Finally making a post after a really long time. Bringing to you a review for the anime Guilty Crown!
Note: I'll try not to have any spoilers, but if you do perceive any, its wholly unintentional. Be forewarned though.
My Rating: 7
Guilty Crown is an anime produced in 2011 by Production IG, and spans 22 episodes.
Plot: Japan has been desecrated by a deadly virus, a virus that freezes humans into black crystals and kills them, known as the Apocalypse Virus! Unable to fend for itself and contain the virus, Japan requested the aid of the United Nations, which stepped in and took control of all governance in Japan to better relegate the virus' spread. While things seem well and orderly on the surface, the abuse of the citizens by the UN's deployed troops, and their disregard for those suffering from the virus, stirred the formation of a group of rebels known as the Undertakers (Funeral Parlor acc to Wiki) under Tsutsugami Gai, which aims to regain the independence of Japan.
Ouma Shu was an ordinary high schooler, and he is as ordinary as they come. Socially awkward, he struggled to make friends, and put on a false persona to maintain some form of social life. Little did he know, soon all these things would be but specks of dust in the wind, as Destiny takes his life by the reigns. He finds Yuzuriha Inori, a popular singer of the band Egoist, which he dearly loves, injured in the midst of carrying out a mission for the Undertakers, and after some hesitance, goes to her aid, beginning his journey with the Undertakers.
Shu later obtains something known as the Void Genome, a power enabling him to see the manifestations of people's hearts (voids), and use them as weapons. This ability enables him to carve his own way in the world, even as it further descends into chaos...
That's the setting anyway... So what do I think about it?
Simply put, I like it. Like... but not love. It simply wasn't that spectacular. Let's run it through, beginning with the good stuff.
First of all, I loved the Visuals and the Soundtrack. Absolutely loved it to death. I'll probably be listening to the soundtrack for a long time to come. It is also probably one the prettiest non-movie anime I've ever watched. I mean, just look at this:
I especially loved the insert song used in the first half of the season. Chillingly cold and unemotional, yet warm and lively at the same time. The combination of the lyrics and melody gave a feeling of what I would describe to be... like a crystal, etheral and cold... Which fits really well with what is portrayed. The lyrics also spoke to me, as I reflected on happenings in the day. Do have a listen:
Narration and their plot twists were handled with finesse. Often times, a single sentence at the end of a scene would change the arc direction entirely. The characters were rather one dimensional, but their simplicity allowed me to understand the characters pretty well, thus building attachment... to the main ones anyway. As a result, I could only describe some of the scenes as... heart wrenching, if not downright "What? O.O" moments.
I seem to like it a lot so far, so why the bland rating? Some lame tropes and plot holes aside (distracted enough by Inori to overlook them in this case), Guilty Crown's main problem was that it was far too similar to Code Geass. So much so that it is as if it wanted to be compared to it. And Code Geass is simply not one of those animes you can knock over so easily. Let's look at some of the similarities.
Both Lelouch's and Shu's powers were unapologetically named the "power of kings". Plot wise, they are both seeking to free a Japan that was perceived to be oppressed to an unrealistically brutal state, striving to overthrow the ruling government (to create sympathy for Japan *rolls eyes*). And then, there was the forced subjugation under the intention of bringing about a greater good, that results in an internal rebellion.
Both had common robots that acted like grunts...
Even some of the plot twists, and more significantly to me, the best the two had to offer (Princess Euphemia's scene, as compared to Kare's scene), were far far too similar.
Pitting the two together also made the show's flaws painfully obvious. The cast of Code Geass was stellar. Lelouch was just so charismatic and badass! Karen was just so tsundere I couldn't help but kyun :P And Nunnally... frail yet strong. In comparison, I hated the weak and easily waylaid Shu. Till that last bit he had no idea what he wanted. I disliked Gai, who could have done his job without being an asshole but didn't. And I still didn't exactly know what the point of his rebellion was. Hare... I felt more for her. But she just felt weak as compared to Karen or Nunnally. Inori I liked the most, for her purity and loyalty under the circumstances. The rest of the characters... I frankly couldn't care less.
So, overall, a pretty good anime on its own. Storytelling, visuals and music were great. Character development was good. And I was taken for a ride. But most certainly overshadowed by Code Geass.
Well, till next time! Over and out.