Oh yes, Guilty Crown
This is by far, the most controversial show of the fall season, it’s either a love or hate. For the majority people, it’s a blind love, for the people with common sense, it’s basic hate. Prior to this airing, I was pretty hyped for the show. A full season followed by a cast of above average’s, and a huge production budget. I wasn’t disappointed with the aesthetics; the art and the soundtrack are ridiculously good. Mostly everything else however, was an inherent,inevitable, and regrettable disappointment.
I’ll split the explanation into two parts, “Why It’s Good” and “Why It’s Bad”
Why It’s Good
Art/Animation: The art is fucking great. It was outshined by Fate/zero’s unparalleled production quality during the first half of the fall season; but catching up to Guilty Crown after a temporary hiatus, it looks ridiculously pretty. The animation’s also great, the fight scenes are good. [I can critique art about as effectively as I can remain respectful in arguments.]
Original Soundtrack: The soundtrack is also fucking amazing. Most action soundtracks tend to be mediocre shit; it’s mostly the emotional soundtracks that stick with you after you’re done watching them; Guilty Crown on the other hand, has a blend of both. The emotional soundtracks are memorable, along with the numerous insert songs. [It also has fuckin’ broken German, who doesn’t like being cultural?!]
Premise: The premise of this also wasn’t mediocre shit. During the first few episodes, yes, it was ridiculously reminiscent of Code Geass. It was basically identical; a rebel group fighting against the core government, it screamed Geass; they even had storyboard members, who worked on Geass, on the staff of Guilty Crown. Now, after a while, they began to break away from the inherent Geass storyline, and form their own. In all honesty, the premise itself was pretty intriguing shit. It incorporated biological elements with technology, a decently defined system of combat, and just overall, cool shit. What Guilty Crown lacked however, was a good execution of these premises; it resulted in taking a decent source, and turning it into a shitty,mediocre, and laughable storyline.
Character-Yahiro: Probably one of the better characters of the show, he was actually developed in a logical way. He began as being relatively ruthless, and objective, but after realizing that he basically created a monster by influencing Shu; he began to change.
Why It’s Bad
Character-Inori: During the first half, Inori was nothing but fap fodder. She was an apathetic glutton for fan-service, she contributed fuckin’ nothing to the storyline, all she did was look cute. I don’t mind characters that exist to solely look cute, but that role is usually reserved for small animals, and not the major heroine of an entire series. During the first-half, she was ridiculously loyal to Gai, but after his death, she suddenly becomes attached to Shu, for no inherent reason [The first opening song “My Dearest” revolved around dedication in a relationship, Inori ignored Shu when Gai told her too, logical]. There was no development between her and Shu, it was instantaneous. However, you could also argue that she was essentially just a shell during the first season, she began to learn about emotions during her stay with Shu, thus learning what love actually is. Raised initially as a tool, she begins to develop actual emotions, once those emotions become fully developed, she was then truly in control of her will.
Character-Shu: Now, everybody’s on the bandwagon of hating this spineless idiot. I am too, I don’t like his character, he’s cowardly, and he pulls the most retarded shit at times. He’s emotionally unstable, and when he loses his sanity, his asinine actions as a result cost numerous lives. I simply don’t like his character. But from a analytic,realistic viewpoint, his character is fairly realistic. He was created to accentuate and fully exemplify the archetype of just another, generic, high-school boy with shitty self esteem. There aren’t a lot of things he excels at, but being a spineless idiot during the first half was an innate gift. However, during the second half, when faced with the sudden death of a close friend, he loses his sanity in ways, and turns into a ruthless despot. Now, people can call bullshit on this development; but if you view it from his perspective, it’s fairly realistic. Take this generic high-school kid, he doesn’t have common sense; he’s just another idiot waiting to be molded into another archetype. Given a catalyst, or the death of Hare in this case, he effectively changes into a full-blown dictator of sorts, but,his fervent love for Inori remains adamantly constant. This beloved staple of his remains constant; his development wasn’t entirely illogical, although not practically likable. Afterwards, he goes into a relapse state, this is also logically realistic. However, the primary concern I have for this character is his development. He is ultimately a “different” person than the cowardly boy he was at the beginning, but most of his development was forced; it didn’t flow.
Character-Arisa: During the first half, she was portrayed as a strong, intelligent woman. She had her mind set on doing whatever, and she usually accomplished it; she emitted the aura of being the ideal “strong female character”. What the fuck do they do with her in the second half? She whores her body off to get her way with things. I couldn’t give less of a damn if this specific attribute was given to someone much more inept, but come the fuck on. You gave her a 180 degree character change due to one catalyst, Inori attacking her. She wasn’t cowering when she was threatened during the first-half; why the fuck did she snap and suck off every other guy to get her way after being impaled by Inori? For a half-assed love interest?
Character-Shu’s Mother: To prevent her son from having responsibilities, she basically says “Fuck You” to the rest of the world. This isn’t motherly-love, this is borderline insanity. Her entire character, and back story was essentially built through one fuckin’ episode, not through subtle, incessant reveals, but through blatant, plain monologue.
Character-Daryl: Essentially introduced as the manic character of the series; it was pretty evident that they were going to develop him. During the second-half, it appeared as if he was going to change from his so called “evil” ways; however, it appeared that the writers of Guilty Crown went fuck it; let’s make him manic all the way. And that’s how it remained, up till the final two minutes of the series. He was suddenly swayed to change by the dying breath of the guy he essentially called a “dumbfuck” for the past season.
Character-Gai: Another victim of the creative storytelling that Guilty Crown insists on. The story begins with him as the leader of the Undertakers; he’s essentially the guy with the heart of gold, he invokes the strategy of tough love with Shu. Suddenly, his entire past gets developed within the span of an episode; he dies as an indirect result after. Given this, he’s suddenly revived in the second season, with no inherent explanation other than “It’s fuckin’ magic”, this time, a changed person intent on seeking destruction on the world. When Shu finally stops him, he breaks into monologue and explains his actions; he did it for the good of Mana, Shu’s “sister”. Then, he dies telling Shu to save Inori, and to be himself. Therefore, what the fuck just happened.
Storyline: Given a decent premise, Guilty Crown managed to fuck even that up. They executed everything in such a mediocre manner; the storyline did not flow. Numerous dei ex machina were introduced as staples of the series [Gai’s entire fuckin’ childhood friendship with them was developed in one flashback episode; so many developments, you won’t believe it’s not a soap-drama.]; they turned the unique concept of voids to nothing but meager weapons. The simplest analogy would be a box containing random ideas. Everyone working on the script wrote fifty, unrelated ideas, and put them into a box. Prior to each episode, they shook it, and drew a random slip. Regardless of the content of the slip, they used it. In other words, most of the developments were sporadically random, and extreme in some cases; this crucial flaw killed characterization, and the other fundamental components that could have made Guilty Crown great.
Threats: Back in the day, people made good threats in anime. It usually revolved around breakin’ a leg or two, you know, to get your point across. What does Guilty Crown insist on doing? They insist as using the threat of rape in every other fuckin’ scenario against the female cast. Hey, you won’t listen to us? Well shit, let’s threaten to do the fuck out of you. The fuck did you call me? You’re a quadriplegic on the floor defenseless? Well shit, let’s insinuate a rape scenario. Using sexual assault as a catalyst for sympathy is an effective, but low blow. It starts getting irritating after the sixteenth time or so. [Contrary to popular belief, threatening a character with sexual assault, does not make the series a psychological anime, or any darker for that matter.]
Politics: During the second half, all the nations essentially went, “Fuck Japan, let’s nuke it.” This shit does not happen in real life; it’s not very logical. Prior to this, politics wasn’t even mentioned, it was a sporadic, generic roundtable discussion going, “I don’t like dem Jap’s, let’s just nuke the shit out of them.” But in all seriousness, they wanted to nuke Japan to contain the virus. The general principle is to quarantine the country, not nuke the shit out of it. It’s counterproductive, and it raises arguments for moral grounds. Then again, history has proven itself to be ridiculously paranoid.
Potential: I believe this ties in with everything here. People wouldn’t give a damn about Guilty Crown if it had a shitty, generic premise, a lackluster OST, and mediocre production-quality. But when it has numerous significant’s and far above average’s in all of those, it’s basically having high expectations to be handed shit with glitter. To put it simply, it was a ridiculously hyped show, I hyped for it; what we got was just another generic shounen carried by pretty aesthetics [Essentially Ao no Exorcist, with prettier heroines and shittier developments]
Voids: The concept of a “void” is really simple, however it still held a lot of potential for characterization. It could have been applied and executed far better than it was, but what exactly does Guilty Crown play the voids as? Quite frequently, they serve as catalysts to a dues ex machina; the void is just too ridiculously convenient given the scenario. The ability of unknown voids match the scenario, and the ability of the known voids adapt to the scenario. I would have hoped for the void’s power to be similar to the wielder of it [Like Hare’s void], they could have gone into some complex symbolism; but rather, most of the voids were ridiculously well-suited for the scenario at hand.
Deaths: In most series, deaths have a meaning, when major characters die, even supporting characters, sympathy is felt, you feel somewhat sad. When a major enemy is defeated, you feel triumphant. How does Guilty Crown handle this? They use the formula of constant deaths; ranging from insignificant characters, supporting characters, and major characters. Hell, they even revived a few major characters for shits, with no inherent explanation other than the miracles of science. After a while, deaths became flavor of the month, they lost their meaning. Wasn’t shocking, but expected. It’s essentially pompous as to how they’re going “A lot of people die, therefore, this is not a generic shounen, it’s a mature, dark show.”
Philosophy: Guilty Crown tries to be an intelligent show by raising moral questions, most notably at the end with the allusion to the biblical parable of Adam and Eve. It’s a ridiculous sporadic, dues ex development; at times, I question if Guilty Crown is just a really intelligent parody on storytelling as a whole.
Well, that was a long-rant; I probably missed a lot of things. Overall, it was a disappointment, but I don’t exactly regret watching it. Treat Guilty Crown as you would that one irritating friend you have. He’s a consistent asshole, and he’s irritating, but over time, the thoughts of murdering him subside, and you begin to view him more as a friend, and less as a subject of your violent delusions. Meaning, regardless of the shit, incoherent developments at the end, I showed more empathy to the on-going situations, rather than a preferred apathy, if you watch it long enough, you’ll inevitably begin to give a damn about it.
I personally felt bad for Shu at the end, it’s a rather shitty reality. Even if his characterization was written by a magical box, if we assume the emotions as “true” and “genuine”, then it’s a pretty shitty scenario to lose the person you care for most in the world. Most anime tend to leave both the hero and heroine alive, or they kill both off. Call me a romantic, but leaving one alive while killing the other is a bit too cruel.