When wanting to see what Guilty Crown is doing right, you don’t have to look far. It’s everywhere. The art and animation haven’t taken a significant drop in quality after the first episode, so we can expect this excellence throughout the anime. The artwork is still gorgeous with its brilliant use of lighting and the motion in the animation, especially considering the bulky movements by the mecha, has been tremendous. In fact, the animation used in the fighting sequences is probably better than those in the first episode, showing a more comprehensive battle and detailing more characters and mecha. And all those pretty pictures and seamless animation certainly help out another aspect that Guilty Crown is doing right: the action.
So far the action and fighting in Guilty Crown has been terrific. We’ve seen several different types of mecha fighting, getting trashed, beaten up, and always exploding, which has made for some rousing battles, even if we’re still wondering what’s going on exactly. The ground-personnel, mainly equipped with guns and laser-thingies, have added another dimension to the battles as well and provide another angle to the fighting making this more than just a mecha-dominated anime. Shu and his diverse range of weaponry certainly has made for some exciting moments, too. And even when there isn’t any fighting on screen, the characters (mainly Tsugumi) are still bouncing around (literally!). The only time they rest is when they start up on the story and the situation. And that’s where things begin to turn.
Even though it has only been two episodes, I can’t help but feel the set-up and the story are underperforming, at least from where I expected a series like this to be. The scenes just sorta seem to happen without any defined purpose or clear continuity and the explanations provided are a little lacking. At first, Funeral Parlor was stealing some genomic weapon (more on that later) and then they had a mission failure, losing the cylinder and a precious mecha, and immediately go out to rescues irrelevant civilians with their entire team and several expensive resources. It could’ve been transitioned or explained easier than what we got. The story, while still in its infancy, has taken a backseat to exploring Shu’s new power and developing the setting. While I’m very happy with both right now and realize that the story shouldn’t be explained entirely by now, I’m a little concerned that the story hasn’t really formed yet. So far it seems like there’s a resistance, an oppressive military, a powerful genomic weapon, and a virus that wiped out most of the population. These elements have been connected somewhat but there’s no clear direction to go from here. It will be explained further soon but it’s a little troubling to have no real story by this point when this season is only 11 episodes.
There’s only one aspect so far in Guilty Crown that has been wrong and that’s the needless inclusion of ecchi elements. Does this series really need bouncing breasts, jiggling butts, purposefully ecchi camera shots, and a wardrobe for the female cast that is either a full-body spandex suit or an outfit that is missing its entire front? This fanservice hasn’t crossed the line where it’s actually affected the enjoyment of the series but you have to wonder what else is in store for later episodes. Is this a theme that will continue throughout, showing off skimpy clothes, boob physics, and pretty soon naked chicks? Are we going to have a beach or onsen episode later? An anime like this with a brilliant staff, healthy budget, and vast amounts of potential shouldn’t need to use fanservice like this to tell its story or develop its characters. Unless it begins to be used to develop sexual tension or something, I feel that the ecchi elements in Guilty Crown are wrong or at least not warranted. Hopefully these elements will be downplayed in future episodes but we’ll have to wait and see (or not see) to find out.
One detail about the mechas that I appreciated in Guilty Crown that other mecha animes seem to ignore is the location of the pilots in these war-machines. It seems the staff of this anime realized that in the future, it makes sense to have the pilots located off-site in the mecha rather than having them inside the machines. There are trade-offs for each but this one seems the most logical considering that the pilots face reduced risks and that multiple people are capable of piloting the machine whereas it’s only one when they’re inside the machine. But the detail that impressed me was that Ayase’s machine, an archaic one used by Funeral Parlor, had the pilot within the machine compared to the others. Not only does it show the difference in resources and abilities between the two sides but it shows that technology has improved from whenever those old machines were left over in Japan to the infusion of these new ones. Minor, unrelated details like that always strike me as impressive or meaningful because they’re someone’s idea that made it all the way to the final product, adding another piece to the setting that is Guilty Crown. I hope to see more of these details as the series continues to help build a strong and inspiring world for Guilty Crown.