Guilty Crown – 6

Anyone notice a persistent haze of negativity surrounding Guilty Crown?  By now, one would’ve guessed that the series has done enough to dispel most of this jinx, but it hasn’t, at least for many.  Guilty Crown is suffering from a few different ailments which, combined together, might explain why the series just can’t shake this lingering pessimism.

When Guilty Crown began a few weeks ago, it started out with raving reviews on its animation and action, two aspects that have yet to disappoint.  But along with those positive reviews were some questions about the characters and the story, citing tired clichés and formulaic writing as two weaknesses in the show.  Since then there has been a spotlight on these latter two aspects to see how they’re changing as the series is progressing.  Personally, I thought both elements have greatly improved since the first few episodes.  Shu’s character has been explored to the point where we can understand the rationale behind his indecision and why he constantly questions Gai on his missions.  Gai has also matured, showing how the burden he carries from his organization affects him as well as some insight into a strange and debilitating illness that denotes some development regarding his past and his current motives for whenever the time comes.  And the story has improved, too, but only marginally since these past few episodes have focused on developing the characters rather than building on the foundation that has recently been completed.  But for others, they don’t see things that way.  Or if they do, they only see it in a negative light.  What’s up with that?

Perhaps the most difficult aspect to overcome this negativity is how the series has failed to live up to the high expectations it was assigned before the season began.  With images and promotional videos showing dazzling artwork and inspiring action, people figured it would turn out to be the best anime of the season.  Well, it looks like the best anime of the season but the characters and story haven’t exactly turned out as expected.  And for some of those who felt the same way I did before the season began, it has yet to match the level we thought it should be at.  Even if the anime is doing fine, some people will see it as underperforming and continue to feel cynical about it.  It doesn’t matter what improvements have been made over the course of the past few weeks, some people will still feel pessimistic toward Guilty Crown for failing to reach the expectations set for this anime.

When Guilty Crown first aired, it came with high praise but also drew some criticism by being similar to pretty much every other anime out there.  And most probably feel the same, including yourself.  Take a second and complete this sentence: “Guilty Crown is a lot like (name of anime) _____________.” I’ll let you think it over for a sec.  Okay, did you come up with an anime?  Okay, now, compare the two.  Which one do you think is better?  More likely than not, the anime you selected to complete that sentence is one that you loved in the past and find more favorable than Guilty Crown.  When comparing Guilty Crown to former favorable anime in the past, Guilty Crown will always come out on the bottom.  It’s hard to beat out an anime we loved so dearly in the past, especially when Guilty Crown has faults x, y, and z.  You may not feel the need to compare the two now but after the first episode, everyone was comparing Guilty Crown to a favorite anime from the past.  And some people are still using this as a way to gauge Guilty Crown, by comparing it to old favorites.  Continuing to compare this anime against high ranking anime will lead to negativity toward the series.  It’s likely this phenoemna is not unique to just Guilty Crown but it is a reason of negativity I’ve seen toward the anime.

Another reason why Guilty Crown is continuing to receive disapproving opinions is because people are steadfast in their prior opinions.  It’s difficult for people to change their thoughts dramatically, especially when going from bad to good.  People who initially thought Guilty Crown was underperforming may have a tough time flipping their opinion so quickly, especially with only subtle and gradual improvement.  And I’m not going to be a hypocrite here, I suffer from the same problem myself.  Usually when I have a negative impression of an anime, it takes almost the entire season for me to reverse my opinions and even then, I’m still not likely to give it a deserving score.  And I was pessimistic about Guilty Crown up until recently (besides the first episode), so I am guilty of this myself.  But the series has been improving, especially in the areas where people find the anime most critical and continue to disregard the stunning artwork and electrifying animation.  If that’s the case, then the negativity around Guilty Crown from these fans will continue until they see substantial improvement.  And it’s not like I really blame them.

Like I said previously, the improvement in Guilty Crown has been subtle and gradual but there are still many faults with this series that may be another reason behind the negative reception the anime continues to receive.  People still have problems with many of the characters, most noticeably with the main female, Inori.  For the style of the anime that Guilty Crown is, having stereotypical characters like her, Shu, Gai, and others does affect how some perceive the anime and how it affects their opinions.  Elsewhere, there are problems with the villains and how illogical they act sometimes.  Throughout the short run of this anime, there are instances where actions by the villainous military have left me baffled.  They are irrational in some of their actions which then lead to the heroes overcoming their obstacles in ways that come across as lazy writing, awful storytelling, or poor directing.  These inconsistencies can go a long way in causing negativity around the series.  Another reason might also be the sheer amount of clichés in the series so far.  The series hasn’t exactly been original and has taken steps in the right direction but there are many elements in the story that are just derivative and unimaginative.  Most of the story has been uninspiring while having amazing action and decent fanservice which is often an area where fans like to nitpick a series, especially when it tries to have a serious tone.  This is always a problem with some fans, even those who love the series, since they are tired of seeing the same tropes in every anime they watch.  Count me in that group, too.  And of course, someone may find general negativity from many of the problems listed above rather than having one singular reason for their pessimism.  Regardless of the reasons listed above, there continues to be some negativity associated with Guilty Crown.  So what can the series do to solve this issue when there are so many different causes for so many different fans?

One, and probably the most effective solution for this problem, would be to improve the story.  Making the story of Guilty Crown more original would be a start as it seems to be one of the biggest weaknesses of the series.  Relying on clichés has been repeatedly cited as one of the biggest problems with the series I’ve seen, so moving away from those elements would certainly help.  Additionally, add more substance to the story or more clarity on what’s going on would help, too.  Right now, there really is no clear direction this anime is taking besides Funeral Parlor liberating Japan from the GHQ and Shu having his void power but none of those aspects have really been explained.  Instead, we got an episode about a satellite that was just revealed and now destroyed without any real relation to the two other plot points.  It would’ve made a good sidestory but it was completely irrelevant to the central story, at least to what we know right now.  And another way the series could help alleviate some negativity is by addressing the inconsistencies in this anime.  By having more rational enemies, the series would improve its mood by being more serious and realistic (as much as an anime can get) all the time rather than most of the time.  Reducing the fanservice from the three girls would also help, too.  And if the anime ever goes back to the school, which it will because they spent an episode developing those characters, then at least have it be serious the entire time rather than being used for comic relief (save that for Tsugumi only, please).  That’s not all but those are some starting points the series can use to help improve its image.  The anime has recovered and progressed in recent weeks but there are still many out there who see this anime as a problem still.  If the anime continues on its path which seems to be a proper one, you wonder if it will be enough to save this anime among the majority of negative fans or if it will continue to have a split fanbase among those who enjoy it for what it is now and for those who still see this anime as a disappointment.

So how exactly did Gai and Kyo survive that laser blast from space?  Well, Kyo didn’t survive the event but was alive after the initial blast in the flames and wreckage but how did Gai remain unscathed through the entire process?  Perhaps it has something to do with his mysterious illness that only Inori knows about but still, even if it is something like he encases his body with the crystals from the Apocalypse Virus or whatever, it doesn’t explain why he was able to do that and if that’s even enough to withstand an enormous assault like that.  And we’ve seen the manifestation of the disease on his body, leaving him weak and dependent upon blood transfusions and frequent breaks.  But then he goes back to being superhuman with his martial arts (against Shu) or when fighting giant mecha (against Daryl) so I have no clue with what’s going on with Gai’s character.  And it turns out he may be related to that schoolgirl from the first episode montage scene, too.  That montage seems to hint at that schoolgirl becoming a victim of the Apocalypse Virus and a young boy that looks like Gai dying but there’s nothing definite about such a scene and even if it will explain Gai’s disease (the kid looks dead in one of those shots).  I’m not really sure what’s going on there with those two and their relationship but I do want an explanation on how Gai survived that laser blast from space and is doing just fine with no side effects.  And I want one for Kyo, too, even though she’ll probably be forgotten before too long.  Hopefully sometime soon we’ll learn more about Gai and his disease and his mysterious powers but knowing this anime, we’ll be back at school next episode for a break in the action and the story. Sigh…

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  1. #1 by Akairi on November 18, 2011 - 8:31 AM

    uwah i love reading your episode reviews, sometimes i get too blinded by my love for this anime that i fail to see the flaws they have, so i’m really happy that you pointed them out. =w=

    however, i do feel that this arc is pretty important, as we know Shu initially rejected them, so this can be considered as strengthening his rationale for joining the Funeral Parlor? he was mislead by Segai, and he became dubious of Funeral Parlor’s aim to “free” Japan. after busting Shu out, he still couldn’t trust Gai completely with his life seeing how indifferent he is with everyone relying on him. so that confession with Shu was pretty much a heart breaker for me. ;w; i find that Shu putting his life on the line to fight alongside Funeral Parlor is more believable now, rather then some anime whose hero/heroine’s all like “okay so i accidentally got this imba power somehow, i shall join a rebellion and go against the ruling party yay. 8D” without a second thought or have doubts on the people he’s going to stake his life with.
    the fact that he relied on Inori to prompt him to use his void to save Gai irked me though. i’m quite sad that he’s still that weak a character. D’8

    not sure if it occurs to anyone else, but i can see that there are some scenes/objects that actually reflects the character’s traits. like for instance in ep 2 there was this broken glass that reflected daryl’s face, it occurred to me that he was just like a kaleidoscope, with many reflections(diff sides) of himself. i was pretty mind blown when i pieced that with his void. okay i think it might just be me lol.

    i’ve always wondered that they have some very talented youths over there. most of the main chara are 17(or below). isn’t that a bit too convenient? especially gai. so mature and already a leader of a huge-ass rebellion at 17? takes years to build it up bro.

    i also find that a lot of characters haven’t been introduced properly or given more info about them, like shinbugi, tsumugi and kenji too. c’mon it’s already ep6!!! DDDD<

    nonetheless, i still love this anime deeply<3

    I'm sorry, i got carried away. OTL

    • #2 by avvesione on November 19, 2011 - 6:34 PM

      First off, thanks for reading my blog and writing a comment. It’s always a pleasure to see what people think since everyone has their own opinion and own voice behind every anime. And it’s nice to hear you love this anime and were able to write so much about it.

      I do like how Shu has his doubts with Funeral Parlor and Gai in general. I think GC did a good job of showing his rationale behind his decisions. What bothers me is that he seems to lose it all whenever Inori is around and she’s able to manipulate him however she or Gai pleases. I’m glad Shu has some backbone but I wish he had it whenever Inori is around, especially after she broke his heart in Episode 5. But I agree with you that this is an important arc and they’ve done a great job with Shu’s character.

      You make an interesting link there between the broken glass/kaleidoscope. If you can find other links like that, I’d love to hear them, especially if you can find something with that gravity gun or black flashlight.

      I don’t mind that everyone is a teenager in this anime for a few reasons. One, age is anime is arbitrary and everyone is always young. There are tons of anime where casts are younger than GC (Gundam especially). Two, this is a shounen anime, so the cast will be younger since it’s geared toward a young audience. The one problem I have with the age, though, is the random limit they set on the voids which is 17 or younger. That rule seems stupid and is likely only used so that Gai and other important adults don’t have voids.

      I heard GC is 22 episodes, so I think all the characters will get some level of development sometime in the series. Just when they’ll get their episodes, we don’t know…

  2. #3 by tsurugiarashix on November 19, 2011 - 10:20 PM

    Was a little interesting, but overall, nothing special. My expectations for this are slowing dying, but Shu’s erratic and childish behavior makes it worse. Oh, well onto to the next episode….

    • #4 by avvesione on November 20, 2011 - 3:13 PM

      I had to readjust my expectations with this anime but one thing I’m not complaining about is Shu. I’d rather have a protagonist go around and question these ethical issues and feel ambivalence rather than blindly follow orders around from a group he doesn’t agree with and from strangers he met less than a week ago. But he does act childish from time to time which doesn’t help and that’s what’s preventing his character from really being good.

  3. #5 by Soji on November 22, 2011 - 7:05 AM

    I agree with you with what you said about the hatred against this anime.
    I even agree with the flaws that you said but honestly they not bother me at all, probably because I started watching this anime without great expectations, but only because I was attracted by the background the music and characters desing.

    Anyway you seem confuse about the flashbacks and the dream in episode 5 right? All those flashbacks (except this one in episode 6 that is from Gai) they are all from Shu.
    It seems that Shu is starting to recall memories sealed in his mind and therefore appear in flashbacks and dreams.
    One other interesting thing is that in these memories there is the girl with orange hair that helped him at the end of this episode (and yes, it was not Inori but that other girl ,butI think you already know that )…and she seem be happy and nostalgic at the same time to see Shu.
    I do not know what relationship she had with him in the past but that she is important and that she care for Shu I’m sure on this.
    She even appeared when Shu dont know what to do to save everyone and wondered if it would just be there and watching as always.
    Plus at the very and we have the foreshadowing about Cocyctus(Probably this girl with orange hair that looks like Inori.).
    So I would say that this episode has done what he had to do.

    Anyway now I’m curious about the episode of the day after tomorrow.

    • #6 by avvesione on November 23, 2011 - 11:07 PM

      Part of me wants to think that those are all Shu’s memories but part of me wants to say otherwise. There were some shots in there that seems like they’d be a part of Inori’s memories or perhaps even Gai’s (who the Void Genome was originally intended for) but some of those flashbacks, including the bridge scene in the fifth episode, are certainly Shu’s. You very well could be right (and probably are) but I want to wait to see more before that conclusion.

      I’m not sure what relationship that girl had with Shu but she seems to have some strong connections with Shu (the nostalgia and happiness), with Inori (manifesting within her), and with Gai (being in the flashbacks together, wearing the same cross necklace). I don’t think we have enough information to find her place in the story, but she’s the most central character yet having connections to every major character and every major plot event so far. Will be interesting to see just who and what she is when the anime gets to that point.

      • #7 by Soji on November 24, 2011 - 3:11 AM

        I agree that not all scenes are memories of Shu but I think all those that are shown are first-person are memories of Shu. The dream on episode 5 (when Ayase comes ) is certain Shu dream.To tell you the truth I have the impression that the genome was intended for shu from the beginning if this was not the case why Gai did not take it back when I had the chance?And I become more sure of this when I saw Gai sick (during episode 5 the blood transfusion) now I do not know if it was his plan from the beginning or was Inori and the other girl plan …. but I positive that the Power of King was intended for Shu.

        For the girl I agree with you it will be really interesting to see who she is when the souls come to that point but if I have to say my guess she was Gai sister and someone close to Shu (perhaps his first love? Who knows).At least that is what I think.

        • #8 by avvesione on November 24, 2011 - 4:07 AM

          Interesting, I never thought about the girl being Gai’s sister. That would be something worthwhile if it turned out to be true and would give Gai a valid reason for warring against the GHQ. I think I’d like that.

          As for the Void Genome being intended for Shu, I don’t think Gai saw it that way. It may have been intended for Shu but he was clearly angry and disappointed at Inori for letting him activate it. As for why Gai did not take it when he first met Shu, I’m not sure. I don’t think he expected Shu to use it or even knew how to use it so he thought it was safe if he took it away from the battlefield. Maybe that’ll be something we find out later? Not really certain on that yet.

        • #9 by Soji on November 29, 2011 - 3:17 PM

          probably we’ll find out later , one thing for sure I’m glad that’s not Gai having the void genome is already so powerful and perfect the way he is.I do not think that power would suited him well.(manipulative as it seem to be).

        • #10 by avvesione on November 30, 2011 - 12:50 AM

          I do wonder what power Gai has. Remember he survived that laser blast from the Leukocyte that was pinpointed as his location and he came away without any harm? And he has that medication condition, too. There’s something about Gai that doesn’t fit quite right and I’m interested to see what his true powers are, even if they aren’t the Void Genome. But I agree with you that it’s better that Gai doesn’t have it because then he’d be a bit too powerful.

  1. Notes of Guilty Crown Episodes 6-8 « Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

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