Anime Review: Guilty Crown Episode 2

Anime Review:
Guilty Crown Episode 2

What this is about: Separating the anime wheat from the chaff! Reviewing every subtitled anime show from 2010 and 2011! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Guilty Crown is an original 22-episode anime television series aired between October 2011 and March 2012 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:

Very Quick Episode Summary: After a strategic retreat following battling the government forces, Shu is confronted by the rebel leader, who is disgruntled because the genome virus that infected Shu was intended for him. The “Big Bad Government Baddies” target a group of civilians to draw out the Undertakers, and it works. But they soon learn they have bit off a bit more than they can chew when Shu breaks out his special powers and totally pwns them. When invited to join the Undertakers, Shu turns them down flat, wanting instead to return to his own, boring life.

My Impressions: I want to believe.

I mean, I really want to believe in Guilty Crown, because it truly is a gorgeous show, with stunning visuals and top-notch animation. However, no amount of gobsmackingly purty pictures on the computer screen can offset an otherwise subpar story or unbelievable plot.

In the first two episodes there were just so many times when I wanted to smack my forehead at their stupidity, or pinch the bridge of my nose and sigh in mock frustration. To be fair, the idea of an outrageous or unbelievable story by itself is nothing to complain about — I think I could comfortably say that more than half of all basic story concepts in the world of anime these days defies reality. I guess it really depends upon the tone and timber of the story itself, and how the characters react in their own little made-up universe that matters. And Guilty Crown is…well…guilty of far too many transgressions that I cannot abide.

Yet it is so very easy to get caught up in the visual spectacle of it all, and just drink in the eye candy while you are watching. It is only afterward when I’m trying to tease out the plot and story that I realize just how much of a piece of shit Guilty Crown truly is. It was last week when I was listening to an audio podcast where someone reviewed the first few episodes, in which they accurately described the outline of the story in about ten minutes — and it all sounded so ridiculous and derivative and cliched.

I hate the listless, uninterested-and-uninteresting main character who is playing the avoidant anti-hero (could he be any more unsympathetic?). I positively loathed the new eeeeeevil bad-guy gubmint character they introduced this character who seems to be chaotically evil for no logical reason. The cute girlie character, Inori, really is cute beyond belief…but has about as much personality as a knot of wood. I hate the gobblety-gook science of being able to reach into teenagers and pull out a “Void” weapon — which would be utterly silly except it is compounded silliness because this is a variation of something that has been done before. Same with the bwa-ha-ha-evil! authoritarian government oppressing the poor Japanese public, with a small rag-tag group of rebels in opposition…where have we seen that before?. And I hate mecha…period.

And that’s just for starters. I could go on. I won’t. Guilty Crown is oh-so-pretty to watch, but previous experience has proven that the bloom wears off the rose after a few episodes, and unless there is an actual worthwhile story behind the visuals, it gets wearying very fast. And with a scheduled 22 episodes for the series, I figured I better cut it off at this point. I fear that if I watch it episode-by-episode, watch it with a critical eye and try to detangle the story and plot, by prefrontal cortex will eventually leap out of my forehead and strangle me in defiance.

The verdict:

I think the one moment where I determined that “Yeah, this is shit” was in the middle of the battle when the cute, underaged little cat-eared girl in the skin-tight outfit was doing her Dance Dance Revolution routine in her virtual reality set-up that remotely controls one of the battlesuits/mecha/Endlaves/whatever. And in the middle of the swirling melange of lights, she uses a tap of her butt to close one of the open holographic windows. Uhhhh…yeah. Thank you, World of Anime, for forever etching that memory into my mind.

I might return to Guilty Crown at some indefinite point in the future, but not to watch it with any serious thought. More like on Netflix if it comes out dubbed in English, so that I can sort-of watch it in the background when I’m only paying attention to the television screen 20% of the time, and typing away on my computer 80% of the time. Dubbed anime where I can turn by brain off makes for great background noise/entertainment.

For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “It looks like I’ll have to seriously re-adjust my expectations for this series. As of now, the one standout category for Guilty Crown is it’s production quality. The animation quality maintained it’s high standards from last week, and looked absolutely gorgeous. The story, on the other hand, does still feel a bit lackluster.” – Emory Anime Club
    • “GOD. DAMMIT!! Stop being some fucking generic, lame-ass, shonen filled, re-hashed, Geass rip-off!!!! For the love of Christ please don’t waste the tools you have. I really want to try to like this show, and I have hopes that it will at least attempt to try to make it’s story better than what it seems like it will be. You don’t have to follow the same tropes as everything else, you don’t have to remake Code Geass, you don’t have to fuck this up.” – The Notaku Blog
    • “You know, like the main character is bland, and the series has one cliché after another. Guy meets girl with special power, and now she’s in his high school class. By the way, he has a window seat! Quite frankly, I don’t even care…The psychopathic character is the second biggest attention grabber, followed by the mysterious girl. So you see, even if the main lead is bland, the show still offers enough entertainment to go around. Besides, he has time to improve.” – Meeping Anime
    • “Well, that was a very suspense- and action-filled episode. We got guns, mechs, swords, and girls screaming in pleasurable agony. I get that the series is aiming for eradicating the evil empire aimed in making those who are less privileged suffer but I can’t seem to find the middle ground in all this. What is the turning point in all this?…Overall. This episode is breathtaking. It takes no stops to deliver the action it wanted. Action, suspense is what came into me in this. So I don’t have any qualms on this one.” – The Dere Moe Project
    • “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.” – Otakuness

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2, Guilty Crown

      Coming up next: Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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