Hey everybody, been a week some since my last post. I’ve started up another summer class and have taken a bit more things on, which took over my time last week. And this week I got my wisdom teeth removed. I’ve been on pain meds since then and have been having fits of nausea, it’s generally been unpleasant. I’ve been trying to get Xewleer to follow up with his posting schedule, but he’s been doin God Knows What, so we’ll see if he ever gets on track.

Today I have for you all, my afterword on Guilty Crown. I remember the show starting off very well, gaining much hype over the summer months due to Redjuice’s artwork. The first episode went very well, then the following few were disappointments until the halfway marker… well I’ll let the post talk itself.

From Wikipedia:

On Christmas Eve, 2029, the unidentified “Apocalypse Virus” spreads and plunges Japan into a state of emergency in a chaos known as the “Lost Christmas” incident.[2] An international organization known as the GHQ intervenes with martial law and restores order to Japan at the cost of its independence.[2] Ten years later in 2039, Shu Ouma, a 17-year-old high school student who keeps to himself in school, meets Inori Yuzuriha, the lead singer of Egoist, while visiting one of his favorite places on before heading home from school. Shu is a big fan of Inori, the singer who has taken the Internet world by storm. However, he also discovers the other side of her: she is a member of the “Undertakers,” a resistance group that aims to liberate Japan from the GHQ. Shu starts taking part in the actions of “Undertaker-(funeral parlor)” and the “King’s Mark” appears on his right hand after the Void Genome in his pocket was shot by a GHQ Endlave. This “mark” bestows him the power to reach inside another person’s heart to extract and materialize a weapon or item from it.[2] The anime tells the story of Shu’s reluctant involvement with the Undertakers and the hardship involving the battles they fight and the lost truth of Shu’s past.

Guilty Crown is a bit of an anomoly in the world of anime, it attempts to blend several chaotic themes together, but never quite manages to do so in a masterful way. The plot has clearly been influenced by several popular franchises – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the production is where the writers have let themselves down. The narrative is often incohesive, and many events in the storyline appear to have no logic behind them other than to be a cataclyst to disrupt Shu’s state of mind. In addition to this, the writers appear to have taken a rather nonchalant approach to reasoning and rationale, one example of which is how GHQ’s repeated massacres are never covered by any sort of media outlet. This seemingly lackadaisical attitude is apparent in several areas of the plot – which is littered with “coincidences” – and these cause the narrative to have a mechanical feeling. In many ways it’s almost as if the story was nothing more than a collection of moments that would apparently appeal to the masses.

Aside from the inclusion of numerous many plot devices that have been taken from other well-known works, Guilty Crown also suffers from the rather tired idea that most adults are evil and only kids are able to save the world. I can understand that this idea appeals more to the young-adult crowd the show was aiming for, but the execution, like much of Guilty Crown, left much to be desired.

That said, the series does use some plot-devices and scenarios masterfully, in particular the way it recreate the “Lord of the Flies” scenario by putting all of the students in one place and imposing self-rule was done to stay consistent with the overarching plot. There are other, similarly dark influences that add a veneer of maturity to proceedings, but sadly these aren’t enough to support the inherent weaknesses in the narrative.

In terms of production quality, Guilty Crown is up there with some of the better shows of recent years. It’s obvious that a great deal of thought has gone into the background artwork and set designs, but the same isn’t true of the characters. For the most part they look good, but the decision to feature highschool students places an immediate limitation that becomes obvious when one considers the variety of features and body shapes found amongst the adults.

The problem lies in the fact that in trying to design younger characters, they had to include stereotypes in order to impart a degree of familiarity – thereby making the show more accessible to people. It’s an old marketing trick that has become a staple of the anime industry over the years, and while Guilty Crown has tried to be a little bit more subtle than most in its usage, one does have to question the logic behind some of the show’s characters.

Thankfully Production I.G. maintain their standards when it comes to the animation, and the series is littered with flowing, well choreographed action scenes. The characters are well-balanced in their movements, and a degree of care has been taken with those that are injured, disabled, or suffer from an affliction. Clearly Production I.G. has done their homework on this one.

However, I can overlook these inconsistencies. I can overlook some questionable plot devices. I can overlook quite a bit as far as this show is concerned. Why? To put it simply, the show is beautiful. The art is magnificent, and the sound wonderful. Everything is so fluid and Inori is just stunning. Couple that amazing art with a cliché story that becomes progressively darker, and I simply cannot help but enjoy it.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it all; there are plenty of areas that could have been handled better. The second half of the show, while my favorite in terms of mood, felt rushed at times. The first half annoyed me with its slow pace and murky developments. The character’s choices were predictable at times. But, even though we could predict them, it was because of the way
the story was told.

This is a show you’re either going to love or hate. You will either latch on to the little things, or you’ll take the bigger picture into mind and just enjoy it as it comes. Some people may draw parallels to Code Geass, but I don’t see them unless I specifically look for similarities. Even then, the ones I see are just general clichés rather than pieces drawn from the show. Some people may complain about the fanservice. I guess they’d be referring to Inori, or Ayase in her flight suit. To be honest, I didn’t see any of that as fanservice. It’s debatable, and heavily reliant on taste.

This show is not a master piece. It’s good, yes, but isn’t particularly insightful or groundbreaking. It’s eye candy, and interesting enough to spend a few days over. Storytelling is, after all, an art form, and a good writer can captivate their audience without overtly referencing where their “inspiration” came from. Unfortunately the folks behind Guilty Crown appear to have forgotten this simple fact, and it leaves one with the sad realisation that this anime had the potential to be so much more than it is.

3.5/5

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