October 2011 Anime Season – Why I’m Dropping Guilty Crown

Well…I guess when I had picked eight titles to continue with from the October 2011 anime season, it was inevitable that something would not stay the distance with me. And I’ve found one – Guilty Crown.

I honestly did try to like this one. But Episode 2 offered me a good number of moments that offended me and some glaring flaws have already appeared that I don’t have faith in being rectified anytime soon. The basic premise of the episode is that Shu and Inori escape the battle scene and return to Gai and the ‘Undertaker’. A very brief introduction of Ayase, a pilot/fighter in the group, is made. It’s clear Gai wanted to be able to control the power Shu now has and is very angry with Inori for letting things happen as the did – but he finds a way around it. A counterattack measure is made to liberate hostages in the area. It works. Shu declines an offer to join the Undertaker group, thinking he’s returned to normal life. No surprise the episode ends with Inori transferring into his class.

So – what in Episode 2 convinced me to drop this show? Well, several things: (and no, similarities to Code Geass were not any of the reasons. I longer find this show similar to Code Geass.)

1. There is no standout character that is screaming out to me to like them. Shu is a fairly weak protagonist. Gai seems quite untrsutworthy overall. His subordinates seem rather tokenish/generic. Inori seems more like a sex object/tool than a character. This is not a cast that is appealing to me at all. Ayase, voiced by Kana Hanawawa, was rather submissive and Hanazawa’s normally superior voice was rather lacking in giving Ayase anything substantial or definitive. Granted, Hanazawa usually voices very shy characters, but Ayase just didn’t have an edge or an obvious appeal. It was one very weak character introduction indeed. Tsugumi, voiced by Ayane Taketatsu (Azusa in K-ON!, Kirino in Ore no Imouto), is one incredibly annoying character. The voice and character are either intentionally irritiating or a very poor match. The catgirl behaviour just doesn’t seem to fit either. Gai – he’s a prick. And probably bound to turn evil. What else is there to say about him? Inori’s behaviour just creeps me out. Candidly placing Shu’s hand on her chest while she says she exists for Shu to use her  – this doesn’t make for a likeable heroine. I’m not keen on her singing either. Plus that scene where Shu and Inori are crawling through ventilation shafts and there’s a very crude behind shot of Inori wearing thigh-highs and skipmy underwear – it just didn’t match the mood of the  (people were being murdered!) at all and was completely unnecessary. And Shu – freaking Shu. I don’t find one thing to like about him and he’s…emo. There, I said it. Someone in the top 2-3 characters needs to be charismatic or have genuine appeal to carry a show like this. Instead, the cast comes off like a generic shounen cast, seasoned with sleaze and a dash of Black Parade to boot. And seriously, who came up with calling the group ‘ Undertaker’?! That is not a name that works. The person who performs under this name would probably find this use of the name rather pathetic and make this show ‘rest in peace.’

2. The music is very hit and miss. The ED was okay but the OP was very cheap. Inori’s in-episode singing isn’t doing it for me either. The visuals in Episode 2 were  a far cry from Episode 1. It seems a case of ‘here’s a beautiful looking episode -now here’s an episode more representative of how things will be!’ I.e. Someone probably spent too much of the budget in the first episode and things are already being reined in. Not that the visuals are now bad – they’re not. But they’re markedly down this episode. And this show was clearly relying on its visuals, so this is not a good sign.

3. The world setting/plot barely moved an inch this episode. A lot of the good shows this season had very powerful second episodes that really got the plot and world setting to the point you had a fair idea of what is now going on. Guilty Crown wasted any potential character development – side characters got minimal offerings with nothing to be impressed by. The leads are still fairly weak. And nothing of significance happened this episode. I know this is a two-season show, but come on…you can do better than this!

What I will say in favour of Guilty Crown is similarities to Code Geass can be left at the door to Episode 2. It’s got its own identity. However, what lays inside may not be what you are looking for. It certainly isn’t for me. And when I’ve got seven other titles I’m continuing with still, spending more time on another one I don’t find much to like about doesn’t seem worth it. What seemed potentially epic now feels like medium-grade shounen, which I’m not in the mood for. To those continuing – good luck and I hope it’s worth the watch for you. For me, it won’t be and I say goodbye to Guilty Crown.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mappy
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 12:19:42

    The squid survives and this show dies. 😉

    Yeah, nobody liked episode 2. The producers have just decided to head off in a substantially stupid direction.

    Reply

    • lastsinner
      Oct 24, 2011 @ 13:23:17

      This just doesn’t feel like a noitaminA show at all. Generic shounen tropes in a show that’s supposed to be aimed at young adults? No wonder Siren Visual went for UN-GO instead of Guilty Crown. It’s not like Production I.G. don’t have the production values or seiyuu talent to make Guilty Crown work, but…meh, I’m beyond thinking about this show again. And again, if a show is going to be a noitaminA title – target the demographic properly! Only AnoHana saved this time slot from financial disaster this year. Hopefully Bunny Drop sells well, but since it’s not otaku-oriented, I’m not holding out much hope.

      Reply

  2. kiddtic
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 15:29:40

    Well my response to episode was quite different, I liked Guilty Crown even more. I dislike the fact that there is a lot of blatant fanservice and the increasing similarities to Geass but I just enjoyed the action so much.

    Its also surprising to me how this show got to be in the noitaminA slot it doesn’t seem like a general audience show to me, but then again Japan is weird.

    Reply

    • lastsinner
      Oct 24, 2011 @ 15:41:39

      Well, we agree on some things. Its method of fanservice offends us both. I found it similar to Code Geass for a while but then ramiel pointed out to me it was really more of a typical shounen series. The concept can work but it’s using the wrong character mix. Unless Shu hardens up quick, it can’t work, because an emo male lead, a submissive female lead and a dick of a secondary male trying to subvert the emo male lead – this is not working! Code Geass got the frenzy going because of its character mix. Lelouch was uttelry charismatic, Kallen was spunky and passionate, C.C. was cold and classy, Suzaku was Laughzaku, etc.

      There’s been some rather weird choices for the noitaminA slot this year. Fractale was inaccurately aimed and merely Nadia of the Blue Water, poor man’s version. Wandering Son – Shimura is a great manga-ka but Aoi Hana bombed. Why noitaminA took on her other work I don’t know – this was never going to sell. C was just a mess. AnoHana had the simplicity and warmth that both otaku and those who usually don’t watch anime can relate to, so it worked. Bunny Drop is ideal for the demographic – I just hope its inevitable DVD release profits. No. 6 was just poorly managed and had lead characters that just clashed. Guilty Crown is a decent idea but wrong demographic. UN-GO has a very good world setting, but the characters need to get going FAST!

      If it wasn’t for AnoHana, noitaminA would have been in big trouble. I’m hoping Bunny Drop also salvages their year.

      Reply

    • Mappy
      Oct 25, 2011 @ 14:12:07

      The noitaminA slot is supposed to be one directed at the 18+ age demographic, so the majority of shows should be fitting in with the josei/seinen type of series. This past year, however, has seen a number of shows that seem to be aimed at a more otaku market, and Guilty Crown falls into this perfectly (just like Fractale, Ano Hana and No.6). The ratings have kinda bounced back up after the terrible ones with Fractale/Wandering Son, I so I suppose it isn’t entirely bad, but still….

      Reply

      • lastsinner
        Oct 25, 2011 @ 14:24:50

        Only AnoHana reaped the sales though. Bunny Drop hopefully will.

        I think AnoHana has a broader demographic in age and personality though. Since it focuses on the most basic of emotions – friendship, memories – those are things people can relate to. At least that is the impression I get from fans I spoke to.

  3. Dwango Watermelon
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 21:35:15

    The Horizonfags used the fact you talked up this pile of horseshit as another reason to hate on you. A bit late, considering you’d come round to the same opinion as everyone else by this episode that it WAS a pile of horseshit with the worst protagonist imaginable. But you know Horizonfags…. any excuse to try and defend their festering pile of maggot-riddled shit as being worthy of existence.

    Reply

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