After a two week absence, Guilty Crown returns with a substantial character-driven, story-heavy twelfth episode that you would figure be better placed to end the Autumn season than start the Winter one (I bet they missed the memo that noitaminA anime are 11 episodes per season and had this one planned to end the first half, or at least it seemed that way). I came away from the episode, again, with ambivalence realizing the series performed well in some areas but continues to struggle in others. That’s been my issue with Guilty Crown in that there’s always some good and some bad. But one area of the anime has consistently exceeded my initial expectations, is generally overlooked, and has been a delight throughout the series. And that’s a topic I want to highlight from this episode.
The art and animation in Guilty Crown has always been a positive and motivating factor for me. From the first PVs to this recent episode, I’ve always been dazzled by the artwork and animation despite it being somewhat mainstream or standard. But Production I.G deserves some praise here for the effort and expertise they’ve put into drawing this anime since there have been zero complaints about the visual appear and aesthetics of the series. Kudos to you Production I.G, you’ve been brilliant all season and in all areas of art and animation which I pay close attention to.
The appealing art style and enticing character designs are both dominant factors in whether I like the art or not. Yes, the character designs are rather ordinary and commonplace but the characters do look more realistic or human than moe or cartoony than a majority of anime being produced today. Of course that only matters if the designs match the seriousness and story of the anime and I feel, although I disagree with how serious the anime takes itself, the designs are a perfect match to these elements. The art style always shows a high degree of detail in a majority of its shots despite these details playing no effect to the characters or story at all. It helps create a more comprehensive world seeing these irrelevant details. Additionally, there have been no serious drops in art quality either, even during sakuga sequences (more info on sakuga here) or heavily animated action scenes. Also, the use of vibrant, unnatural, or melancholy colors helps establish scenes according to desired atmosphere and the use of soft lighting compliments this well. There is adept use of color and lighting to flesh out the environment time and time again, especially in this episode where they created a supernatural world with bizarre perimeters and structures. I’m going to conclude this section by saying it was outstanding.
Likewise, the animation has been enchanting from its various riveting action sequences down to the simple kinetic motions of the characters. True, the animation hasn’t been featured as much as the first few episodes but it continues to satisfy me whenever the series needs to show some action and the animation displays it flawlessly. I sometimes feel the series has these battles and fights to show off the skill of their animation team just because of how well they are produced compared to their placement or purpose in the story. Though sakuga sequences habitually generate criticisms among fans in that they alter the art style drastically, the numerous and frequent sakuga scenes with no dip in art quality demonstrate that Production I.G is able to draw at a level most animators and fans can only dream of. That is, the sakuga sequences throughout Guilty Crown maintain the same quality and art style seen ubiquitously throughout the anime. That should always be a plus to everyone and an even bigger one to fans of dexterous and meticulous animation like I am. Although this episode did not have anything extensive when compared to other episodes, the animation never fails to disappoint in Guilty Crown.
Art and animation is often a challenging subject to discuss on a blog such as this since the use of examples is limited to screenshots and the body of each paragraph. I usually reserve it for minor points and mainly leave it at that but this is a theme I wanted to highlight for some time now. I’ve seen countless complaints and negative comments toward this anime and I’ve voiced a fair share already but I’ve yet to see anything like that toward the artwork and animation. Granted, there usually aren’t too many comments against the art and animation for anime in general since most do an acceptable job but with the constant negativity around this anime for its mishandled characters, haphazard storytelling, and questionable directing, there has been nothing bad said about visuals for this anime. As long as Guilty Crown can maintain this outstanding level of art and animation, the anime will continue to be an aesthetic masterpiece.
Probably were expecting me to add a blurb about my thoughts on Shu’s memories, Mana’s history, the sheer magnitude of deus-ex-machina whenever any Void is used, or the unpredictability of where the series will go next following Gai’s unfortunate fate, but no, I have another subject to talk about here in my final paragraph. Guilty Crown, I’m calling you out. You guys don’t know how jumping works, do you? The fact that Inori was able to leap to the top of a prison in the fourth episode with no assistance was awful enough but you had to do it again in this episode. Let’s revisit the flashback at the bridge where Shu and Gai are leaping across the gap. Rather than being affected by gravity or influenced by superpowers, the two boys successfully cross the fallen section of the bridge not through jumping but through floating. Yeah. None of these impressive jumps have ever been affected by gravity. The characters just move horizontally until they’re over their destination. It’s then when the laws of the universe resume and the character touches the floor. Please, don’t let characters transverse impossible lengths through impossible means. Please, watch people jump and see that gravity is always in effect and never pauses to allow for plot holes like these to be covered up. Or, if you choose not to, please do not have another scene where a character needs to jump ever again. It’s bad enough to have one insanely impossible leap in the series but to increase these cringe-worthy moments to three is unacceptable. Please, Guilty Crown, no more jumping for all of our sake.