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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Initial Thoughts: Guilty Crown

Spoiler warning: Following post contains spoilers for the premiere episode of Guilty Crown/ギルティクラウン. Read with caution!

The story takes place in Tokyo in 2039. After the outbreak of the unidentified virus "Lost Christmas" in 2029, Japan has been under the control of a multinational organization called GHQ. Ouma Shu is a 17-year-old boy who has a psychic power in his right hand. He can use the power "Ability of King" to extract tools or weapons from his friends. He has been avoiding making trouble for others but his life changes when he meets a girl named Yuzuriha Inori, a member of a resistance guerrilla group called "Undertaker", whose members pilot mecha weapons to fight against the government. (Source: MAL)

Forgive me. I won’t be long. Mainly because there isn’t much to talk about, except for how much I wasn’t blown away by arguably this season’s biggest and most anticipated series, Guilty Crown. And I normally eat this kind of sci-fi mecha fantasy drama oddball anime for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – but the premiere of GC did not give me much incentive to keep watching, or to stop making mental comparisons between it and shows like Code Geass and Fractale. 

So: forgive me if I don’t automatically lavish it with praise and dub it the best show of the series, because it has yet to do anything to deserve any of that.

This isn’t to say there’s nothing good about Guilty Crown so far; the animation, courtesy of Production I.G., is very nice and shiny, and the music is very quality – although I don’t expect anything less when it is being done by Supercell, one of my favorite current groups. The character designs are also nice, although the characters themselves aren’t pulling me in yet, especially Ouma, our supposed hero of the story. I’m supposed to believe that it is realistic in-story to have a boy who is unremarkable and not emotionally connected to any of his friends will suddenly careen into danger for a young woman he’s just met and her robot? Color me unconvinced.

Also, remember how I mentioned Code Geass before? Yeah. Surprise – a lot of the people working on Code Geass are also working on Guilty Crown, and it shows in the story. The last scene in which Ouma receives his powers from the mysterious Inori just screams Lelouch and CC, and of course it all takes place in a Japan occupied by outside forces ‘for its own good’ – although in GC, it’s because a devastating virus made it impossible for Japan to support itself, while in Code Geass it was outright military invasion with no pretense about aid or assistance. And did I mention mecha? Because yes, there is mecha.

I also cannot not mention how skeevy the scene mentioned above is, in which Inori asks Ouma to “use her” as he takes in power from her body and into himself, making himself a soldier and Inori his weapon. Considering how Code Geass played out, you can say goodbye to Inori’s character as anything beyond a mysterious vague-sounding plot device. Are y’all sure Sunrise didn’t have a hand in this, because really.

Now, I’m not knocking Guilty Crown down before it’s even had a chance to get up – the first episode isn’t always a sign of a series’ quality – but I will be keeping my eye on it for a couple more episodes just in case it decides to make something of itself other than the Code Geass of 2011. And of course, you gotta dig that killer soundtrack.