Guilty Crown – 02 Review

Well, you’d have ceased being a wimp… I know, unimaginable, right? Wimpishness is a character-trait one should cherish, I mean, it’s simply what you need to have a boring life – and that’s something desirable seemingly in this case.

Shuu’s dream of being a boy-scout continues this episode introducing him to the cruelties of a world he always suspected to be a fabrication of the game-industry. But the Real-Life-version was just as intoxicating he had to admit but really nothing he would like to experience every day since it’s just so tiring. In other corners of the story we’re introduced to (another) teenager with great importance who’s slightly crazy and evil in subtly ways demonstrating this at every point very convincingly, actually it’s so convincing that you won’t even notice how subtle the whole thing is. But naturally he’s completely powerless against the mastermind of the (very young) terrorist group who execute a plan so perfect that angels cried out of happiness in heaven when it started. But in the end it’s all for nothing because Shuu decides he really doesn’t like to be a hero and he leaves to continue his life of boringness… or that’s what he planned to do, at least.

Synopsis:
Shuu, using Inori’s power, fights off the soldiers but due to the arrival of a new stronger mecha the terrorists have to retreat. Not only that but Gai, the terrorist-group’s leader, informs Shuu after the fight that he needs him and Inori for another mission. While the terrorists retreated one of their hideouts was discovered and the people there were taken hostage. But Gai already had a plan in mind as how to stop the soldiers. The plan succeeds perfectly with Shuu giving it its finishing touch by using Inori’s powers to kill the soldiers and neutralize the newly arrived mecha-pilot (whatever the maniac’s name is). After the final success Gai offers Shuu to be a part of his Terrorist group but Shuu decides to go back to his normal life. But at school the next day his class gets a transfer student – Inori.

Why has the first noteworthy villain of the series to be such a pretentious brat…?

Review:
It’s another disappointing episode that succeeds only slightly in doing a few things better than the first episode. The first episode ended with Shuu releasing Inori’s power by drawing a sword out of her chest. It ends with Shuu receiving a miraculous power despite him being just a wimpy little boy with nothing besides mediocrity as virtue. But deciding to change himself he stumbles into this battle between the terrorists and the soldiers.
Like expected he does kick some ass but it’s nice to see how the whole episode acknowledges his presence as something happening by chance. He isn’t a fighter or some sort of idealistic visionary, he’s really just the wimpy kid wanting to play ‘hero’ just this one time. The episode never wants to let you forget that fact and it does make for a consistent characterization giving the audience a better understanding about Shuu’s character.
That way it was an interesting move to let the wimpishness of the main-chara be so prevalent that he decided to not take the terrorist’s leader offer and instead to go back to his daily life. On one hand it is in accordance with his wimpishness but on the other hand made it clear that overall it wasn’t the best decision to characterize as such. It leads him away from the story and instead of keeping with the theme of letting Shuu stumble into this fight and remain in this new world, the plot shows him the exit-door and he goes through it naturally.
But his characterization isn’t the only one suffering because of some flaws existing because of decisions made while the concepts of the characters were worked out. Inori, the girl of Shuu’s dreams might as well just be an object for all the personality she shows. She’s just like Matrix’s Neo with her wooden acting of nonchalance and passiveness regarding the events. Besides her appearance there’s no reason for Shuu to have any interest in her. She’s just that bland! And the evil dude with his affection for hygiene is just boring. There’s no variation and subtlety to the way he shows off his insanity and he might as well wear a sign saying ‘Hi, I’m evil and crazy.’ And the troupe of terrorists is your typical wandering circus of shounen-stereotypes equipped with the competence to kick some asses as long as these asses belong to evil dudes.
The story progressed well, I think and I was tempted to call the episode good when the ending came around. The first thing was Shuu denying the terrorist-leader’s offer. There are a few things wrong with that: First, Shuu has now a special power that makes him a weapon and it’s only logical for the Terrorists to keep him with them since he’s a useful tool. Second, as far as wimpishness goes, Shuu’s decision was good characterization but this guy has seen how soldiers have killed innocents and he himself has killed the soldiers. That is NOT an experience he should be able to forget in a way that makes him say lighthearted ‘Oh, this was just this one time, let’s get back to my everyday-life.’. He should be traumatized by the experience!

Wait, it’s episode two and the main-chara already feels like he had experienced enough excitement to last a lifetime?! How the hell is he supposed to survive 22 episodes then!?

And then there’s the story’s brilliant idea of getting Shuu back to the action… Now that scene made me roll my eyes in disappointment and convinced me that this episode wasn’t really anything better than the first episode after all. Inori joins his class as a ‘transfer student’ and naturally Shuu has to stand up in surprise making an awkward remark and Inori… well, you know, how she never shows a reaction to anything. This is just the typical stupid excuse for this grating shounen-school-life-humour full of unnecessary fanservice and idiotic antics. If that’s the way the series wants to play Shuu’s wimpishness I’d rather see him convincing himself to be a hero for the rest of his life spontaneously and fight the good fight using Inori. What’s happening now is just the beginning of making this derivative plot even more derivative and making it more difficult to make it fun to watch.

The second episode didn’t change much about the overall impression of disappointment hovering over this series. The concentration on action in this episode showed what each episode should look like to make this at least a decent action-shounen-series. But the ending of the second episode instead made sure that the bad stereotypes not yet covered by this series also get mentioned in the next episode surely. One can only hope that all this leads to something exciting in the second half since it has 22 episodes to get somewhere.

Episode-Rating: 6,5/10

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About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on October 20, 2011, in Anime, Guilty Crown, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Mmmm while it’s kind of obvious that you hate Shuu’s character (even if most male protagonist this days are just the same as him), I didnt have that many problems with him, not to say that I didnt feel like slapping some sense into him a few times, but so far he is the character with more personality in the anime (kind of sad, isnt it?).

    Now what had me rolling my eyes at the screen was, to start, the interaction between Shuu and Gai, all of them felt over the top somehow, like the anime was trying too hard. Also, the scene with Shuu’s new weapon, I’m supposed to believe that Gai knew exactly which weapon they were going to get from the evil dude, and what it was going to do? They even planned on it! How did they know?! And yes, the “we have a transfer student” card was pretty obvious, from the moment they showed Shuu back in the classroom I knew something like that was going to happen.

    Even with all the stuff I said back then, the anime in itself was kind of interesting, I just hope that it improves in the next chapter

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    • I didnt have that many problems with him, not to say that I didnt feel like slapping some sense into him a few times, but so far he is the character with more personality in the anime (kind of sad, isnt it?)

      The way his character is handled from a characterization-point-of-view is fine and neat, I think. What troubles me is how the plot allows him to be a “hero” at the same time when it’s convenient for the plot (treating his experience as something he simply can “turn off” isn’t that believable). And while the ending made sense character-wise, to bring Shuu back to the action with the transfer-student-‘coincidence’ isn’t really the best way to keep the plot from feeling too “fictional” (instead of seeing a story progress naturally, you just realize constantly when what typical trope is used to get the story going).

      Now what had me rolling my eyes at the screen was, to start, the interaction between Shuu and Gai, all of them felt over the top somehow, like the anime was trying too hard.

      What, I actually thought that’s part of the fun I expected to see when I decided to watch this series ^^ . I’m totally fine with this over-the-top-action if the series just doesn’t know how to tell an engaging story.

      Also, the scene with Shuu’s new weapon, I’m supposed to believe that Gai knew exactly which weapon they were going to get from the evil dude, and what it was going to do? They even planned on it! How did they know?!

      The whole mission was ‘plot-convenient’ in that way, you know and it made the killing of the innocents at the beginning of it look a little bit bad. I mean, if they are all that ‘cool & stylish’ with pulling off stuff like that so perfectly and easily – why not also let them rescue the hostages? But no, the drama had to be heightened by showing that they “had to make sacrifices to succeed”. Well, it’s over-the-top from start to finish and that’s enough for me as far as decent action goes (it’s nothing great that way of course) but the ending with the “transfer student” wasn’t really the direction I wanted this to go because it means that we get to see school-life-sequences with (probably) bad humour.

      Even with all the stuff I said back then, the anime in itself was kind of interesting, I just hope that it improves in the next chapter

      *shrug* It has 22 episodes so there’s a lot of room for improvement. Of course there’s a question of how much this series wants to test the audience’s patience before it starts talking about the ‘juicy stuff’ of the plot. Well, I’ll stick with it hoping that there’s actually something like ‘juicy stuff’ to be found in this series.

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  2. I’m with you, in that I didn’t entirely mind this episode until they sprang the ending on us. Up until that point one of my biggest gripes was the forced fan service (the girl’s boob jiggle as she got out of the pod, mainly) because it seems like the show would be better without them trying to weave in that element needlessly. I would’ve complained that there was absolutely no learning curve for Shuu learning how to use his powers, but I’m just going to accept that quasi-magical-scientific weapons come with a built in instruction manual downloading into the users brain.

    Now the ending, if they turn this into a high school slice of life and drag out the time in between the action scenes, this show is going from one of the more tolerable ones this season to the most disappointing. I could have accepted it if he had gone back to school and say, had her show up as he leaves to pull him to a mission, or if any other fight was brought to him, but to place Inori there they’ve opened a whole possibility of awkward school comedy moments which I really hope they don’t go to. I liked the overall tone of this series, and to change it would just wreck the expectations I was beginning to have.

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    • Yeah, I tolerated much in terms of stupidity until the end and enjoyed it in a very mindless manner not really expecting the series to deliver anything in any way properly. The action up to that point was simple-minded fun but the ending was just bad no matter how one looks at it. Not only that it’s clichè but it’s also implausible. Inori is a searched terrorist who everyone would recognize due to her side-job as pop-singer (it’s not like anyone bothered to explain this part of her character of course…) – so how the hell can she become a transfer-student?! And you could find a dozen plotholes on that scale in this episode…
      At this point I don’t even expect the series to become good until the end of the first half. The direction it’s taking is just that bad…

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  3. So, I’m still getting this straight.
    Lonely dude is offered a chance of a lifetime to participate in something that will change the future of his country and MORE IMPORTANTLY, allow him to hang-out will all these under-age chicks (one kicks away display screens with her butt) as a hero figure… and he declines !
    All of this to stare wantingly out of his classroom window… until the girl everyone’s watching on Youtube shows up. (SURE, this govt sends in storm troopers to wipe out whole city blocks, but doesn’t ban video transmissions on open channels !)
    It wasn’t bad as a two-episode concept, mind you – I thoroughly enjoyed watching this remake of Code Geass. Almost EVERY character is mapped to someone in our Lelouch’s team. But the music (both background and Op and ED) are great, and I will bear with it. We will have two episodes of school drame before someone important dies, then he has to step up and go all Zero on them… but then the other two power-holders will come in (and am bettting one will be related by family/old trusted friend).
    It sure doesn’t take a lot of make an anime these days – just pick two you liked and file-merge. Wonder when someone will mash up FMA and Deadman Wonderland into a show about a zombie alchemist re-discovering his humanity while chasing a cyborg through a full-metal amusement park ?

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    • Lonely dude is offered a chance of a lifetime to participate in something that will change the future of his country and MORE IMPORTANTLY, allow him to hang-out will all these under-age chicks (one kicks away display screens with her butt) as a hero figure… and he declines

      *shrug* Well… once a wimp, always a wimp, right ;) ? Shuu just likes his melancholic 'I'm looking sentimentally out on the world from my seat at the window…'-classroom-scenes, so nothing we can do about it if he likes this more than a generic shounen-anime-adventure. I was actually okay with it, I mean, he is a wimp and he better stays with that characterization. That gives him at least some consistency if not any kind of charisma that Lelouch had (to follow the Code Geass comparison).

      SURE, this govt sends in storm troopers to wipe out whole city blocks, but doesn’t ban video transmissions on open channels !

      I’m actually still not quite sure at what point the govt. of this series made themselves seem like evil masterminds. Okay, they hired a bunch of gorillas to fill in for an ordinary army but that makes them just stupid and not evil (the gorillas, though, are both). And it’s not like Shuu lives like a kind of slave or anything. It’s not really clear what’s so unfair about this society to consider the terrorists surrounding Gai as righteous defenders of justice. But then we are led to believe that Gai is only 17 so well… We all have our ‘Sturm und Drang’-periods at some point and that’s Gai’s seemingly.

      Wonder when someone will mash up FMA and Deadman Wonderland into a show about a zombie alchemist re-discovering his humanity while chasing a cyborg through a full-metal amusement park ?

      Haha, yeah, I guess, it’s only a matter of time before someone copies FMA in a very blatant manner making another generic shounen-series. But I would suggest to mix it with Shakugan no Shana and let the series be produced by J.C.Staff because that can actually happen in the future… After Shana is over, JCStaff still can produce its unimaginative Shana-clones after all.

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  4. I’m so torn watching this show. The visuals, design, action and music are of such a high calibre that I am compelled to watch it, but the story is so generic that it makes me wish the production quality WASN’T that good. I watch the show with joy in my heart and tears on my face, all the while I’m shaking my head while muttering what a damn shame this show is; I have rarely seen more wasted potential in my anime-watching life.

    It’s not that the story is much worse than your generic shounen anime. It’s because it’s UNACCEPTABLE that it is at that level. I’m not even asking for much. If the story would just be at the level of ‘Highschool of the Dead’ it would already have been in my hall of fame.

    I know I know, it’s just two episodes. But I don’t ever remember watching a great show that started out as crappy as this. At least with series like Infinite Stratos you got what you’d expect: generic shounen action with decent fanservice. You wouldn’t have to put up with the nagging feeling that it could be much more than that and hope that the story turns out to be mindblowing.

    They must’ve tried to get a hype going by throwing out all the action and good stuff in the first few episodes all at once. Make people go WOW, I have to watch this, this is good stuff. Yes it is good stuff… if they would’ve saved it for episode 10. Part of what makes action enjoyable is the build-up to it. You have to be able to like the hero, hate the enemy and understand the conflict. These two episodes had none of these. It’s like they cut right in the middle of a story just to show some action.

    The characters look amazing, but feel like empty shells. Sure they’ll be fleshed out in the coming episodes. But is it so hard to introduce them in a classic fashion? You know, one by one as the story progresses so their appearance has any significance.

    Oh look here is the ‘terrorist’ home-team, don’t they just look awesome? Look at what this wimpy hero can do, isn’t this action just great? Listen to these awesome insert songs all over the episode!
    It’s as if a twelve year old got to direct a story with an elite animation studio at his disposal.

    I will probably continue to watch this show while crying tears of blood.

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  1. Pingback: Anime Review: Guilty Crown Episode 2 | This Euphoria!

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