ANIME, DISCUSSION – If you have been following the ramblings I have on Twitter, I am pretty much mixed when it comes to watching and talking about the anime series, Guilty Crown. It’s one of those shows wherein I just say it’s good and all, then say otherwise after a few episodes. All of my opinions about it are mixed and for good reason.
This will probably end up as a rant, so fair warning. Also I think this counts as a review (ish).
How the story flows
Guilty Crown is set in the distant future where Japan is under an interim-military government known as the “GHQ” after the country went into chaos due to the “Lost Christmas” incident where a large-scaled outbreak of an alien virus known as “Apocalyspe” spreads during Christmas day, forcing the United Nations to assist.
The main character, Shu Ouma, is caught in a crossfire between the interim-military government and the rebel faction, Funeral Parlor, which aims to liberate Japan from the oppressive GHQ organization and is led by Gai Tsutsugami.
Meeting with our main female lead, Inori Yuzuriha, gets him into this mess as she pleads Shu to deliver a syringe containing a substance known as the “Void Genome” to Gai. As he is caught in this crossfire, he is forced to use the “Void Genome” and thus obtaining the “Power of the Kings” wherein he is able to “draw out” people’s hearts in item form.
However, the “Void Genome” was intended for Gai’s use, and not Shu’s, he is forced to join Funeral Parlor or else – which he does, after countless hesitations.
Guilty Crown did a solid on its first episode by setting up the current timeline, the circumstances and using a very interesting point that Shu, our main character who is known to be the most indecisive bastard I have seen since Yuki from Mirai Nikki, is now wielding the “Power of the Kings.”
The supposedly key object which is vital to securing Japan’s liberty and the eradication of the Apocalypse virus is now under the reins of a socially-unstable high school student, Shu Ouma.
Shu Ouma: your hacked bank account in a nutshell
Throughout this entire show, he is constantly manipulated time and time again by people whom he trusts or just complete strangers. His personality is that of a person where they would trust everyone at face value and would not stop to consider their motives and beliefs.
First off, he is easily manipulated by Inori, a girl who he is incredibly flustered and infatuated by. As time goes on, he is later given the revelation that Inori is just a tool being used by Gai in order to get him into Funeral Parlor.
The best of it all: he is genuinely surprised.
Secondly, he is so emotionally-driven and easily shattered by any major incident or event that happens to him in the series.
For example, he gets slightly dismayed when Inori does not see him in a romantic light and is just being used by Gai through her. Another is when a certain love interest is killed during the second arc and now he gets emotionally broken – going on about how “she was the only one who believe in him” which is totally not what you want to say to your girlfriend about your ex-girlfriend.
Thirdly, he is indecisive. Shu Ouma rarely makes decisions for himself and relies on Gai, Inori or any other character’s orders/requests. The only times he does is: first, he decides not to rat out Funeral Parlor to authorities (probably out of fear). Secondly, he decides to become a ruthless leader of his school to get them to survive. Lastly, his insistence to chose Inori, a fake identity, over his deceased older sister and Patient Zero of the Apocalypse Virus, Mana Ouma.
The only analogy I have whilst watching Shu Ouma is that he is basically a hacked bank account. You go to an ATM machine and decide to withdraw an average amount of money only to realize that a certain amount has been taken away from your account – without your knowledge.
You thought he was this grand sum amount of money. Now he’s just a worthless bank account. Next thing you know, he has money again. Why.
The highlight of a few real characters
Aside from the main cast of Shu, Inori, Gai and all of those people, there are a notable amount of characters that gave some sort of flavor to this show.
First off would be Ayase, a disabled girl who operates a mecha for Funeral Parlor, and the hacker/technician of sorts in the group, Tsugumi. These two female characters were such wonderful people to watch in the show.
Most importantly, Ayase being this strong-willed individual who will not let her disability to walk hinder her contributions to Funeral Parlor. Every time she falls off her wheelchair, she will always insist on getting back up herself – stating that she wants to stand on her own two legs.
The relationship she has with Tsugumi as a partner-in-crime and best friend always has this refreshing image of friendship that whatever may be the situation, they will always be backing up each other and make sure no one falls.
One thing I would like to note is how Ayase opened up to the main character, Shu, about her longing to walk and protect people with her own two feet. She pleads Shu to release her void, which were prosthetic legs, in order to help her fellow students who were under attack during those circumstances.
It was one of Ayase’s key character points where she dropped her veil of self-reliance and understood that she, like anyone else, will need the help of other people in order to stand up with her own two legs. And stood, she did.
Secondly would be Souta – Shu’s bubbly and shameless best friend who doesn’t know what a social cue is during a conversation or a scenario. He is the perfect friend for Shu and the anime shows how friends can be at fault sometimes.
As Shu got even more driven by his power to lead the school, he earned some level of fear from his classmates including Souta. Being driven by fear, Souta betrayed his best friend and for good reason – he was not the same person as he knew and even Souta, himself, was so confused whether he was doing the right thing or not.
It was a pretty realistic friendship – it was not perfect: they laugh, they betray each other, and in the end, forgive.
Yahiro was a pretty generic example of how evil good looks like in a story-setting. His younger brother was under the effects of the disease and he turned Shu to the authorities for being a Funeral Parlor member in order to get some cash and vaccines for him.
Hare was, by far, the most under-appreciated character for this series. She loved Shu Ouma and it was far more better than this assumed romantic relationship between Shu and Inori which consisted mostly of just calling of names and stares.
Reminds me of Edward Cullen and Bella’s relationship in Twilight: interactions are mostly composed of stares.
Also I think the most shocking and bravest character I know from this show is Arisa. She was introduced as the all-respectful Student Council President who came from a wealthy family and her void was revealed to be an umbrella. It symbolized how she shielded herself with an umbrella of strength to protect her internal person of softness.
I think her highest point was when she was attacked by Inori after conspiring against Shu. She was pretty much in trauma and used her body in order to seduce men to do her bidding – all to orchestrate a plan to bring an end to Shu’s tyranny brought upon his grief of losing someone.
The antagonists felt kind of lacking. They were completely kill-able characters with the exception of the main antagonist, Shuichiro Keido, who is the mastermind of the virus’ spread.
During the last parts of the show, it was revealed that he and Shu’s father were best of friends back in college up until when jealousy arose after Shu’s father solved the mysteries of the Apocalypse virus. It was really interesting storyline and I was surprised how Shu’s current step-mom is actually Shuichiro’s little sister.
Adds up to even more jealousy and hate for him.
Guilty Crown was a mixed, emotional ride for me because of two things: Shu’s excessive inability to not do things right even though they could’ve been simply solved and secondly, the characters felt all too real which was uncomfortable at times.
I mean, all characters were very real in order for me to relate and sympathize with them, but at the same time, I was left feeling mad most of the time.
These characters did a lot of mistakes which affected the plot a lot. We have Gai’s methods of manipulation to keep Shu under his reins and it was so deplorable for me to see him do these things to Shu and feel bad for him – but at the same time, it was kind of righteous and was done with the correct reasons so I shouldn’t be feeling all too bad about Gai.
At the first parts of the show, I thought Gai was going to be the antagonist and it was more of: will Shu become greater than Gai?
Turns out Gai and Shu are, in essence, facing the same problems. They’re both unsure of themselves, they are scared – heck, they make a lot of decisions which end up screwing over other characters in the process.
I think Guilty Crown is a solid example of realism applied to anime but it still keeps that air of fiction around it. The characters were very real for me to sympathize and hate some of them, the setting was pretty much interesting and well-thought but it has its own flaws.
But I think the pros over the cons for this show and if you are reading this, you should watch Guilty Crown.
It is a great “gateway” anime as it basically shows how every show in this genre plays out.