21 August 2012

Anime Review - Guilty Crown

Title: Guilty Crown  
# of episodes: 22
Genre: shounen, mecha, science fiction

Story:  It’s the year 2039 and Japan is under martial law because of a traumatic incident that happened ten years ago, known as the ‘Lost Christmas’. Although no one knows exactly why it happened, during this event many people died from an alien virus and an international governing power, GHQ, stepped in to take control of Japan.
The story follows Shu Ouma, a high school student, who encounters an injured girl, Inori.  Before being taken captive by government agents, Inori asks Shu to take the genome she’s stolen to the leader of Funeral Parlor, a military resistant group that is working to overthrow the GHQ.  When the genome vial breaks and transforms Shu’s DNA, he suddenly has the power to turn people’s hearts into weapons and tools and becomes a key player in the fight to reclaim Japan.  

Story – The first two episodes really drew me in with an amazing fight scene involving mecha and huge swords (yeah, I like big swords and I cannot lie), and it only got better from there (~Episode 11!!!)The series takes quite a few unexpected twists and turns in the second half, after episode thirteen, and while the action was a bit slow at times, there was more emotion and character development and the themes explored really made you think: absolute power corrupting absolutely, blind obedience to a higher authority, and the disturbing qualities of mob mentality.  I know it made me stop and think- what would I do if I had incredible power over others?

Characters  The series really keeps you guessing about the relationships between a lot of the main characters, and there are quite a few surprising revelations (well, I was surprised anyway).  It took me a while to warm up to Shu’s character, but I really loved him in the second half when you started to really feel the pressure he was under, how it affected him, and how much it humanized his character. 
I never truly cared too much for Inori (I just felt she was . . .blah), but I loved the side character, Hare Menjou. She was so sweet and made me cry.  That’s a win in my book.

Ayase and Tsugumi
Giant Robots and Awesome Weapons – The mecha battles were pretty awesome, as were the mecha pilots on both the good and bad sides (although I thought Daryl Yan seemed to destroy a lot of robots . . .and for such a supposedly talented pilot! The female mecha pilot, Ayase, and the hacker girl, Tsugumi, were especially cool~  And the sword that was Inori’s heart somewhat made up for her stoic character (It would have been cooler if she had wielded the sword though . . .)

Soundtrack   The music was absolutely wonderful!!  My favorite songs were:  “My Dearest” by supercell (the first opening), Departures ~Anata ni Okuru Ai noUta~” by EGOIST (the first ending - click the link for the youtube video), and "Release My Soul" by Aimee Blackschleger (the song in episode 22).

The epic scene in episode 11 – Just watch and you will understand why.

Possible Pitfalls:

Inori – One of the artists on Deviantart.com commented that although Guilty Crown is a good series, it would have been nice if Inori hadn’t been such a wimp at times and I must admit I have to agree.  She broke into GHQ and stole that vial, but then she was constantly needing Shu to rescue her?  Sigh . . .  And just when she started to get kind of cool at the end . . . Double sigh. . .

Mature Content – The second half of the series (after episode 12, I believe) tends to take a darker turn and does become more violent, but it isn’t too bad. So this is just more of a heads up if animated blood isn’t your thing.  Oh, and there are subtle hints of incest as well (think Game of Thrones sort of incest).  But like I said, the second half does get darker.  So ye be warned!

Overall, I thought the series was really great!  The action scenes were good, but there was enough emotion and romance to satisfy my hopeless romantic side too.  Shu became such a likeable character and I admit, I was crying at the ending. (But I’m a big sap, so there ya go)  And since the positives definitely outweigh the possible pitfalls, I’m giving this series 4 out of 5 firecrackers~  So if you have some extra time, go watch it and then youtube the very awesome soundtrack!

Next week, I’m going to post either about my second maid café adventure in Taipei with a very good otome friend or our trip to a comic exhibition.  So until then, ja ne!    

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