Bios really does amp the epicness when it plays and I loved both of the openings a lot.

    I think for me, the moral of the story here is to accept a story for what it is and just enjoy it regardless of what other people say. The more I think back on it, the harder it is for me to defend GC’s plot and characters as a whole. I wouldn’t call them bad personally (and I would strongly disagree with anyone who says GC is the worst series out there, or even close to it), but they’re far from ideal and I do admit that GC did have potential to be more than what it was in the end. Despite it all, I absolutely loved watching this series and I had no regrets in the end. GC (and to a lesser extent, Star Driver) was one of the biggest examples showing me it’s best to just disregard all the negativity everyone else had to say and find the good in a series. I’d like to think I have good reasons for liking the series I do, but if I become so obsessed with criticism and the like, how will I have room to enjoy things? And god forbid getting sucked into the realm of “objective” criticism, things like that really do disgust me and are only stronger motivation to embrace my fondness for series like GC.

    So I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed GC enough for it to be a favorite. I wouldn’t call it a favorite personally, but I liked it enough to give it a 9/10, and compared to all the insults toward this series I’d heard about prior to watching it, that’s pretty damn good I’d say.

    1. Hooray for KanaHana!

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