First Impressions – Guilty Crown

"Guilty Crown"

From the writers that brought us Code Geass, we are graced this season with Guilty Crown.  This was one of the few series I was excited for this season and while it got off to rushed start, it presents a promising premise.

First impressions through the first episode:  “Genesis”

The episode starts out with a beautiful song about peace and the sorrow of why people have to fight. During the smooth song, we are thrown into a high tension escape of an oddly dressed girl who is being called a terrorist, together with her small robot companion called Funell. The chase ends with the girl falling off a bridge, then we cut to the next morning where our main character, Shu Ouma, tells about the current situation of Japan in the year 2029.

A virus called the “Apocalypse virus” spread and put Japan into a state of emergency.  Beyond that, we are not told how this virus affects a person, but simply that Japan had to request aid from and is now under the martial law of foreign countries.

As Shu simply puts it, all the citizens are simply told by these foreign powers that “We cannot let you handle things. You don’t have the power to protect the people that are important to you.”

Most likely because of this line of thinking, Shu suffers from low self-esteem and has trouble fitting into this society. He wants to be more, but somehow lacks the courage.

Shu feels guilt for a lack of action, yet only talks about it to himself

After school, he goes to his “hideout” which is more like a rundown warehouse, and to his shock finds the escaped and wounded, female terrorist, called Inori, and her robot hiding there.

Shu is a rather nice guy and shares his lunch with the Inori, yet he fails to protect her when the military discovers their hiding place and takes Inori away.

Meanwhile, Funell the robot still remains as a reminder of what Inori mentioned to Shu. “We must get this to Gai.”

“This” meaning a strange canister that was stolen and placed inside Funell, called “Void Genom” by the head government scientists. Shu took it out of Funell and put it in his jacket pocket.

And we have to get the Void Genom to this Gai…guy.

He seems like a nice person, don't you think?

Shu decides to take this mission on since he still feels the guilt of not saving Inori. Plus, Funell has provided him with a helpful map.

Every show needs cute helper robot.

Though, as Shu ventures to the circle on the map, that leads him to not only Gai, but also to an attack made by the foreign government on that sector of town in order to make the newly capture Inori talk, so they can find the thief of the Void Genom. They use the excuse of that that sector of the city is infected with the virus and proceed to order everyone residing in said sector to be shot on site.

It should be noted by this point that the government military uses giant, piloted robots to fight, so the sides are already unfair.

While explosions ensue, Shu tries to avoid the gunfire and runs across the path of the newly escaped Inori (an explosion blasted open the doors of her prison) who is now standing in the firing lines of two government robots.

Shu’s guilt has reached its max and he decides to do something crazy.

Running into the blazing fire, Shu grasps his only heroic moment.

While rushing in to save Inori, the mysterious canister in his front jacket pocket gets shot or explodes as he runs to save Inori.

Then something crazy does happen.

He has flashbacks once again and pulls a huge sword out of Inori’s chest and strikes the robots down easily.

The episode ends with this, leaving you bewildered and in awe.

Shu's finest hour.

In the first episode, they’ve managed to introduce some key elements, such as a forgotten past of Shu as well as a “bond of hearts” that the guilty crown creates. And of course, guilt is a very strong element in this series, reflected in Shu mainly. He feels a strong sense of guilt for not doing anything helpful in Japan as well as not being able to save those he cares about.

I’m curious to see where this story will lead us.

The subtitle to Guilty Crown is “The right to use my friend as a weapon; that is the guilty crown I shall adorn.”

The art and animation in Guilty Crown was designed by an illustrator called Redjuice and put together by the company Production IG. I was happy to see the characters not overly stylized, but still maintaining a “not quite real” feeling. The protagonist, Shu’s, design is a bit exaggerated to make him look as harmless as possible, and the costumes, like the one that Inori wears for example, are more eye candy than actually usable.

The music is slightly memorable, but also a bit mismatched. The harder rock music of the fight scenes doesn’t really match the rest of the series’ darker and softer music.

Guilty Crown was snagged by Funimation early on and is currently being aired on their site.


11 thoughts on “First Impressions – Guilty Crown

  1. Sounds really cool! I would watch the show, but since it’s by the same people as Code Geass I’m guessing it’s very violent, no? Maybe sometime in the future when I’m less squeamish…

    1. Judging from the first episode, it seems to lean towards more explosions and gun violence than a lot of blood and gore. Robots are getting most of any chopping actions (with Shu’s newly gained sword for example), The exception is when Gai beats up some thugs and there’s some blood flying, for visual effect I assume. I’ll keep a note of the levels of violence as I continue to follow this series. ^_^

  2. I was so excited to see this anime come out. I was counting down the days. I completely agree with everything that was said in this post, especially the part about the female protagonists clothing. I really enjoyed the rest of the episode.

    Nice job Goldy, and welcome to Beneath The Tangles, it is so cool to have some new people around here. Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks for the welcome! I’m so happy to see that you liked the first episode of Guilty Crown. For the most part, I have only seen negative reactions from most of my friends who saw the first episode. I will admit it had a few glitches, but it has a steady start that will hopefully grow into something brilliant.

      1. I really enjoyed the first episode, but I think if I let my expectations get to me, I would’ve been disappointed like your friends. I expected the possibility of something genius, and this it may not be (or maybe it will – we’ll see!), but I enjoyed the episode as something a bit different from what I expected. I thought the opening minutes with the song mixed into the action was particularly cool.

        1. I think that you are right. I expect quite a bit from this series, because it has potential. I am trying quite hard to not be overly critical of it. I do however think that the art style and music contribute to my enjoyment so far. The beginning was by far my favorite part. I also, enjoyed the fact that the main character was down to earth instead of being, like most shonen style protagonists, arrogant and self centered.

          1. I definitely agree with you regarding Shu. He has a more quiet personality and isn’t really the “hero” type (like a lot of shonen protagonists are). He’s thrown into this sudden turmoil and we honestly feel for the guy because it’s a lot more powerful to see a coward become a hero than an already assertive guy become the hero.

  3. The first episode was pretty nice. I just hope that he doesn’t go swinging his giant extended arm around each time though…

    1. Hopefully they’ll mix it up each episode. The trend of “enemy of the week that we slice with the giant sword we pulled out of our friend” may get a bit boring after a while.

  4. I was all for the animation in the first episode. They are stunning. Comes episode two… I have to ask myself… why do I even bother with this show…

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