Guilty Crown was a catastrophe. From its clichéd and generic origins to its illogical, unsatisfying, and mismanaged conclusion, Guilty Crown was an anime without a structured plot, a direction in which to explore, or a team capable of saving it from its numerous faults. What began as an uninspired and derivative work ended here in headache and disappointment. That is Guilty Crown. And yet, despite all that, I watched the entire anime. Despite frequent storytelling confusion, irrational actions by its characters, poorly explained details, and countless other gaffes, I watched Guilty Crown in its entirely and actually enjoyed most of the series. Rather than continue to berate the beleaguered anime in its last post, let’s recall for what reasons I watched this anime.
It’d be wrong, at least in my mind, to call these redeeming factors of Guilty Crown since that would imply that they were able to cover the mistakes of the series but these few key points acted as such in their best attempts to save this anime. And while I’m only planning on covering the major ones, there were other factors that contributed to the anime’s enjoyment that won’t be covered in this post, largely because they were situational. There were some areas of the anime that were so bad, it was good, like the dictatorship-at-school episodes, and other scenes where genuine comedy in Guilty Crown made me laugh, like Dan Eagleman or Major Segai. But the areas of Guilty Crown below are really areas where I felt the show never fell below mediocrity and were actually positives of the anime rather than just outliers like the two previous examples.
Easily my favorite aspect of Guilty Crown were the action sequences. Though their placement and reasoning in the story could always be called into question, I’m specifically talking about the sequences themselves rather than any underlying factor. Guilty Crown always portrayed its action sequences with high energy, brilliant animation, and dazzling effects, making these scenes essentially delightful eye-candy for the audience. And due to the structure of Guilty Crown, a majority of episodes had action sequences or scenes in them meaning there’d be an exciting display of explosions, giant robots, guns, and whatnot in every episode. If someone created a single video that stringed every action sequence together in Guilty Crown and removed any story related dialogue from these scenes, I’d realistically admit that Guilty Crown would be an awesome anime. But unfortunately for me and most everyone else who watched it, the action sequences only contributed to a fraction of the anime, frequently being overshadowed by disagreements with the story and characters to ever be highlighted for what it was able to accomplish. The action scenes in Guilty Crown were highly satisfying and entertaining throughout and my favorite aspect of this anime.
Second to the action in Guilty Crown would be the cast of characters, who were largely an enjoyable cast that were muddled by awkward and incredibly forced character development. But even with that fault on them, the cast of characters were fun and enjoyable. Who could ever forget Dan Eagleman, perhaps the greatest thing to come from Guilty Crown. Major Segai was an entertaining character, too, often times pushing the anime in a direction that added action and comedy when the anime desperately needed it. And the female cast of Guilty Crown was often times enjoyable, too, especially after Ayase opened up and Haruka appeared. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Ayase had her void used during the terrorist attack. Despite it being unbelievably ‘deus-ex-machina’, she was able to be placed in the spotlight and prove her worth in the series. Haruka had always been a fun character and she never seemed to have a bad scene though some scenes at the end were unnecessarily overdramatic and borderline hilarious. Tsugumi always had energy, a nice attribute when the anime had frequently boring scenes, and Kanon was cute (why yes, that is incredibly shallow of me but the anime never developed her character, so what can I say?). Actually, all the girls were hot/cute in Guilty Crown, so I’m sure my subconscious had something to do with me liking this anime, too. There were even some things Shu did that I liked but his overall character was mismanaged throughout the series and often times the things I liked about him were often dismissed for new plot points or for some inexplicable reason. But overall, the cast was a positive for me in Guilty Crown and one of the most enjoyable aspects of the series.
And though I ragged on the setting a few times on my blog while following Guilty Crown, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for post-apocalyptic settings and this one delivered. Let’s ignore the whole Apoc Virus/Void system that severely injured the anime for me and look at the location where the anime is set. Essentially, it’s a devastated Japan with an evil military that suppresses its people through constant military presence, surveillance, and its giant robot forces. You have abandoned areas with toppled structures, an unyielding sense of fear and unease, and a resistance force out to fight and save the people who have nowhere left to turn. Yes, it’s a bit clichéd and overused but it is something that I love and appears frequently in my favorite anime. Though it was never fully utilized like other aspects of the setting, it is an area of the anime where I found enjoyment and found its inclusion to be quite favorable.
The one area that I did find to be impressive throughout but was never a point that I explicitly enjoyed and watched the anime for was the animation. I never watched Guilty Crown just for the animation or viewed scenes as enjoyable just because the animation was stellar. But still, the art and animation throughout Guilty Crown was impressive and worth mentioning even though it was not a point I watched the anime for exclusively. And that’s about it. Besides those areas listed above, I disagreed with most of the anime. I often viewed many of the other aspects of the anime to be mediocre at best and often never that high. Frequently, these omnipresent faults would overshadow the enjoyable attributes of this anime for me and I’d often be stuck on these mistakes rather than enjoying the scenes of the anime that I actually enjoy. These would often become points of discussion for me and my friends and I’d dwell on these errors in my blog posts. But despite all that, I did enjoy certain areas of Guilty Crown and managed to watch the entire anime based off these factors. Without them, I may have dropped Guilty Crown long ago but these features of the anime were enough to keep me from doing any such thing. Now that the anime has completed itself and is over, I can appreciate these areas for doing what they did and make an intolerable anime somewhat decent in areas. And if you think about it that way, it makes those areas even that much more impressive.
The final scenes of Guilty Crown showed what appears to be a happy ending with Shu and all his friends together but shouldn’t it be the opposite? Isn’t Japan screwed at this point? Doesn’t the GHQ still exist and still rule over Japan with awesome military powers and ruthless civilian control? And what about the rest of the world that was ready to bomb Japan only a few episodes ago? Even without those two obstacles, Japan’s infrastructure is completely ruined and there will be no government or military to enact law and order in the country. There will be numerous riots and gang violence and a complete free-for-all over resources. I’d rather see that than everyone getting together for some cake and smiles. Then again, if I had the ability to change one scene in Guilty Crown, I wouldn’t do it because the whole series would need a rewrite.
#1 by Joojoobees on April 3, 2012 - 5:05 AM
Heh, you deserve some sort of medal for making it all the way through to the end. I gave up on GC after about 5 episodes. It just kept getting dumber, and I couldn’t take it any more. I did check in with the reviews in the Aniblogisphere, but they seemed to be full of outrage about how it had gotten even stupider. I would say that I will put it in a special queue of train-wrecks that I might watch if I ever get the time, but I don’t have the time to watch all the good anime there is, so I won’t even bother.
The saddest part of all of this is that it is like the Anti-Noitamina show: illogical fluff, full of cliches, with a bias towards visually stunning action sequences and fan service. How the hell this got scheduled for Noitamina is beyond me.
#2 by avvesione on April 3, 2012 - 5:26 AM
Perhaps one of the reasons I was able to make it though GC was I didn’t hate it as much as everyone else, or at least it seemed that way (and that’s one of the reasons I decided to write a post on what parts I actually liked in GC). But yeah, the anime did get pretty outragous and stayed at a constant level of stupidity throughout. It was pretty awful.
As for how it got in the noitaminA timeslot despite it being rubbish? About a year ago they announced that they were changing their focus and likely wanted to add something more mainstream to attract viewers. The anime was plenty hyped but failed to deliever. I think with the new lineup recently announced at ACE (I think it was ACE), it looks like they’re going back toward their roots since this and BRS were probably among the lowest rated (as in watched) noitaminA anime.
#3 by Myst on April 3, 2012 - 8:07 PM
Better than me. I stuck with it all the way and hated on it with impunity each week (I think I only had one post where I actually praised it). That said, it wasn’t a total waste. I learned a lot about what I don’t want to do as a blogger, things that I probably wouldn’t have concluded if I had dropped it early on.
But more importantly, kudos to you for sticking with it and being able to enjoy things from it. Even if you did dislike it overall, it is good to be able to still discuss things that you think it did well.
#4 by avvesione on April 3, 2012 - 8:41 PM
Thanks for the comment and sorry about that project falling through. As you can see, I’ve been a bit busy for me to finish my GC post almsot two weeks after it aired.
Although you said you watched the entire series and hated it, I’m sure there were some aspects of it which you enjoyed. They’re overshadowed by all the other problems with the series but I’m sure you enjoyed something, even if it was something shallow like “Inori is hot” or whatever. And I’m glad to hear you learned while blogging it since that’s something I found out by doing Softenni last year. And I’m sure you learned a bit more about what anime you like and don’t like, too. When you put it in that perspective, the whole experience wasn’t actually that bad, was it?
#5 by Soji on April 3, 2012 - 10:32 AM
honestly i don’t find this a good ending at all. Not only for what you say in the last scene,but that last scene really is bad in more way than one. Is true that shu seem to be calm? but to me seem more like a living doll,don’t take me wrong.But the guy seem to keep living more because this life was give to him by Inori than anything else.How much this anime team hate him anyway? In all the whole anime Shu was the one to take more bad thing that anyone else. Why just not let him die with the girl he love? And they even take away is eyesight .that’s was really bad, i would be more satisfied if they kill him with Inori while they solve the whole AV thing,but they no. They let him live like a shadow that find is own happiness whey he heard Inori song and imagine her. That’ s was really sad. I see a ending where the 2 mc die and that was epic even if sad(Chrono crusade anime even the manga ending was great) . Or the first aquarion ending, that one as well was epic even if one of the Mc die and the girl he love stay in the world. But GC really fail a big time in the ending.
#6 by avvesione on April 3, 2012 - 11:28 AM
Sounds like you’re more annoyed with the ending than I am! I was actually hoping for an ending where Shu dies and Inori lives but I guess they didn’t want to do that becuase of Mana or something. Not really sure what they wanted to do with that ending by showing Shu like that but I guess they wanted to give him some sense of happiness at the end despite this happiness not matching his character at all (he essentially did all this for Inori and is now happy when she’s dead?). Like most of GC, it didn’t make much sense.
#7 by Soji on April 4, 2012 - 5:59 AM
Yeah. I can’t deny this. No misunderstand i was fine for how the ending was set up in the last ep. And the scene between Inori and Shu and Shu that choice to go with her and die with her.While take with him AV and void was nice it’s the follow up that i can’t acept . I feel like him survive being out of place or pointless. Honestly the only ending that would make some sense would be Inori and Shu die and the other alive like in the ending of this ep.But even here…would be strange for the reason you point out.And I totally agree with what you say about Shu in the end.Like I say he would be better of die with Inori. That would be in character.
#8 by avvesione on April 4, 2012 - 10:57 AM
Yeah, his entire purpose though the latter half of GC was to save Inori and he failed at that. He really shouldn’t be happy with how everything turned out.
You know what, the ending should’ve been everyone dead. That would’ve made things a lot easier.
#9 by exo on April 3, 2012 - 8:21 PM
Ugh.. I’m kind of glad I dropped this show early on. When Inori is the only thing keeping your interest in the show, you know something’s wrong. -__-
#10 by avvesione on April 3, 2012 - 8:43 PM
I’ll admit, Inori is pretty hot, that’s not a bad reason to watch an anime. But hey, by dropping the anime and visitng various websties, you get to see her as much as you want without having to succumb to the stupidity of the anime. That sounds like a winning plan to me!
#11 by Myst on April 4, 2012 - 6:50 AM
No, that’s alright! Things happen and you had your trip and all.
Hmm, I dunno.. It was still a painfully awful experience :P
#12 by avvesione on April 4, 2012 - 10:58 AM
If you wanna finish it off, just a few weeks late, we certainly can. Or if you wanna try another project together, we can do that, too.
#13 by Myst on April 5, 2012 - 8:29 AM
I think I’m going to let this one fall through. I’ve been so busy this past few weeks that I didn’t have time to work on it immediately after the show ended. And now that it has been a couple of weeks I really have no desire to go back and do anything related to that show. But yes, I would be more than happy to do a different project together in the future.
#14 by avvesione on April 5, 2012 - 9:48 AM
Certainly fine with me, mocking a series and making an entertainment read is a weakness of mine that I plan to develop whenever I have the free time (spoilers: never). Thanks for the quick follow up.