Guilty Crown Episode 1
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Guilty Crown is an original weekly anime television series starting in October 2011 as part of the Noitamina time slot. In the future, Japan has been decimated by a virus, and is now occupied by a heavy-handed military international organization. Shu is little more than an ordinary high school student until he meets a member of the resistance organization Funeral Parlor, and in the heat of battle is bestowed a mysterious power that allows him to extract weapons from other peoples’ bodies.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
Spoiler-free set-up: Ten years ago, the nation of Japan was brought to its knees by the mysterious Apocalypse Virus, killing a third of the population. Since that time, Japan has been restored to a fragile peace under the tight control of an overwhelming military occupying force. Shu is nothing more than your average high school student going about his daily life, until he unexpectedly finds Inori, a singer in a popular band, hiding away. Injured after stealing the Void Genome, she is quickly recaptured by the military, leaving Shu alone with the secret package and instructions to take it to a resistance group. Meekly following the instructions, he encounters the members of Funeral Parlor, who aim to take Japan back. But the military has other ideas, invading the area to recover the Void Genome, killing everyone that gets in their way. In the heat of battle, Shu finds Inori, and with the help of the Void Genome is imbued with a special power that turns the tide in their favor.
My Impressions: First of all, Guilty Crown is gorgeous. I mean, really, really gorgeous. Visually it is absolutely stunning, a total feast of the eyes from start to finish with great artwork, smooth animation, excellent character designs, plus the music ain’t nothing to sneeze at, either. If nothing else, I would venture to say that Guilty Crown is the most artistically impressive show I’ve seen in a long time.
And that seems to be Guilty Crown’s strongest point. Because once you scratch below the surface, it seems that, as the saying goes, the beauty is skin-deep. Once again we have an outcast/loser protagonist character from high school who ends up getting inadvertently caught up in events much larger than himself. Totally by surprise he is imbued with a special power where he reaches into the chest of Inori and yanks out some big weapon (Uh…Dantalian no Shoka, anyone?), and suddenly he is fighting the eeeeeeeevil dystopian military bad guys. The military commander and his actions are about as predictable as could be imagined. Giant mecha sicced on the populace? Urgh. Facepalmed at the baldfaced plot device of dragging away the escapee while leaving Shu behind, completely to his own devices. The ultra-pretty ingenue, injured and running from the bad guys that Shu ends up protecting? The introduction of the rag-tag assortment of freedom fighters is equally as inauspicious (such as a tsundere neko-mimi and a pretty-boy leader) Really? You couldn’t get more creative than all that?
Let’s just say that I’m not really digging where the story is heading, and I’m not enthralled by the characters that are going to take us there. But we’re only one episode into the story, so I may be waaay too quick to judge the story and the players at this point. And in any case, oh lord is it a pretty, pretty show to watch. They must have poured a metric buttload of money into making this, and the quality really shines through. And on that basis alone I’m willing to enthusiastically keep watching. But “pretty” will only carry a series so far, and if there is not a captivating story to carry it, no amount of “pretty” can salvage an otherwise unpalatable story. So, here’s to hoping that my initial impressions about the cast and plot are wrong, and it turns out to be more interesting than I am predicting. Because I really want this show to succeed.
- Preview trailer on Youtube.
- Info resources:
- If you like this, you might also like: Code Geass or Sacred Seven.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “Production I.G. does not disappoint me this time around. Besides Gai, the stunning arts nd animation are definitely one of the strong reasons why I’m liking this show despite the infuriating story line and shallow protagonists (both Inori and Shu). Grade: 8.4/10.” – Conspicuous Klux
- “The creators will need to make these characters grow for this show to succeed: right now they’re weak. It’s only the first episode though, so we’ll see…Despite the weak characterization, I enjoyed the episode immensely. There’s plenty going on, and everything flows smoothly. The episode had a great sense of timing and pace.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “First thing that I have to say about this show is I hope that Shu isn’t going to stay so emo. While I enjoyed Evangelion, we do not need a repeat of the super emo mecha character. Why must mecha and emo go hand and hand?” – Nerd Age
- “What’s much more noticable is the absolutely beautiful animation and art. If Production IG can maintain this level of quality for the entire series, we’re in for quite some eyecandy. That being said, as of now the story is rather typical. Or to be more specific, it’s something that feels uncannily familiar. The characters themselves also feel strikingly familiar, with the rather typical seemingly incompetent main characters being no exception. Grade: 8.0/10.” – Emory Anime Club
- “Despite how well (imo) the plot was handled, there are still many typical shonen clichés that arise. There is an “ordinary highschooler”; a “mysterious girl”; our protagonist angsts about how nobody understands him; he suddenly gains a HUGE amount of courage out of nowhere (despite having been shown to be a huge coward); and he also suddenly gains badass new powers without (almost) any effort. Okay! Grade: 4/5.” – Moeronpan
- “Yes, this is very old hat. Been there, done that. For now, I’m contenting myself with the fact that the series looks absolutely fantastic.” – Lost in America
- “I’m not trying to fool anyone when I say that the intro is stunning because I probably have just as many questions as you do when it comes down to what the heck is actually going on. It feels like Final Fantasy XIII with the purging and the terms they throw out but you get the feeling that you won’t have to wait long after Ouma Shuu (Kaji Yuuki) unleashes his nasty new weapon. ” – Population GO
- “With my expectations scaled back a few notches, Guilty Crown’s first episode does manage to join the esteemed ranks of “better than bloody Bakuman”, of which only Persona 4 and Future Diary had achieved the rank of so far…I just wish it wasn’t so derivative.” – The Cart Driver
- “A generic opening episode creates maximum possibilities. Since the characters are shallow, their personalities are easier to work with. Since the setting is derivative, they can think of ways to make it stand out from the rest of the anime out there. You see, it’s just a matter of handling the cards you have in front of you.” – Ambivalence
- “Guilty Crown’s opening episode is one that flew by quickly, which is good and bad. The good is that it’s a thoroughly appealing show just on a visual and pacing level, keeping things moving and drawing you in more with the small nuggets of information that it wants to reveal. Grade: B+.” – The Fandom Post
ROUND ONE RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round One: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Working Season 2, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown
Thumbs-down for Round One: Morita-san wa Mukuchi Season 2, Kimi to Boku, C3: CubexCursedxCurious, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Coming up next: Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Shakugan no Shana III, Hunter x Hunter, Mashiro-iro Symphony, Tamayura Hitotose, Persona 4, Maken-ki, Cross Fight Bedaman, Digimon Xros Wars II