FUNimation has finally brought over one of the biggest anime series in recent years, Guilty Crown, a show hyped up to no end as one of the best in years. Does Guilty Crown live up to it's hype?
Guilty Crown takes place in a future Japan, where a Virus (referred to as the Apocalypse Virus) had ran rampant 10 years earlier. An organization referred to as the GHQ was formed to contain the virus and stabilize the Government. Over the course of the 10 years, the GHQ has taken over and have somewhat become dictators to the nation. Some have taken issue with that and have formed a small resistance group, who are called the Funeral Parlor, whose sole purpose is to overthrow the GHQ and cause trouble for them at every turn.
It's here that we meet Shu Ouma (voiced by Austin Tindle), a typical socially awkward teenager, and our main protagonist of the story. When the story starts off, Shu is walking to his private hangout (which resembles an abandoned hanger), where he stumbles upon Inori (voiced by Alexis Tipton), whom he seems to recognize as a pop star and Internet sensation. As soon as he finds her, she gives him directions and a secret vial containing the Void Genome, the GHQ's greatest weapon, to give to a mysterious man named Gai (Micah Solusod.) After she gives him the instructions, the GHQ break in and apprehend Inori.
Soon after, Shu meets Gai (voiced by Micah Solusod), the charismatic and mysterious leader of the Resistance force, The Funeral Parlor. After meeting Gai, they mount a rescue mission to get Inori back. Amidst the battle, the vial is broken and Shu is given the Void Genome, or "Power of Kings." Essentially the Void Genome gives Shu the power to pull void's (described as someones inner psyche) from within and use it as a weapon.
Over the course of the next few episodes, Shu proves himself and decides to be a part of Funeral Parlor, where he begins develop relationships with Inori, Gai and some of the others, while at the same time being pressured by the GHQ to turn on his new found friends.
Around episode 10, things take a turn for the worst in direction. Shu goes from a decently strong protagonist to a weak emo coward reminiscent of Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion, which was a direction I'm none too pleased with. On top of that, in the very next episode, the cliffhanger to lead into part 2 (SPOILERS) involves one of the most interesting and important characters being unceremoniously killed off, which was the same fatal mistake Gurren Lagann made. Due to the developments, I'll be approaching Part 2 with some hesitance.
- The main story. I'm a sucker for a resistance group trying to overthrow a dictatorship plot.
- FUNimation delivers yet again with an impressive Dub. Most of the actors are perfect in their roles. My personal favorite performance is Micah Solusod, he absolutely nails the charismatic leader, Gai. He uses a voice that's definitely in his lower register, that seems like it'd be out of his wheelhouse, I love when actors do that and are able to pull it off without a hitch. Austin Tindle is another one who impressed me here, he's able to pull off both sides of Shu's emotions flawlessly.
- Soundtrack. Guilty Crown has a very beautiful score. (On a side note, people wanting to hear Alexis Tipton sing Inori's songs in English, sorry but they weren't able to dub them.)
- The cliffhanger for Part 2. Can't go into much more than I already stated, but it's a direction that annoyed me.
- Shu changing for the worst. It looked as if Shu was gonna lose the weak coward role by the end of the set which gave me a sigh of relief, but then the cliffhanger happened... and now I fear it's gonna be carried into Part 2.
Video and Audio
Guilty Crown is visually stunning. The characters are well detailed in close up and far away shots. Some of the best animation in a while, it is extremely vivid. The visuals are at their best when Shu uses a void and the battle scenes. The closely detailed and fluid animation in those key scenes are absolutely breathtaking.
Presented with 2 options for Audio, the first is a TrueHD English 5.1 and the TrueHD Japanese Stereo. I watched the English dub track and it sounds phenomenal. The music in the show is one of my favorite aspects of the series, and 5.1 track really shines here.
FUNimation went above and beyond with the extras for Guilty Crown. The best extra included are 2 gorgeous art books, both being 103 pages. The 1st is a character conception book and the 2nd are animation artwork. The illustrations inside are gorgeous and they're awesome collector pieces to own.
- Episode 2 commentary with the 3 leads, Austin Tindle (Shu), Micah Solusod (Gai), and Alexis Tipton (Inori.)
- Episode 4 commentary with Emily Neves (Ayase), Monica Rial (Tsugami) and John Swasey (Segai.)
- Into the Void: The Creative Vision - A 10 minute interview with the creators.
- Guilty Crown 4 Panel Theater Parts 1-6A - Basically a 7 minute chibi comedy segment, which is not dubbed.
- Episodes 1-11 previews.
- Textless opening and closing songs.
- FUNimation trailers.
- Guilty Crown trailer.
The limited Edition also comes with a beautiful chipboard art box that fits the series quite well, and a filler box to replace with your copy of Part 2.
Guilty Crown starts off with a bang, and continues that pace throughout the entire 11 episodes in this set. It's obvious why this was one of the more anticipated anime in recent memory. Despite my small criticisms, the 1st 11 episodes of the series are great, and I really hope the quality continues in Part 2. Highly Recommended.