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…
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.
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.
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)