One of the new anime airing this season is Guilty Crown, a series I admire for its ability to take an overused plotline and make it enjoyable. Guilty Crown is set to be 22 episodes and is produced by Production I.G. The story takes place 10 years after the outbreak of a deadly virus in Japan. During the outbreak, the Japanese Government was unable to cope with the situation, forcing the international community to intervene and ‘quarantine’ infected areas. The result is a country divided between the healthy and those that are possibly infected. In order to prevent the government and international forces from killing off anyone suspected of being infected, an underground rebel group called Undertaker is formed.
Caught in the middle of the fighting between Undertaker and the government is Shu Ouma, a regular 17 year old high school boy. As one of Undertaker’s agents (Inori) was delivering a stolen genetic weapon to their leader, she gets caught and passes it along to Shu before being taken away. Shortly after, Shu accidently activates the weapon, giving himself superpowers with which he uses to rescue Inori.
Guilty Crown follows the same basic premise that countless other anime have used: a teenage boy with few or no redeeming qualities suddenly gains special powers and uses them to change the world. Along the way, these ‘heroes’ usually face questions over their purpose, uncertainty over which side is good and bad, and an emotional slump. Guilty Crown seems to be leading into all of these areas, so what has people watching it over other similar anime?
It would be an understatement to say that the main female lead, Inori, has played a part in attracting fans. There are two things that make Inori stand out from any other anime character: she was originally designed by Redjuice and she sings original Supercell songs in the anime. Ardent fans of anime and specifically, Black Rock Shooter, will immediately recognize those two names. Redjuice is an illustrator who has been gaining a lot of attention for his unique character designs. He’s also a member of the music group Supercell, who are famous for releasing the Black Rock Shooter album along with Huke, eventually sparking an entire franchise around it.
Having up-and-coming artists work on the series isn’t the only thing helping Guilty Crown’s popularity. While most anime with mecha tend to focus in on them (giant robots are cool after all), they have largely been ignored in Guilty Crown. Mechas or ‘Endlaves’ as they are known in the anime, are present in most of the action scenes, but otherwise receive little screen time. The larger focus is on Shu and his relationship with the female members of Undertaker. The writers of Guilty Crown know their audience, and what else do teenage boys want more than to be a hero and impress all the teenage girls? Some people might say it’s just pandering to the viewer’s desires, but you can’t argue that it doesn’t work. There is a reason why the “average boy turns into a hero” plotline is used so much, and this is it.
Guilty Crown may not be the next Evangelion, Death Note, or even Code Geass, but with the way it has turned out so far, I’m sure it’ll still be worth watching for many people. Visit the forums to share your thoughts.