I enjoy Guilty Crown. I wasn’t quite sold on it after its first episode, but after five it has me at the point where I can kind of look forward to seeing it pop up on the torrent sites every week.
Some of the folks I follow on Twitter immediately drew parallels to Code Geass; a comparison which is quite logical. That said, Guilty Crown does a better job of drawing me in simply with its aesthetics. While Geass certainly had a fine cast of doujinshi-friendly females, I’ve never been a huge CLAMP fan. I’m one of those people who prefers the Cardcaptor Sakura anime designs over their manga counterparts. Secondly, Geass never tried to make any bold statements with its visuals. It looked like Normal Anime, which is completely fine. I enjoyed that show.
But Guilty Crown features ProIG busting out their GITS-level fetishistic love of tech and atmospheric bloom filters episode after episode. I love the lighting in this show–it screams “21st Century Anime” in a big way that I can dig. It also bestows the show with the kind of dream-like quality this sort of immature youth fantasy needs. I initially had reservations about the way in which the anime designs more or less completely ignored Redjuice’s style, but I’ve come to appreciate them in the context of the show’s overall aesthetic. Long story short, I really dig the way this show looks, so it’s already sold me half-way.
As for the actual writing, Crown’s protagonist, Shu, initially rubbed me in the completely wrong way. Not only is he a milquetoast… he rubs the fact that he’s a milquetoast into your face with every breath he takes! The producers even went through the trouble of casting him with one of the pussier sounding male voices out there.
After the first 24 minutes of this show, I wasn’t a Shu fan.
But like a parasite, he’s grown on me. It’s probably because deep down I know I haven’t matured much mentally since I was 15 years old, so the kind of struggles he goes through aren’t unfamiliar. That said, he’s still a bit too much of a pussy. I can only hope for a Simon-style turnaround at some point.
On the subject of me being mentally 15 years old, I find myself digging the direction the show is going in. Yeah, it’s all been done, but if you’re as pretty as this show is, I’ll let some things slide so long as they’re just a bit more than serviceable. Similarly, I let a lot of SHAFT shows off the hook because they use their low budget well, and the writing is usually sharp as a knife. But to get back on track, I can enjoy this style of mainstream action anime, especially with an act like Supercell scoring the show, and the aforementioned kick-ass visuals. I like rebel organizations, robots, and things blowing up, and this show delivers all of that splendidly.
Never mind its pretty decent cliff hangers. They don’t sting as hard as Code Geass, Death Note or… Kaiji, but they do the job well.
Which I guess is something of a problem with Guilty Crown, too. Despite the fact that I’m able to enjoy this show for what it is, I completely do not see myself watching it again. While its story scratches some itches that needed to be scratched well, it could stand to do so harder. And maybe in a smarter fashion, too. Heck, while I enjoyed Code Geass immensely, I basically never want to watch it again. I do kind of want to give Death Note another spin one of these days, and I’m sure Kaiji will endure forever. We’ll see where Crown stands after 17 more weeks, because right now its story doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders. I like it, but it needs more feeling.
One other issue with the show is its opening. I’m all for low-animation openings (Hi SHAFT!) but flashing up bland character sketches during the low-tempo section of your opening song is just lazy. The other parts of the opening are okay (really dig “I’m yours~”) but I expect more out of ProIG. I don’t expect the Second GIG opening, but at least give me something cooler!