Anime: Guilty Crown (Complete Series)
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Retail Price: $69.98
In the somewhat near future, a meteorite that carries an unfamiliar virus crash lands into Japan, changing the lives of an entire nation. This apocalyptic virus spreads and devastates Japan, causing the death of many which alters some of the characters present in the anime series Guilty Crown. We meet Shu, someone who lost those closest to him from the event which caused him to close himself off, become introverted, and not live as the person he once was. Things only get more strange when Shu encounters a famed pop star by the public name of Inori - but wasn’t your typical celebrity meet and greet. Inori ends up showing him things about this new world that he didn’t quite know, like the King’s Right Hand (a mutation that allows him to plunge his hand into the heart of humans to make them into weapons.
Despite being initially confused by his brand new abilities (as was I for some time) Shu soon discovers the importance of his mutation and that there are plenty of others hoping to obtain his strengths for their own benefit. The two factions of power seeking groups include a top-secret government organization with some definitive intimidation tactics, or Inori’s group made up of a rebellion labeling themselves as the Funeral Parlor. With Shu being the only one capable of making his own decision of who to join, the pressures of this futuristic world begin to become more apparent than ever before. The concept alone is enough to fuel my intrigue towards the story, but it can be acknowledged that it uses some unusual methods to tell their story - such as a mecha-ish inclusion that waters down the elaborate yet simplistic visuals.
With Shu being a fractured character from the time we meet him, a general feeling of pity is the major emotion that can be felt for the protagonist of Guilty Crown. He has a sense of self awareness that he uses to point out some of what could be considered character flaws (for example, his comparisons between himself and others he believes are better people than he is.) It can definitely be said that Shu is someone you want to root for and that he has so much to offer, being his own harshest critic throughout the story. While Inori can be used to draw in that fanservice seeking male audience, Shu isn’t created similarly to those traits which can make up for the cliche moments for a good amount of the series. Shu truly stood out of all the characters and one of the best reasons to watch the series would be because of his growth and characterization.
As I previously mentioned, Inori can be a token fanservice character during a handful of her scenes, but as a character herself she isn’t a weakness to Guilty Crown. Her romantic interests are discoverable within the first few episodes, only becoming more prevalent as it progresses. Her stoic emotionless demeanor can be seen in many female anime characters that are given similar roles, something I would have liked to see altered. With Inori being used as his weapon, showing vulnerability, makes it slightly one sided between their dynamic that could have perhaps been changed over time. It was strange that Inori was meant to be a plethora of character tropes we’ve come to see in anime, but there isn’t one entirely taken - blending enough to attempt a familiarity to others, with individuality.
There are interesting moments of the series where mystery and investigation are required by Shu and Inori. Early on, there is a character created to make you like him - a seemingly good hearted person who surprises you with his actions. Even when you think you can have an idea of what could happen, they find instances where the writer can thrown another curveball to pull you in more. Some of the side plots are captivating episodes of strong storytelling, and they find a few ways to make Shu’s abilities avoid repetition which could have been a concern for viewers to have initially for a series with over 20 episodes.
The animation in Guilty Crown offers spectacular character designs for many of the figures in the anime, most notably the lead characters appearances. Inori makes a great example of enjoyable art for the series, with others like Shu and Arisa being standouts as well. The explosions, battles, and special effects like art make it a visually pleasing series, other than my main gripe being the mecha introductions to Guilty Crown. The idea of voids and their various shape, sizes, and objects could be considered to be good or bad, depending on the episode - sometimes feeling too frivolous. The English dub cast didn’t have any weaknesses for any of the roles, something impressive to pull off after some become too cartoon like in voice over work. Guilty Crown brings a different type of story to life with strong visuals, pleasant dubbing and only a few noteworthy hitches along the way.
Overall Score: 7/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
Shu and Inori were great characters for Guilty Crown, I just wish they spent more time making Inori someone who shook the persona animes tend to place women in.
The art had some brilliant moments, as well as a couple computer animation moments that detracted from the beauty.
Despite having mixed reactions on many aspects of Guilty Crown, I did enjoy it more than other series that have used a similar approach.