Just to begin, I should point out by saying that I’m enjoying Guilty Crown, but I have some problems with it. Know that I’m complaining because I want it to improve, I care about how it turns out. I don’t like disliking things (obviously).
Guilty Crown has a very large amount of problems, which is something of a pity as most people had it pegged as the show to watch this season. Here are 5 of the things I hate about it, contrasted with what I love about it.
Hate #1: It’s collapsing under its own hype
Guilty Crown has such a wonderful staff it’s scary. The writers from Code Geass, the director of Death Note and Highschool of the Dead, music from Supercell, animation by Production I.G. What could possibly go wrong here? As it turns out, a lot. It might just be that ridiculous expectations arose because of the staff, but the viewers expected perfection, and it was almost impossible not to disappoint. Hell, prior to the beginning of the season, when our team was still picking what we would cover or do first impressions of this season, I said something along the lines of “If no one picks this up, I will. Someone pretty much has to cover it” I genuinely thought it would be the best show of the season. Instead, it appears that most people seem to think of Mirai Nikki as the season’s best. (I’m inclined to agree with them, it’s awesome, and I never would have expected that)
Hate #2: The plot is incredibly reminiscent of Code Geass, yet fails to live up to its legacy
I’m not the biggest fan of Code Geass, and for all intents and purposes, it is a bit of a trainwreck, a beautiful trainwreck, but a trainwreck nonetheless. That’s a bit beside the point however, as if there was one thing Code Geass did well, it spun a great yarn, and was helluva entertaining to watch. Guilty Crown lacks most of its spiritual predecessor’s style and pacing, and suffers heavily for it.
Hate #3: Not a single character is particularly original
Our protagonist Shu is fairly likeable, but we’ve seen him before, in pretty much every show ever. He’s the intelligent but otherwise average, socially awkward teen who lands himself in an extraordinary situation, nothing new. C³’s protagonist is much the same, hell; they even share the same voice! (Don’t watch C³, its bad) Inori? She’s the love interest who follows everything our Shu says and does to a fault. (Though there is a reason for this, more on that later) Gai is pretty much Zero/Lelouch. The other members of Funeral Parlor are somewhat entertaining, but once again, are nothing original
Hate #4: Where is the logic?
Inori is ridiculously stupid. I don’t care if she’s under orders from Gai or anything (Again, more on that later), she’s just an idiot. If she is only acting, then can someone please explain why she just sat around moping and wondering why she was cold when Shu was arrested? When Shu was being rescued, how did she know he had a gravity gun? Or can she survive ridiculously high falls? Its small things like this which can make people enjoy it far less. Even if most of the audience won’t notice, take a bit more care with how events unfold, those who do notice will appreciate it.
Hate #5: Episode 2. All of it.
This horse is long dead; I won’t continue to beat it. Besides, Scamp has said it better than I ever could.
On the other side, here are the things I love about it:
Love #1: The action is super incredible awesome wow.
Say what you will about director Tetsurō Araki’s work, the man handles action incredibly well. Highschool of the Dead may not have been the greatest show (I liked it quite a bit, but I tend to gravitate towards pretty much anything involving zombies, so maybe I’m just biased) but holy shit, was the action cool. Even when it got completely ridiculous what with the matrix boobs and all that, it was hard to not be entertained. If I were just watching Guilty Crown for the action alone, I’d be more than satisfied.
Love #2: The characters have recently demonstrated some depth
Inori may be stupid, but at least there’s a reason for why she’s so attached to Shu; she’s under orders to act the way she does with him, nothing more. There will most likely be a romance subplot that springs up later, but as soon as her motivations became a bit clearer, I became interested again. If Guilty Crown is a tale of hero-making set against the backdrop of rebellion, then I’ll be a bit more forgiving towards Shu. He may not be particularly interesting to watch now, but the show should fix that, if we watch his character develop gradually and realistically, then it’ll be far more easy to root for him later on.
Love #3: The music is wonderful
I like Supercell a fair bit, and their soundtrack does not disappoint. The OP is awesome and has some great vocals, whilst the ED is a far mellower, quieter affair that still sounds good. The Background music throughout is consistently strong and fits each scene perfectly. The action is backed up by kinetic, energetic tracks that give everything a great sense of rhythm, while the music swells and almost feels oppressive during the tenser, more dramatic moments. Most of the other tracks also lend themselves well to the Sci-Fi setting. Speaking of which…
Love #4: The setting is terrific
One of my favourite movies of all time is Blade Runner, I loved the visuals in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and I’m currently reading a William Gibson novel. That should tell you plenty about my tastes in aesthetics and genres. I’ll be the first to tell you that in terms of plot, Blade Runner is solid, but nothing remarkable, but in terms of set design and aesthetics, Blade Runner may be one of the best looking films ever made. (Yes, I know the CGI hasn’t aged all that well, but that’s beside the point) Blade Runner carries a wonderful neo-noir look that’s grimy and sleek at the same time. Guilty Crown may not have the grime, but wow is it ever sleek, and it’s all the better for it. I love the design of the city, I love the minimalist feel of the apartments, I love those tablet-like monitors everyone carries with them, I could go on, but just take my word for it, the setting is great.
Love #5: It’s absolutely gorgeous
Sure, I’ve already talked about the aesthetics, but let’s talk up other aspects of the visuals. The character designs courtesy of Redjuice (whose DeviantArt page I recommend taking a look at, he’s an incredibly talented artist) are all sharp and attractive, but good character designs mean very little if they’re poorly animated, and wow, does Guilty Crown ever deliver on that front. This is Production I.G bringing their A-game and showing off about it, Guilty Crown is easily one of the most well animated series of the year, if not the best. Seriously, there is not a single frame of Guilty Crown that looks bad; I can’t even begin to imagine the budget on this series.
So there you have it, 5 things that upset me about the series and 5 things that make it all worthwhile, well maybe not all of it, but I still think that Guilty Crown is worth checking out, if it just acts on its potential, and the plot gets going, it could turn out to be something very special indeed.