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Guilty Crown: Aesthetics Can’t Save This Series

Greetings! I have two methods that I use for deciding what anime series to watch. One of them is recommendations from fellow viewers. The second  is based off trailers and promotional videos that you find online or in DVD/Blu Ray sets. I have found that for the most part that both methods are usually pretty reliable.In the case of the trailers you can determine whether the show looks aesthetically pleasing or not and a basic premise. With the recommendations you typically have the viewpoint of someone who has completed the experience.  There are always series though which don’t meet the expectations that you receive from these things.. You get really excited for the series based off of the really positive things that you heard and seen about it. The series looks like a wonderful piece of art. However, at the end you are just left feeling disappointed.  One show that falls in this category was a series called Guilty Crown.

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Synopsis (from Wikipedia)

Before the events of the main story, on December 24, 2029, a biological hazard known as the Apocalypse Virus brought on by an impact event plunges Japan into a state of chaos. This later became known as the Lost Christmas incident. Unable to contain the threat, Japan sought international help and the United Nations sent an organization known as the GHQ to their aid. The GHQ successfully contained the outbreak and restored a level of order at the cost of Japan’s independence. Ten years later, a resistance organization known as the Funeral Parlor waged a campaign against the GHQ in order to liberate Japan once more.

Thoughts

As my opening paragraph suggests, I was really let down by this series. I had expected great things from this series from the beginning. There are positives to note with Guilty Crown which I will address first in this review. This series isn’t a complete train wreck as they did some things right.

I will start with the positives for this series as there are certainly some good things with Guilty Crown. There are a couple of positive aspects to this series in particular, gorgeous animation and an amazing soundtrack.

The soundtrack should make anyone’s list of top anime soundtracks in my opinion. The music is a perfect compliment to the events occurring on screen and really captures the overall tone of the series quite well. The music is just amazing especially the opening and closing theme songs. The theme songs are of special note because even outside of the context of the series, they are just amazing songs.The songs are emotional and a bit haunting. It really fits the tones and themes of the series and honestly are one of things that stand out to me the most about the series. Out of these my favorites are “The Everlasting Guilty Crown”, the second opening to the series and the first ending theme “Departures”. Both were performed by Egoist a fictional band from the series.

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The animation can only be described as gorgeous. From the backgrounds to the digital effects every aspect of the series is a visual pleasure to look at. One of the things that really struck me was the color pallet used throughout the series. There is sort of a mystical sense to the colors used.  The overall feel is one of a very surreal/dream world. It seems real enough to be believable but different enough to provide a unique sense to the world that they occupy.  The style is gorgeous and fits the series perfectly.

The plot and premise to this series are really a mixed bag. This series really starts off with an amazing premise and does a great job of hooking you in to this version of the world. The first half of the series was really interesting and entertaining. The plot progressed at a nice pace, you get a lot of world building and you get the sense that the series is leading up to something grand.

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Unfortunately once you hit the halfway point, the series just completely derails. The plot really becomes a mess with explanations and history introduced which are just confusing. The characters end up making very dubious decisions, the plot focus changes from the idea of Funeral Parlor battling the establishment to the cast members being trapped in a portion of the city. You get new elements introduced such as a ranking system and the formation of a quasi government which really bog the plot down. The two halves seem considerably disjointed. It just felt like two different series to me. I liked the urgency which continued in this part as the “walls” are closing in on them. If that had been the sole focus on the plot then the second half would have been much better.  The pacing because of this change also slows down in the second half  until the final few episodes. And then we have the ending which sadly was not as amazing as I would have hoped. There is a lot going on at the end of the story and it is not explained very well. I found myself having to watch the ending a second time to try to make sense of what happened. Even this stuff wasn’t terrible but it just had the potential to be so much better.

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A second major issue really falls with the characters of the series. The characters really are not that interesting especially the lead characters. Shu and Inori are to put it bluntly boring characters. Shu is for the most part a one dimensional character.   He starts off as a typical student and really doesn’t do much to make you root for him. Shu does serve nicely as a point of view character in the beginning but doesn’t evolve too much beyond that. His “character growth” just amounts to him becoming a complete jerk. Yes the reason for the change is understandable but by the end of the series, I really wasn’t rooting for him to succeed which is something you want in a main character.

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Inori was a character that I felt had the potential to be so much more than they made her out to be. You see glimpses of how much of a cool character she could be but those are just that -glimpses. In most of the episodes, I felt like she was just a background character. She typically has minimal dialogue and is never really asked to do much except be a tool for Shu. You could honestly do a drinking game in some episodes where you take a shot when she says “Shu”. In many cases, it is the only thing she says. Really? She is the face of their resistance group and that’s all she can do is say Shu? We see how stong she can be and yet she plays second fiddle to a character like Shu. It just really doesn’t make any sense to me. I really wanted to like this character and I don’t hate her but she could have been so much better and done so much more in the series. It’s really just disappointment more than anything else.

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In terms of the character of Gai, I am a little torn. He wasn’t the worst character in the world but not the best either. He does serve nicely as a counterpoint to Shu and was in fact considerably more interesting. However as was the case with Inori, I felt that they could have done more with the character. Especially in the second half, the reasons behind his actions are a little mysterious. I wanted to know more about the character and why he does what he does in the series. An overall cool character, he might have been a better protagonist than Shu in my opinion. Overall, a solid character.

Gai...-

Not all of the characters were bad as the characters of Ayase and Tsugumi were all quite interesting to watch and added some much needed depth to the cast. It was these characters whose story I found to be much more interesting and grabbed my attention while they were on screen. These characters were certainly a highlight for me and are usually the first characters I think of when I think of this series. Unfortunately since they are not the focus of the series, we don’t see enough of them.

Guilty Crown is one of those series which had the potential to be an amazing anime series. The premise is cool, the animation is gorgeous and the soundtrack particularly the theme songs are amazing. However, the series has quite a few missteps particularly with the characters and the overall plot of the series. I wish I could give this a higher rating but after looking at the whole picture, I give Guilty Crown a Bronze rating with a recommendation to stream. As an example of how gorgeous anime can be in the visual and sound department, Guilty Crown is a great example. However there are so many issues which really hinder this series from being a must watch. If you are a fan of the series reading this review- I don’t think you are crazy for being a fan, I just thought that this series could have been so much more than what it was.

This concludes my review of Guilty Crown. What are your thoughts on the series? Do you have a recommendation for a series I should check out?  Please comment below. Also if you enjoy my content please follow me on twitter (@Railgunfan75) and Facebook (Railgunfan75’s Geek Blog) for news and update. So until next time, this is railgunfan75 signing off. See ya!

 

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2 comments on “Guilty Crown: Aesthetics Can’t Save This Series

  1. Kiersten
    May 26, 2016

    Everyone loves what you guys are usually up too. Such clever
    work and coverage! Keep up the great works guys I’ve
    included you guys to my blogroll.

    • railgunfan75
      May 29, 2016

      Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear that you enjoy the content! If you have any suggestions about content to explore, please let me know.

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This entry was posted on May 24, 2016 by in Anime and Manga, Anime reviews.

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