Hello there. This is review number twenty nine. I ran out of winter anime to watch. The spring line up still has some episodes to air so I’m lost. Therefore, I’ll review the Fall 2011 line up. I’ll start things off with a great one. Guilty Crown.
It’s a twenty two episode anime that I really enjoyed. I hope you enjoy this anime too. Let’s read on.
The anime follows Shu, a normal high school boy, who was hurled into the world of radicals and vigilantes aiming to crush the oppressive government that took hold of Japan. Shu want nothing to do with these shady people but after being granted the power to fight the oppression, the vigilante group, known as the Undertakers, would rely on his power. Shu, a stupid coward ass sh*t, would realize that with great powers lies great responsibilities.
The anime revolves around the war torn land of Japan havocked by disease called the Apocalypse Virus. It devours the person slowly turning them into crystals. Of course, only Japan has this disease because they’re the cool country that every anime takes place in. Japan has asked helped from other nations but these nations would soon take over Japan dangling a cure for their absolute obedience. These nations would not only help though as they would perform public massacre and spread fear throughout the country. The even use the disease to spread oppression and despair. So a radical group has taken arm to protect the people and to stop these people to do whatever they want. Thrown into this hot mess is Shu who holds the power to kill a robot with only his bare hands.
Taking the Pants Off
The most hated anime of 2011. Look anywhere in the dark corners of the internet and you’ll be seeing people calling this anime the worst of the worst. It’s an anime so bad that Production IG had no idea what they were doing when they made this anime. Every anime review would tell you this anime suck and it wasn’t worth the time. I understand why a lot of people hated this anime. When it was announced, it was greatly hyped. People saw another Code Geass in the making. It was released in a time where the Death Notes and the Code Geasses where becoming a rare thing. People wanted something epic they can sink their teeth into. Guilty Crown was suppose to do that but it didn’t. Blame the story or the characters but it just didn’t lived up to it’s hype. if you watch an anime on a weekly basis then you’d be tuning in for a good four months (two months for 12 eps.) to see the anime. One bad episode will stick with you for a week and it will certainly make you angry. ‘What the f*ck am I watching?” “This show is garbage.” “This is the worst.” will eventually come out of your mouth when episode after episode doesn’t live up to your expectations. Guilty Crown had it’s ups and downs that truly enraged the anime community. It’s the sole reason why it’s hailed as the worst anime of 2011.
I disagree though. The worst anime of 2011 is “Oretachi wa Tsubasa wa nai”. That show sucked but it’s easier to poke fun of something more well known like Guilty Crown. The show certainly had it’s moment for me. I didn’t really expect anything from the show and I saw the entire anime in less than a week so the weak points of the anime was easily recovered. This is fascinating though because I have never seen an anime receive as much hate as this one. Is the show really bad though? I’m probably in the minority but I really like this show. The premise was familiar, the various themes were powerful and the show was visually appealing. I think the problem though is the story itself.
The biggest flaw of the anime is that in has three individual stories that didn’t mixed well together. The first one is the goal of the Undertakers to reclaim Japan. Right off the bat, this one felt like Code Geass. There is a repressive and corrupt government abusing the people and a bunch of vigilantes are opposing them. They fight using robots and advanced weaponry that look really cool. The Undertakers are hellbent on stopping the government of all it’s lies and mistreatment of the people. Shu is introduced to the group after he met a girl that belongs to the faction. He is now tasked to choose between being a reluctant bystander or someone who fights for his right to live free. He doesn’t trust the Undertakers that much but he soon gets a first hand experience of how the government works.
The was a nice story here about Shu and the leader of the Undertakers, Gai. Shu is billed as this weak, stupid and fumbling kind of character that goes with the flow. Gai is presented as a stand up kind of guy. Shu possess a power Gai needs and the two clashes because of the complicated situation they were in. Shu didn’t want power but he envied Gai for being a great leader. Gai wanted power but believes Shu can do things better than him. It was a nice melodrama section of the anime that hits pretty hard in the later parts of the anime.
The story happened during the middle parts of the anime. The show went from a Code Geass inspired story to more of a ‘Lord of the Flies” kind of story. Shu and his friends were trapped in a place with no access to the outside world. He was forced to lead the group from breaking out of the place but the situation turned sour as the anime progresses. This was a nice story as well. The people trapped inside had a nice system going until everything just got out of control.
Towards the later parts of the anime, the story changed once more. From a Code Geass look alike to a Lord of the Flies type of story into an entirely different one once more. The anime soon gave emphasis on the chain of events that happened in “Lost Christmas” where the disease was born. Both its origin and its effect to the poor people of this country is heavily explored by the anime at this point. There were a lot of flashbacks recounting the tragedy that happened at that day and the key players that made it all happen. A story about freedom that turned into a story about survival now turned into a story about saving the world.
The anime had three individual stories that didn’t mixed together. They all had a different pacing to them and a different purpose that didn’t really made sense together. The individual stories had very little relation to each other and they didn’t support each other. One is a story about war, another is a story about society and another is a story about the end of the world. This is basically what killed the anime. The individual stories had a nice pacing to them and they all had interesting things to present. I actually liked them because there were a lot of impressive moments told in the stories. Some stories about heroism, the break down of society and the corruption of the world. These stories but didn’t helped each other though. Normally, an anime would present plot points that are all introduced at the start of the anime. They are explored by the anime as it progresses and these plot point soon makes the anime amazing. Guilty Crown didn’t have three plot points. It had three stories. By themselves, the stories are awesome but they never really made sense as a whole.
With three different stories, the characters are heavily affected. They need to fit the role of what the individual stories ask them to do. This is a big problem when the three stories all share one main character. Shu is a mess. He just goes with the flow because he needs to fit the role needed in the stories. In the first story, he was an indecisive coward slowly rising up to the occasion. In the second story, he was the appointed Ralph. He had to abandon his indecisive persona so he can be the leader this time. In the third plot point, he was the chosen one. Yknow, the hero with the power to save the world and he had to fill that role as well which means he had to drop his developed personality from the other stories. I feel bad for him too because he was the one constantly blamed for ruining the anime. There’s no way he can have a definite personality when he is stretched thin trying to compensate three roles.
Shu was the main focus of the anime though. They never shifted it to anyone else, even Gai who is more interesting that Shu. They manage to revolve the plot around Shu which is a hard thing to do but something really praiseworthy. Shu was a poor boy who experiences a lot of struggle and hardships throughout the anime. His triumph and accomplishments did feel like icing on the cake. I guess I was just too involved with the anime.
The rest of the characters are pretty lost as well. You have an initial idea of what their role is but the anime never seem to utilize them effectively. Both minor and main characters were pretty much lost in the anime. Perhaps the one that truly represents that is this girl named “Inori”. Her purpose is deeply questioned by viewers and that’s pretty spot on because the girl had no major role. She suffered heavily from the three stories as well. She went from an enigmatic characters to a weak hearted lover to well…something else. She also needed to fill certain roles in the story and while she does have her moment, as the anime progresses, you aren’t quite sure why she is there. Eye candy, perhaps.
Some characters are impressive though because they had an effective role in some of the stories. Majority of the stand out characters are minor ones though like the student that double crossed Shu or the wheel chaired girl piloting a robot. They didn’t have much role in other parts of the anime so they were nicely utilized. Most of the impressive ones are also the villians in the anime. They just appeared in one of the stories so they only had one part to play. They played it well. They are effective antagonists and ones that really crawls under your skin.
I marathoned this anime so I was able to nicely notice the three separate stories and enjoy them for what they are. They are nicely paced stories with different plot twists nicely executed to deliver a powerful moment in the anime. Some of the stories has a nice shift from light hearted moments to truly dark ones. The anime was able to present superb action moments, decent dramatic ones and some deeply thought out psychological moments. The anime had all the opportunity to break down the stories and mixed them together but I think Production IG were truly shooting for something grand like Death Note or Code Geass but it sadly blew up in their faces. Guilty Crown, sadly, had all the elements to be in the same league as those two mega anime but they fumbled the execution and now people remember it as that one awful show that was released back in 2011. It’s such a shame too because the show is great but probably not as great as people want it to be.
Sight and Sound
Production I.G. went all out with this one. The anime is mostly CG with its robots and majority of the background. The anime loves doing scenic shots that really is pretty and elevates the anime much more. There is so much detail in the scenic shots that it really left me in awe. The CG on the crystals is also worth noting. It doesn’t feel stiff like the usual CG in other anime. It complements the animation. The character design is really amazing. It’s familiar yet different. The characters had nice proportion especially the girls who wear an Evangelion-like outfit that sticks to the skin. The studio really made sure that the appearance of the anime was high and they succeeded in doing so. This rivaled Code Geass production value minus the long legged characters.
The fight scenes are incredible. From the mecha battles to the free flowing movement of Shu when he fights, the animation was impressive. I’m guilty of even drooling on the keyboard on the final action scenes. I do have a bit of a pet peeve about the anime. The characters don’t blink. They close their eyes and show emotion when it calls for it but when they just talk, nothing moves except the mouth. Sometimes pretty animation isn’t enough but it doesn’t really ruin the anime. I only noticed it when I stared too much on Inori’s beautiful face.
The opening and ending song was done by Supercell and composed by ryo. It has the standards of a supercell song and the opening and ending sequences was nicely animated as well as it lives up to the rest of the anime. Some spoilers a represent in the sequences though. It’s better not to pay attention. It’s hard to do so because of how nice the songs are.
Some songs stick to you. When you hear it, you remember the anime. I listen to Veltpunch’s Crawl and I remember Nabari no Ou. The same goes for this anime. When I hear the opening songs, it really reminds me of the anime. It’s really nicely done.
6/10 “It’s not perfect but the experience was amazing nonetheless.”
I highly recommend this anime. It’s a great anime though some people may down play it because it’s clichéd. It may be but a great anime is a great anime.