Japan, 2039. Ten years after the outbreak of the "Apocalypse Virus," an event solemnly regarded as "Lost Christmas," the once proud nation has fallen under the rule of the GHQ, an independent military force dedicated to restoring order. Funeral Parlor, a guerilla group led by the infamous Gai Tsutsugami, act as freedom fighters, offering the only resistance to GHQ's cruel despotism.
Inori Yuzuriha, a key member of Funeral Parlor, runs into the weak and unsociable Shuu Ouma during a crucial operation, which results in him obtaining the "Power of Kings"—an ability which allows the wielder to draw out the manifestations of an individual's personality, or "voids." Now an unwilling participant in the struggle against GHQ, Shuu must learn to control his newfound power if he is to help take back Japan once and for all.
Guilty Crown follows the action-packed story of a young high school student who is dragged into a war, possessing an ability that will help him uncover the secrets of the GHQ, Funeral Parlor, and Lost Christmas. However, he will soon learn that the truth comes at a far greater price than he could have ever imagined.
The first two episodes of Guilty Crown were screened at the New York Anime Festival on October 15, 2011. The screening of the second episode was a world premiere as the episode did not air in Japan until October 20, 2011.
#1: "Euterpe" by EGOIST; produced by supercell; performed by Chelly (ep 1) #2: "My Dearest" by supercell; performed by Koeda (eps 2-12) #3: "The Everlasting Guilty Crown" by EGOIST; produced by supercell; performed by Chelly (eps 13-22)
#1: "Departures ~Anata ni Okuru Ai no Uta~ (Departures ~あなたにおくるアイの歌~)" by EGOIST; produced by supercell; performed by Chelly (eps 1-12, 22) #2: "Kokuhaku (告白)" by supercell; performed by Koeda (eps 13-21)
Many people are aware of the financial problems faced by the anime industry, and one of the methods that studios have adopted over recent years to try to shore up their crumbling foundations is to adapt popular manga, games, and more recently, Western comics. This approach has become a tried and tested moneymaking endeavour for the majority of studios, but in many cases this is simply due the fact that the source material caters to the lowest common denominator - which usually means fanservice. Unfortunately, the relative success of these shows have allowed them to become the norm rather than the exception, and with that
comes a number of problems.
The sad fact is that while it's okay to find inspiration from other sources, the industry has become so used to the adaptation that studios and writers find it difficult to produce work that could be considered "original". Instead, what passes for a unique story tends to be nothing more than a collection of concepts and ideas from other tales that are thrown together in the vain hope that people will rush to buy the end product because ... well, because someone tells them to.
But rather than dwelling on such things, let's take a look at Guilty Crown.
Set in Tokyo in the year 2039, a decade has passed since a mysterious outbreak known as the "Apocalypse Virus" killed thousands of people and brought Japan to its knees - a disaster that would later be called "Lost Christmas". Since that time Japan has lost its independence, and has become a martial state governed by an international organisation known as GHQ. The story opens with a pink-haired girl and a small robot escaping from a futuristic-looking facility, but security forces injure and corner her until she falls off a bridge. The next morning is just like any other day for highschool student Ouma Shu, an awkward young man who is a fan of the pop-group Egoist, whose lead singer just happens to be a waif-like girl with pink hair.
And then everything gets ... weird.
Guilty Crown is a bit of an odd duck as it attempts to blend several disparate themes, but doesn't quite manage to finish the job. The plot has clearly been influenced by several popular franchises - which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the execution is where the writers have let themselves down. The narrative is often disjointed, and many events in the storyline appear to have no logic behind them other than to put Shu through an emotional wringer. In addition to this, the writers appear to have taken a rather nonchalant approach to reasoning and rationale, one example of which is how GHQ's repeated massacres are never covered by any sort of media outlet. This seemingly lackadaisical attitude is apparent in several areas of the plot - which is littered with "coincidences" - and these cause the narrative to have a mechanical feeling. In many ways it's almost as if the story was nothing more than a collection of bits that would apparently appeal to the largest number of people.
Aside from the inclusion of numerous well-known aspects that have clearly been transplanted from other popular stories and the "plot-by-numbers" approach, Guilty Crown also suffers from the rather obvious idea that most adults are evil and only kids are able to save the world. That said, the series does have some good points, in particular the way it attempts to recreate a situation similar to that found in "Lord of the Flies" by putting all of the students in one place and imposing self-rule. There are other, similarly dark influences that add a veneer of maturity to proceedings, but sadly these aren't enough to support the inherent weaknesses in the narrative - the main one being the decision to make yet another school-based anime.
In terms of production quality, Guilty Crown is arguably up there with some of the better shows of recent years, but the sometimes stunning visuals and effects are tempered by a few issues that may initially appear to minor, but in actuality are representative of the mentality of the show's creators. It's obvious that a great deal of thought has gone into the background artwork and set designs, but the same isn't true of the characters. For the most part they look good, but the decision to feature highschool students places an immediate limitation that becomes obvious when one considers the variety of features and body shapes found amongst the adults.
The problem lies in the fact that the design of the younger roles includes an element of stereotype in order to impart a degree of familiarity - thereby making the show more accessible to people. It's an old marketing trick that has become a staple of the anime industry over the years, and while Guilty Crown has tried to be a little bit more subtle than most in its usage, one does have to question the logic behind Tsugumi. A cat-eared tsundere loli wearing what is effectively a plug suit (and a maid costume later on), only serves to highlight the thought processes of the show's creators.
Thankfully Production I.G. maintain their standards when it comes to the animation, and the series is littered with flowing, well choreographed action scenes. The characters are well-balanced in their movements, and a degree of care has been taken with those that are injured, disabled, or suffer from an affliction.
Like many anime that run for over twenty episodes, Guilty Crown features two opening and ending sequences - each with an original track written by Supercell. The first OP is a rather dizzying blend of effects, character montages and action scenes while the song "My Dearest" - a suitably fast paced and dramatic pop song performed by Koeda - sets the tone for the series. "The Everlasting Guilty Crown" performed by the fictional band Egoist is the track of choice for the second opening sequence, but while the artwork and design ethic have clearly shifted to promote a bittersweet atmosphere, the actual content is much the same as that of the first OP. Egoist also perform the melancholy ballad "Departures ~Anata ni Okuru Ai no Uta~" for the first ending sequence, which features Ouma Shu and Yuzuriha Inori walking away from each other against a backdrop of character art and effects. The second ED contains a mixture of video footage of landscape speeding by, scenes from the series and a few still images of the school environs that are "projected" onto a screen behind Inori and Shu as they decide to run - all while Koeda performs the rather upbeat rock song "Kokuhaku"
Which brings up one small issue.
Although it's true that some thought has gone into the composition of the opening sequences and that they are very well choreographed, both also feature overt plot spoilers. Now this does happen in other anime, but in general there are efforts to avoid such things occurring - which doesn't appear to be the case with Guilty Crown.
Aside from that minor niggle, the high production standards are also reflected in the quality of the music and audio effects. Sawano Hiroyuki has taken care to ensure that the background pieces are varied and suitably dramatic where necessary. The wide range of sounds and noises are clear and distinct, and the audio/visual choreography shows just how much effort has been made to produce a show that looks and sounds great.
Unfortunately the same can't be said of the actual dialogue.
Now while it's true that Guilty Crown features a range of characters and personality types, for some reason the decision was made to revert to old anime stereotypes and then write justifications into the storyline. The script is littered with monologues, diatribes, conversations and arguments that would grace any show where the "hero" has to lead his people to salvation whilst fighting against the enemy and his inner demons, forming a pseudo-harem along the way, and showing the world just how much of a tragic-yet-heroic figure he is. Thankfully the actors are more than capable, but no matter how good their skills are, prosaic and formulaic dialogue will always be just that.
As for the characters themselves, Ouma Shu is the kind of leading man who can be found in a number of other titles - quiet, reserved, doesn't have many friends, and a bit of a loser - and therein lies the problem. The writers have taken great pains to try to show him as a "human" more than anything else, but in their efforts to promote Shu as the tragic hero, they've ignored one of the most basic rules of characterisation.
In other words, Shu has no personality whatsoever - even at the end of the series when all his "suffering" is over.
It's this apparent inability to develop the characters in any meaningful way that makes them appear as nothing more than inane, and the lack of any real growth means that everyone pretty much ends the series having learned very little (aside from maybe Daryl). In addition to this there's an element of ridiculousness to the choice of characters, the prime example being Yuzuriha Inori (although Tsugumi does come a close second). One has to wonder what chemically induced delusion could have persuaded the show's creators that having the lead singer of a hugely popular band stealing from the enemy in the opening scenes while wearing her stage outfit was a good idea.
Apparently students can recognise her even though she's wearing a school uniform, but soldiers and officers of the military forces controlling Japan have no idea who she is since pink-haired girls wearing fluttery costumes are a dime a dozen in Japan.
Guilty Crown is one of those anime that can only truly be enjoyed if you have never watched any of the titles that it takes its inspirations from - and that becomes a problem if one has watched, and enjoyed, most of them. The main issue is that there are several character types and plot elements that are better used in their original anime, so their inclusion here makes them stand out in less than flattering ways.
The real problem with Guilty Crown though, is the element of arrogance that is prevalent throughout the series, and this comes solely from the show's creators. The basic premise of Guilty Crown is perfectly fine, but everyone from the director and series composers to the producers have assumed that the "anime-by-numbers" approach that they have so clearly used here is enough to make a hit franchise. There appears to have been a major assumption that the audience will swallow the whole thing without automatically referencing other shows that they may have watched, and that's where everything begins to fall apart.
Storytelling is, after all, an art form, and a good writer can captivate their audience without overtly referencing where there inspiration came from. Unfortunately the folks behind Guilty Crown appear to have forgotten this simple fact, and it leaves one with the sad realisation that this anime had the potential to be so much more than it is.
With the large amount of Guilty Crown reviews going around lately, It wouldn't be too hard to find a 'decent' review, right? well that's not the case at all, It seems that most of the reviews are either written by blind fan-boys/fan-girls or haters, 10's,9's,4's and 3's seem to be the popular choice of overall rating, though looking at Guilty Crown in a balance way, this anime definitely deserves a 7 and I'll explain why in the next couple of paragraphs which will you most likely will flick through.
= Story (3) =
If you have been watching Guilty Crown or have seen some of the rantings
on the forums, you would know that the story is filled with cliché's and awful execution (for the most part anyway), So I won't go that in-depth to the story, basically just think of it as a mecha-action-supernatural-apocalyptic-drama-comedy-Sci Fi-romance-school-fan service super show.
In other words, Shu (Shuu), your average 16-year-old guy living in a future version of Tokyo get's himself wrapped up in the activities of terrorist group defying the government called Funeral Parlour, he meets the leader Gai, find's out his favourite singer is a member of the group and that the government is corrupt blah blah blah
= Art (10) =
If there's one thing that no one can complain about, I'd say it's the art. Every episode looks of cinematic quality and the character designs are well down as you'd expect from Production I.G and Redjuice (supercell). If there is one thing to fault about the art, I believe it's the design of the apocalypse virus, It just doesn't look like some deadly disease that someone would be afraid of, though that doesn't really matter.
= Sound (9) =
Sound is also a great part of Guilty Crown, the insert music and the OST is brilliant, the first OP 'Euterpe' was only used in the first episode which was disappointing since the second OP which lasted for 11 episodes wasn't hardly as good. The best OP in my opinion and one of my favourite anime openings is the third and last one 'The Everlasting Guilty Crown', It seriously made the other two seem like crap in comparison.
= Character (7.5) =
7.5? That's not even an score according to MAL is what you might say though that's really the only score I can give it, The characters and their developments weren't very good though they weren't just good either, sort of in-between.
The problem with the characters is that they introduced too many too fast, there wasn't really any-time to grow attached to them or even remember some of them at all. You didn't know which ones were supposed to be Minor or Main characters or just background ones in most of the first half.
Another problem was the likeability of the main characters in most of the FIRST HALF, Shu just sit's around most of the time, being a indecisive, annoying loser. Gai was just emotionless (for the most part) and all Inori could do was use the power of singing(?), provide fan-service and dodge (she might of shot a gun once) but that's it.
Though, (without spoiling anything) In the second half, the main characters had great development.
= Enjoyment (7) =
Enjoyment levels really depend on how serious you take Guilty Crown, don't go into the series expecting a masterpiece because you will most definitely be disappointed and hating on it. Though if you are a simple person (no offence) and just like your anime with ton's of great looking action scenes and a little bit of everything rolled in one (even if the result is total mess) then you will obviously enjoy the series a lot more.
= Overall (7) =
Overall, Guilty Crown is definitely not a masterpiece, though it does NOT deserve the crap reputation it gets, sure the story becomes screwed up beyond repair with the can of cliché's they sprung at you each episode and the character development doesn't really start until halfway through the series, what really matters at the end of the day is how much the viewer enjoys the anime, people will hate, like or love GC and that's their opinion just as this review gives my opinion, I don't really care about the 'helpful' or 'not helpful' clicks, as long as my review isn't buried so deep that it can't be of at least some help to the many users who are looking for a new anime to enjoy, and that's the whole point of reviews, to help people decide whether a anime would be to their liking or not.
Cliches. What anime nowadays doesn't have cliched moments? In my opinion, using cliches isn't that bad. That is, when it's not overdone and poorly used.
Guilty Crown is the perfect example of an interesting premise going wrong. It is a very formulatic show : following every damn cliches in anime history. It seems Production I.G tried really hard to make something revolutionary. It is revolutionary ; this anime completely changed my opinion of what a poorly written plot is. And not only the plot, the characters are mostly one-dimensional, and some of them bipolar.
First of all, the story is just plain uninteresting. It's mostly a mash-up
of every cliches the team behind the production could find. I mean, couldn't they come up with something more original than the usual "boy meets girl who grants him power. (Actually, she carries the power, but it's pretty much the same thing.)" And then, the main character, Shu, joins some resistance team to go against the government. This sounds fine and all, but we've never got to know the motive of the resistance group. Why did they go against the government? What was the point, exactly? Especially after the first half of the show, it seems like the resistance group thing was dropped because I.G ran out of ideas and tried to take another direction. Now, we're presented with some episode trying to be overly symbolic a la Neon Genesis Evangelion, but it failed epicly. Not only was the whole thing pulled out of nowhere, it transitioned to the worst part of the story. Let me remind you, the beginning of the anime was about a corrupt government abusing their powers; a problem on a national scale. In the second half, it's about a school (with no teachers apparently) in crisis, trying to escape the zone they're isolated in, or they'll die. It's hard to take a show seriously when it takes another direction that is completely different, in a bad way. Overall, the story did not satisfy me, and I really doubt the remaining episodes will do Guilty Crown justice.
I find it very ironic that some episodes are rushed, yet I.G still managed to pull off a BEACH episode in a supposedly "serious" plot. Atleast perverts got what they wanted.
Now, let's talk about the so called "void" power Shu has. The power itself is very interesting, I mean, extracting weapons and tools out of a person's body, and the tool/weapon representing their personality, who thought of that? The problem is that the power is FILLED with inconsistencies. Let me begin with how the power is convenient, up until the second half of the anime, every tool/weapon Shu would draw in a difficult situation would be JUST THE RIGHT THING to deal with it. Every time Shu would draw out a void, it could be convenient for the situation and would get him out of that difficult situation easily. That is the perfect example of what a deus ex machina is, used in a bad way. Of course, Gai has the power to see people's void. How did he get that power? No one knows. It just sounds like a convenient excuse used as a plot device because the writers have no idea how to make a progress a plot correctly. The second inconsistency is people fainting from void extraction. Basically, when a void is extracted out of a person's body, they faint out of "shock". Now for the inconsistency, sometimes people faint, sometimes they don't. There is NO explanation as to why they sometimes do and don't. I heard some people claim that when Shu held someone's hand while having their void extracted, it would prevent them from fainting, but I do remember times where he held their hand and they fainted anyway. It seems like the power wasn't explained because what if the writers run out of ideas again? They'd probably add another unforeshadowed element to voids and we, as watchers, will be forced to accept it.
Also, why the fuck can Shu only extract voids from people under 17 years old?
To go back to the one-dimensional characters, I believe Shu and Inori are the WORST PROTAGONISTS to EVER exist. To this day, I still laugh at the interview where I.G claimed that they wanted Shu to be the new Shinji Ikari.
Hahahahahahahahahahaha.... Are you fucking kidding me? Shu is just your average pussy character that doesn't want to hurt people, even though they are killing without remorse and hesitation. I.G tried to make a character full of flaws with no real strength. They succeeded, but no way in hell is that close to be a realistic character. It's not that he doesn't want to hurt people, he's just scared. What a lame protagonist, right? Never once does he really change, his personality is and always be that of the average useless main character. And in the second half of the show, his personality takes a sudden 180. I'm sorry, I.G, but people don't instantly change like that, this character is a complete joke.
Inori, on the other hand, has no personality. Or too many. She behaves in a different way in every episode, it's really strange. At first, she completely depends on Gai, but suddenly decides to switch to Shu. I don't understand exactly why she's so dependent on people, since we've almost never seen her take a decision herself.
I won't continue talking about characters because honestly... I have no clue about them and their motives or whatever. Especially the "villains".
I.G can be praised for two things about Guilty Crown. First the animation and art, done by Redjuice, are excellent. The animation is realistic, with a somewhat dark mood attached to it. In my opinion, it's pretty solid, very fluid, I don't remember seeing many repeated frames, and animation quality was consistent in every episode. Still, the style itself is pretty generic and isn't memorable. Same thing applies to the background animation. The details are amazing, I.G really did put a lot of work into the animation. (I wish they had done the same thing with the story.) Personally, I really liked the metal-like effect when a void is being extracted. It's pretty cool.
Music is quite good. I personaly really like the second opening by EGOIST, which is essentially supercell. The animation of the opening sequences are well done, although the moments in the anime don't really seem to happen in the story. The background music is also very fitting and helps deliver the mood of the show.
In the end, do I enjoy Guilty Crown? Yes. Guilty Crown is a very enjoyable anime, there are a lot of action scenes, animation is amazing and so is the music. Story is still terrible though.
...What the hell did I just watch? Th-This can't be right. There is absolutely no way that the stinking pile of garbage I just somehow managed to sit through can be the ultra-hyped, widely beloved anime I've been hearing about. Guilty Crown has single handedly made me lose my faith in the anime community's ability to know what is good and what isn't. To say that this series is overrated would be a massive understatement. The only thing I could do while watching it was scratch my head and wonder why the hell this show is so popular. Sure the animation is fluent
and the soundtrack is great, but that is NO excuse for the absolutely, disgracefully, humiliatingly bad writing that takes place in this anime. I've never seen a show with such an uncountable amount of plotholes and such worthless, pathetic, uninteresting characters. If you fed your dog some spoiled Mexican food and waited about an hour, the resulting pile of repulsive excrement would be reminiscent of Guilty Crown's script, and no amount of production value can change that fact.
Synopsis: In the year 2029, a virus known as the apocalypse virus outbreaks on a day that became known as "Lost Christmas" (Don't ask me why it's called the "apocalypse" virus, because the world clearly did not end. In fact, it seems to have barely effected society at all, but I digress...). The story takes place in the year 2039, ten years later, and stars a self-loathing little crybaby named Shu, but more on him later. Through coincidence, Shu gains the ability to pull "voids" out of other people. I won't explain what voids are, but basically its the story of a high school student who gets special powers. Shu then becomes involved with terrorist group called Funeral Parlor who are plotting to bring down the government.
This might be the worst plot in any TV show I've ever seen. Not just anime, but ANY TV show. That's how terrible it is. It had an intriguing (yet unoriginal) premise, but you know what doomed it? Plotholes. Plotholes plotholes plotholes plotholes plotholes plotholes plotholes. Guilty Crown's plot has more holes then a damn Swiss cheese factory, and it UNBEARABLE to watch! They just throw shit at the wall to see what sticks (Hint: Nothing sticks)! They contradict themselves on numerous occasions, rely on ridiculously and unacceptably over-convenient plot elements, and they never explain key plot events that are essential to grasping the story-line! I can't elaborate without spoilers, but if you are a competent human being with a functioning brain, overlooking these gaping plotholes is unfathomable, and it's all capped off with the absolute WORST written romance I've ever had the misfortune of sitting though. More on that later.
Oh, and I haven't mentioned the abysmal pacing yet, have I? The first half of the anime is the same thing every single damn episode; Shu and his terrorist group go on a mission, Shu uses his super-special powers, Shu has romantic troubles, Shu feels sorry for himself, rinse and repeat. Nothing happens. The second half is the opposite: a shit-ton of ridiculousness is all crammed into a few episodes with out ever slowing down or taking to time to explain what the hell is going on. Sure, they explain some of the things that happened in the first half, but nothing about what is currently happening! The pacing is just another aspect of the horrible writing of the show.
Guilty Crown has great, fluent animation, but doesn't live up to it's full potential. The action scenes are all very generic and refuse to even attempt to do something new or different, which is a disappointment. Still, great animation.
Definitely the highlight of the anime; in fact, this is one of my all time favorite soundtracks in anime history. Good thing too, because I might have gone insane otherwise. The first opening kicks ass and I was pissed when they subbed it out for a 2nd opening that wasn't half as good midway through, but the 1st opening is really the only thing that kept me watching the anime through the boring and repetitive first half of the show. The endings and OSTs are also absolutely killer.
There is not a single consistent character to be found in Guilty Crown. Every major character is a jumbled mess of traits and emotions that don't even go together. They are all completely incoherent.
If you took every stereotype of a main character and tried to combine all of them into one, the disaster that would result would be named Shu; the protagonist of Guilty Crown. Where do I even begin with him? The entire first half of this anime consists of Shu crying like a little bitch about absolutely nothing. Seriously, there is nothing wrong with this guy's life. He gets special powers, an attractive girl starts living with him to protect him, and a group of rebels fighting for a noble cause takes him in and make him one of their own. But WAHHHHHH, wittle baby Shu can't get Inori to suck his dick after the first month that they've known each other, and WAHHHHHH, wittle Shu wishes he had even more friends than he does already! He is a self-loathing little wimp who cries about EVERYTHING for a solid 14 episodes, but then he undergoes a sudden change with no buildup whatsoever at that point. Suddenly, for the most stupid and overly convenient reasons imaginable, Shu is now a completely different character. Now, this is the part that just made me laugh uncontrollably: They try to turn Shu into a badass. They go way over the top and act like Shu is now the scariest, badest mother-fucker in the whole damn world, and it fails more miserably then you can imagine. The show tries to convince you that Shu is a selfless individual who has never cared about himself throughout the entire show; only others..... WHAT??? Remember the first half of the anime?? All he cared about was himself! He was the exact opposite of selfless! And now we have Inori falling in love with him because of how selfless he has been! Absolutely pathetic!
Oh, and that brings us to Inori; the love interest. Ohhhh boy. FUCK Inori. Besides the fact that they drop a huge bombshell about her toward the end that makes Shu and Inori's relationship COMPLETELY fucked up, that's not even mentioning how inept and inexcusable the execution of her character is. Inori has about as much personality as a ham sandwich. She is so insufferably boring that to say I never got emotionally invested in her is an understatement; I was rooting for her to die just so she would stop wasting so much damn screen time. But, occasionally, for no reason what so ever, she will take on traits that are convenient for the plot to advance. She's like a Ditto from Pokemon; she can can morph into whatever the hell you want her to. Inori is considered the postergirl of this series and fans of the show absolutely adore her. For the life of me, I can't figure out why! She might as well have been pair of singing, floating boobs, because this is one of the worst characters in anime history. Guilty Crown, I fucking hate you SO much for creating this monstrosity. Burn in anime hell for what you've done.
If ever there was a physical embodiment of everything wrong with the modern anime industry, including the willingness of its fans to eat up lazy and uninspired pieces of dog shit that are objectively terrible, Guilty Crown is that embodiment. Why the HELL do people like this show? Only the most naive children with 1-second long attention spans could possibly consider this to be a good plot with good characters. Everything about this anime that is unrelated to music and animation is a complete joke. I cannot recommend watching Guilty Crown to anyone; it is not worth your time. In fact, take away the music and I would rather watch a 22 episode version of Mars of Destruction. Yes: it really is THAT bad. It's not the worst anime I've ever seen, but it might be my least favorite.