Guilty Crown – 01 Review

What, didn’t you hear him talk? Of course he’s a coward…!

Reviews by M0rg0th and Saranaufogus

M0rg0th: So what actually happened (and if someone told you something else, he lied) was that the main-character, a rebellious punk with megalomania, founded a gang with which he wanted to destroy ‘authority’ (which do all kinds of nonsense for very funny reasons, he believes) and ‘ants’ (which are one step away from evolving into giant man-eating monsters, he believes). And after he looked over his plans that he had written hastily on some pages, he decided to start with the easy part of the plan – ‘authority’. He was rather lucky in his ambition because it just happened to be so that the government of his country was controlled by foreign forces as corrupt as anybody would’ve expected Illuminati-controlled marionettes to be. And after a naive girl with a VERY special power joined him believing him to be some kind of hero (which he wasn’t), he’s able to turn around the fight that actually should’ve seen him dead under normal circumstances. After securing his first victory which surprised nearly everyone besides the girl who was just dumb, he said: ‘Actually, guys, this is the easy part. It’s the ants, I’m really worried about.’

Man, how I wish this would’ve been the episode I’ve watched…

Synopsis:
Shu, a normal kid with a bit of a problem regarding social interaction spends his days living a peaceful boring life. But this changes when he suddenly meets the girl of his dreams who’s attacked by state-troops. Too much of a chicken to rescue her he instead ends up bringing a robot to a group of rebels who reside in the slums. Getting rescued from punks by these rebels Shu can only spend a short time talking with them as the state-troops implement their plan to find the vial Shu has – by killing everyone in the slums. In the midst of the confusion created by the massacre and the counter-attack of the rebels, Inori, the girl of Shu’s dreams escapes from captivity – to just stumble into the next death-trap. But that’s when Shu appears to rescue her and Inori grants him the ability to do something frigging awesome which means he can protect her and save the day.

M0rg0th’s Review:

It’s so classified that we aren’t allowed to hear it until the second half of the series, you mean…

Guilty Crown was an anime many expected to be action, entertainment, explosions, love, awesomeness and other stuff that makes you giddy. After the first episode I guess most of these people sobered up a bit and realized – well, it’s not great.
The story isn’t an inspired work full of originality and that painfully so. For me it felt like ‘just another one of these’ and there are all the flaws and simple strengths you would expect from a mediocre shounen-genre-story. You have the typical whiny shounen-hero who has to man up, the female-love-interest that needs protection, the fated meeting between the two, the dangerous REALLY evil villains (this time the ‘power corrupts’-variant) and the loyal group of side-characters some more serious than others who are just there for comic relief.
The wimpy brat who has to save this day is an awkward outsider who just doesn’t know how to connect words in a way that doesn’t make him look socially inept. Of course he isn’t autistic, it’s not that bad, he’s simply the kind of character living in a nutshell waiting to be freed by ‘fate’. So, of course, he doesn’t leave that good an impression on me after the first episode. I just can see how he breaks down shortly before the finale and begins whining about the colour of the sky or something. What I hope, though, is that they won’t pull the ‘(plot-relevant) Dark Past I don’t happen to remember anymore’-card to explain why Inori the damsel-in-distress accepts him as a worthy ‘master’ that easily. The girl doesn’t seem to have that much of a personality right now and I hope that the next episodes will do something about it. But her role in this episode wasn’t that distinct and mostly passive which made it easy to be unimpressed by her role in the first episode. They really have to do something about that, just making her this emotionless human weapon waiting to be used by the main-character isn’t that exciting as a characterization. But what we can be sure about that she has definitely a very tragic past we should pity her for (the few images that we saw made it rather clear, I think).

Uhm, I don’t think it’s that bad to do nothing when you face a bunch of armed soldiers unarmed, you know, it’s called ‘having a survival-instinct’.

The story judging by the ‘villains’ seems to be one of injustice done in the name of the greater good that nobody but a chosen few know about. There will come a time in this series where someone says basically ‘Everything I’ve been told about the past – is a lie.’ and then you have the delusional villain who screams at the hero ‘You can’t handle the truth!’. It will be interesting to see whether it’s all some evil dude’s fault who happens to be very influential and important or if it will go all the way to the conspiratory point of view. Well, that’s the setting, regarding the story of the main-character I hope it doesn’t get too cheesy or soapy because they try to be dramatic. His story is probably one of personal growth and hopefully that means he’s getting some charisma while spending more time practicing social interaction – and kicking the asses of the evil dudes. I don’t want him to remain in the story and still cling to his wimp-roots, he’s running in front of mechas to save a girl so he better should behave like that the rest of the day too. I don’t need another scene of him curling up like a whiny baby wishing to remain a boring person. What plagues the story besides it being rather mediocre overall are this little moments where I just sighed thinking ‘That again…’ like for example the moment at the end when the main-character gets his weapon by taking it out of the girls chest – and everyone’s just standing there, watching in awe. The moment someone is very slowly starting to do something very awesome as an enemy you don’t just stand there and wait for him to finish like you’re watching a good movie. Attack, goddamnit! But I guess nobody can help the villains of this episode who thought it would be a great idea to deal with the rebel-group by simply killing everyone in the slums. Now that lacked any subtlety and sovereignty, that was just flailing around with your arms in hope that it saves you from drowning. If the villains continue to operate like that, they will be history at the end of the third episode.
What this series right now lacks most is originality. It has yet to show what it sets apart from all the other shounen-series out there and why I should remember this series even after it’s finished. If I wouldn’t have any expectations for this series, I guess, I would even think about dropping the series as there’s just not reason shown in the first episode why I shouldn’t do so. The characters don’t seem interesting, the story seems bland, the setting seems to be just a regret of the past (which means it’s out of reach for the characters to change) and the storytelling isn’t inspiring. This series has done nothing great with the first episode but I have to admit that it is decent enough to hope for an improvement.

Guilty Crown certainly won’t blow your mind with its story and its characters but it’s a solid (even if very typical) shounen-anime with a good animation-style and nice music due to Chelly’s singing. Right now, it isn’t a series that tries to rise above the swamp of all the other shounen-series out there who are similar in concept and hopefully the next few episodes will prove to us that one of the most anticipated animes of the Fall-season isn’t just a mediocre effort to make another derivative shounen-series.

Episode-Rating: 6,5/10

Saranaufogus’ Review

oh it is so hard to escape fan-service in anime these days…

Why oh why oh why?

This whole first episode had felt like a 25 minutes trailer for a movie. =_=” I swear, by the end of the episode, I felt like it was just a super long railer and a big black screen was going to appear with the words “Guilty Crown: Out In Cinema’s November 2011”

The episode had started off strong with a nice blend of music, action, an intriguing plot and an emotional aspect to the scene. It had honestly made me feel that perhaps this would be the show of the season (mind you, I had not read M0rg0th’s review at that time so as to not corrupt my own point of view) but then enter the main character Shu and everything goes downhill from that point.

My biggest issue with the show was that despite how entertaining the visuals were and how intriguing the plot potentially might have been, the choppy storytelling and unrealistic reactions of the characters destroyed it for me.

Everything about the way the story had unfolded felt unnatural. I felt as though the rest of the season would be spent on flashbacks that would explain the reason behind the reaction of the characters. I mean, how was the bond between Shu and Inori found? No normal human, socially awkward or not, would do what Shu had done for a total stranger that he had just met. Sure, she basically dared him and deep down his pride probably wanted to stop him from backing out, but then there comes a time in a man’s life (or so I hope) where one’s common sense would kick in thus overriding stupidity.

What is with all this talk about abandonment and needing to do something about the situation? You just met the person for crying out loud.

The choppiness that I had felt through the episode was due to a few factors like how scenes kept jumping from one to another just to make sure no time is wasted. Characters would appear, say something to Shu and then disappear as that was the end of their introduction to the series. I mean, Gai tormented Shu for no reason, honestly, wth is wrong with all these people? The same also went for Inori, the first time she sees the guy and she decides that a philosophical saying of “if you try you may be able to do it, but if you don’t try you won’t be able to do it at all” was appropriate and she even then proceeds to calling the person a coward? Talk about socially awkward. It was things like these that made me go, Sigh, why oh why?

Too many actions that did not make any sense just yet. If everything were explained in the near future then perhaps all of this would not be an issue. I am really hoping that there would be an episode that will cover the back story behind the reactions of these characters as their unnatural behavior makes it so hard for me to enjoy the show.

The music in this scene really bugged me

We shall move on to my 2nd biggest problem with the series – the music. The start of the show was good with a nice choice of music that actually matched the atmosphere and created a pretty awesome scene. But when the episode officially started, we were either shocked with an odd selection of music, that seem to feel awkward, or by total silence. I have already stated my case on how total silence annoys me in prior reviews, but it honestly beats bad music that destroys the mood. Guilty Crown does not have a bad choice of music per say, but it suffers at the hand of an unusual taste that disrupts the mood built-up in the scene by the story.

The upside for this series would have to be the visuals. The framing of this scenes, that had characters nearly falling off the screen, made for a dynamic and appealing visual. Whilst that had worked really well for Mawaru Penguindrum, I am uncertain if it had any actual added value to the series apart from being different from the norm. The colours and animation that were used were also really nice and the action scenes were fluid and dynamic as well. At the end of the day, I feel like visual are very important to me since I am able to enjoy a show that is mediocre with good visuals but will find it hard to enjoy a show with a good story and terrible visuals.

Another positive thing about this show was Chelly’s singing, one can’t deny that her voice was soothing to hear and it had created a more human connection with the audience.

Overall, it was not a terrible episode if the show had actually slowed itself down and explained the reasons behind the actions/reactions of each the characters instead of forcing us to accept what we see (I feel like I have repeated this point so many times this season). The visuals were pretty and the story looks promising and as long as the show paces itself correctly, I feel like this could turn out to be a decent (although nothing mind-numbingly amazing) series despite my above rant.

Episode Rating: 7/10 I am entertained and the action and slashing was fun to watch.
(7 seems to be the lucky number for this weekend)

-ra

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About M0rg0th

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

Posted on October 14, 2011, in Anime, Guilty Crown, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. This is another anime that i’ll watch either way now that its streaming on hulu+, as anime looks better on my cheap 19″ hdtv than my 13″ laptop lol. That said, I agree, it followed a very typical dystopian society plot-line, with everything that happened, culminating with the awkward turtle getting a superpower. Not awful, but not outstanding just yet either. I actually had never heard of the story until I saw the episode pop up, so I probably wasn’t as let down, since I didn’t have any expectations to start with.

    After watching this, it does sort of remind me of the book Fahrenheit 451, or the movie Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale, before he went all Batman-y. Both are set in the same sort of overpowered government, and individuals that were originally part of the system fight against it. Story-wise they’re of course more put together than this but different mediums, so its not a comparable issue, but a good recommendation for anyone that likes that kind of setting

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    • Actually, when it came to the whole idea of a dystopian society and animation I was constantly reminded of No.6. =/ Did you feel the same way as well? Both shows have their similarities but I feel like No.6 is ultimately better and more engaging whereas this is more “in your face” sort of entertainment.

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      • surprisingly, No. 6 never crossed my mind watching this, but I think that’s because at the end of it, 6 was more about character development, and less action oriented until the last few episodes, where this episode of Guilty Crown was essentially some exposition and then 15 minutes of people pulling guns on the poor kid lol.
        Equilibrium I think came to my mind first because that movie while has it has the character develop from a emotionless drone to a real person in a society where emotion is outlawed and forcibly suppressed via daily pills, is also full of explosions and a form or martial arts based around wielding dual handguns.

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      • “surprisingly, No. 6 never crossed my mind watching this, but I think that’s because at the end of it, 6 was more about character development, and less action oriented until the last few episodes”

        you are right about that. It is merely the gadgets/tags, the whole female friend good friend and helping out a random stranger plus the dystopia notion (though nothing much came out of that from No.6).

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    • I actually had never heard of the story until I saw the episode pop up, so I probably wasn’t as let down, since I didn’t have any expectations to start with.

      I guess, it’s solid enough to like the series with this approach, After watching a certain number of animes one will realize that nearly everything of the first episode was derivative. Of course, how much that bugs each person is another matter entirely. It’s just that it doesn’t really start to walk the path of greatness with this first impression.

      Both are set in the same sort of overpowered government, and individuals that were originally part of the system fight against it.

      Hmm, you’re talking about these dystopian stories that feature a authoritative government, right? George Orwell’s “1984” is another classic example for this 😉 .But I don’t think the situation is that bad in Guilty Crown. Okay, the military behaved like a bunch of crazy monkeys searching for a banana in the first episode but what the setting lacked is this oppressive system keeping society ignorant and subjugated. Shuu’s life didn’t seem to be one of suffering control by the government. But what I do think will be part of the story is this dark secret about their government that will revolutionize society as they know it. So, it’s not really a kind of dystopy like the setting your examples had. But it does have elements from that concept as the villains are the ones sitting at the top of society.

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      • 1984 is another good comparison, but I think you’re right, this show hasn’t gone that far overboard yet. I also have to agree with you that this first episode is derivative, but I think for any series that’s a safer bet, than trying to pull of something untested. Most shows and movies are essentially the same stories packaged in a different way; I won’t hold it against this show for having been done before as long as it does it well, which I think it has so far especially compared to some of the other weaker first episodes of this season.

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  2. Nice review. I enjoyed reading it.

    I have to say, the first episode managed to keep me entertained and made me ask for more. That’s quite a feat considering the other animes being aired recently.

    I did find it very odd that everyone had expectations of Shuu for no reason. But maybe there IS a reason, and that reason is connected to the flash backs he is getting.

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    • That’s quite a feat considering the other animes being aired recently.

      Let me guess, you mean Maken-ki and Chibi Devi ^^ ? No, seriously, what are your favourites of this season besides Guilty Crown?

      I did find it very odd that everyone had expectations of Shuu for no reason. But maybe there IS a reason, and that reason is connected to the flash backs he is getting.

      I talked with Mira (Hachimitsu, org) about that in the comments of his review and I think, the explanation will be something like him being a hero in the first place who pretends to be a ‘wimp’. As to the flashbacks, it isn’t quite clear whose flashbacks they are all the time because some seem to come from Inori, I think. And I think, I will start to really hate the seres when Shu gets a ‘(plot relevant) dark past he conveniently forgot about’. Now that would be just lame.

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  3. Well the plot may not seem so original I liked the art very much. But we shouldn’t guess that the anime will be another typical shonen anime just by it’s first episode, because alot of first episodes for shonen Anime are pretty flat and and okay, for example the first episode of blue Exorcist. The first episode may have been boring but the second and third blew me away. I think that this example may be the same for Guilty Crown

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  4. @viishous:

    I won’t hold it against this show for having been done before as long as it does it well, which I think it has so far especially compared to some of the other weaker first episodes of this season.

    Hmm, personally I would always favour a original approach than a derivative but you’re right in saying that a series being derivative doesn’t automatically mean that it’s bad. What it comes down to with these shows is what they do with the tropes they use. There’s much you can get out of a story despite it being derivative. What matters to me is that the series can ascertain its own identity instead of really being a simple copy of what other series have done.
    @Zoui Phung:

    But we shouldn’t guess that the anime will be another typical shonen anime just by it’s first episode, because alot of first episodes for shonen Anime are pretty flat and and okay, for example the first episode of blue Exorcist.

    I always think of Gun Grave in this case since the first episode of that series is just abysmally bad compared to how great the rest of the series is. Well, generally nobody should judge a whole series based on the first impression but some things can be known about the series by just seeing the first episode so I guess it depends on the series how valid the argument is.

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  5. What is with all this talk about abandonment and needing to do something about the situation? You just met the person for crying out loud.

    But he’s her fan! What kind of a depraved person would abandon his idol? Madness, I say!

    In any case, this episode really feels like a prologue that introduces many things really fast without yet delving into any one of them (well, aside for the very general theme of “I gotta be brave”). Once things has settled down, I hope we’d get to see what the show really has to offer.

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  6. “But he’s her fan! What kind of a depraved person would abandon his idol? Madness, I say!”

    =P Now i know what sort of fan you are – the crazy type. =P Being a fan does not change the fact that he does not know her and he is risking his life. lol

    “aside for the very general theme of “I gotta be brave””

    I would call it more of a cliche than a theme.

    “Once things has settled down, I hope we’d get to see what the show really has to offer.”

    I hope for things to get better but I was still entertained anyway. I just wouldn’t expect too much out of the show. =/

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