One of the more popular anime in the last several months was undoubtedly Guilty Crown. Produced by Aniplex and Production I.G., Guilty Crown is a 22 episode sci-fi drama centered around a teenage boy named Shu Ouma.
In the near future, Japan is recovering from a near-apocalyptic event which took place 10 years ago, known as Lost Christmas. Tokyo was the site of a deadly virus outbreak that turned people into crystals, and in order to prevent it from spreading, a group of countries occupies Japan and places those infected under quarantine. Enraged at the treatment of the Japanese people by the occupying forces and the inaction of the Japanese government, a rebel group called the Undertakers rises up against them. Caught in the midst of a battle between the rebels and occupying forces, Shu suddenly finds himself bestowed with an experimental secret weapon: the power of voids.
Guilty Crown got off to a great start: it had an intriguing story, great character designs by Redjuice, and a wonderful soundtrack by Supercell. It had the potential to be one of the best anime of the year, but as the story dragged on, it’s easy to find yourself asking what exactly is going on more often than enjoying the series.
While the series had great production values and an interesting setting, it was very poorly executed. It’s one thing for the hero to suddenly obtain something that helps him win, but it’s another when that happens in every single episode. Whenever Shu was in a bind, he would literally pull something out of thin air that he would use to his advantage. It takes the seriousness out of the series and destroys any sense of suspense.
Another area where Guilty Crown scores poorly is with character backgrounds. After 22 episodes, you still don’t really know who some of the major side characters really are. They are still “that escaped prisoner” or “the old guy that looks like a scientist”. A little more explanation, like what they’re relationship to the main characters are and a title would’ve helped.
A lot of the characters also lacked consistency. There is so much backstabbing going on between so many characters that even if you kept a spreadsheet of it all, you would probably still be lost. As an example, in one episode a character tried to save a girl he was in love with and the next thing you know, he’s trying to kill her. Did something happen between them? Nope, the girl doesn’t even know his name and they never met during that time.
Guilty Crown had the potential to be great, but in its ambition, went too far overboard with the drama and forgot to cover some essential background information. It may be amazing when a hero nabs a win out of thin air for the first time or shocking when a friend stabs the main character in the back, but repeating that a few dozen times in the same series is just ridiculous. Guilty Crown is like the B-rated movie that everyone wants to see, but isn’t worth it. Watch it if you’re looking for good animation and music, but don’t bother if you want a decent story.