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Guilty Crown: The Complete Series
Guilty Crown is a science-fiction action anime produced by acclaimed animation powerhouse Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex). The series was made for Fuji TV during 2011. The series popularity resulted in a manga, novel, and video game version also becoming produced.
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world following a terrible event: a meteorite crash-lands on earth and causes a virus outbreak that takes out members of the population. Indeed, much of the human population has been affected by the virus. Who can save humanity? The series turns to high-school student Shu, who becomes a player in the battle for earth between a rebel group named Funeral Parlor and a corrupt government agency that is hurting the citizens.
Shu meets and befriends a girl named Inori, who is a pop idol, and who helps him to join the team of rebels. He also learns a special ability which is of great importance to the rebel team: Shu can reach into human beings with a method known as the "king's right hand" to turn them into elaborate weapons and can see their inner-self. He uses the power to fight the rebel's enemy and transforms humans into fridges, hammers, and more. (Frankly, that's kind of a weird ability).
The animation quality is absolutely impressive. This is a terrific looking and visually creative production. In terms of the production aesthetic, Guilty Crown is an awesome achievement with great flair and plenty of style. The character designs are fluid and worthwhile. The background art offers a detailed and stunning environment to the sci-fi series that helps the production feel more compelling to behold. Without a doubt, this is the best aspect of the show. In terms of the animation, Guilty Crown is a series that doesn't feel disappointing at all.
The music score is composed by Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill). It's an often kinetic and exciting score which blends well with the action and drama of the series storyline. Many action-heavy scenes succeed more than they would have otherwise with the help of the original score music. Sawano's contribute is certainly a worthy one.
The screenplays for the series are written by Hiroyuki Yoshino (Mai-HiME, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED) and Ichiro Okouchi (Turn A Gundam, Wolf's Rain). The series has some positive aspects: intriguing premise, characters, and some exciting sequences. Unfortunately, the series also feels quite redundant and repetitive: Guilty Crown is just like many other anime productions with a generic storyline containing an assortment of convoluted sci-fi mechanizations. Many of the series prominent ideas seem so convoluted and downright silly that it's hard to become as involved with the story. The series is a misfire creatively in this sense. The story feels so recycled from past anime productions that it doesn't stand out much.
Guilty Crown is too convoluted and confusing to be a great series. It would have benefited from a better story. Alas, Guilty Crown will mainly appeal to action anime fans simply looking for mecha battles and edge-of-your-seat action (even if the rest of the series isn't as much fun).
Directed by Tetsuro Araki (Death Note, Attack on Titan), Guilty Crown is a hyperkinetic action show with an array of well-orchestrated action sequences but not much else. Araki has a hyper stylized approach to anime which can sometimes be quite effective. His work is full of energy that translates somewhat to a better (and more entertaining) show.
Overall, Guilty Crown is nothing terrific though. Alas, despite some impressive production aesthetics and fast-paced direction, the series simply doesn't manage to be as impressive as it could have been with better storytelling. The series has a greater emphasis on action and style than on the plot. The story itself often seems absurd. Fans of action-sci-fi anime who care more about the style than the substance might want to check out the show for it's beautiful animation and the stylized direction but beyond that most viewers will find it lackluster. It's too bad the writing wasn't as good as the visuals or action. Guilty Crown ends up feeling average at best despite some impressive productions elements.
Guilty Crown arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in the original television broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen. This is a beautiful looking Blu-ray presentation. The series has terrific colors, clarity, and detail. This is actually amongst the better releases from Funimation Entertainment. The picture-quality doesn't disappoint. This is certainly a worthwhile native high-definition presentation which fans will enjoy. The image is also generally quite effective (without much of an issue with banding - a common problem on many Funimation releases).
The series is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD. The lossless sound quality is excellent. The English dub sounds terrific with excellent voice-work, depth, clarity, and dimensionality. The presentation effectively uses the surrounds for a more exciting and immersive experience. The score composed by Sawano and the energetic songs also sound terrific on the release. The music adds much to the experience.
Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing).
The set contains several supplements (more so than your typical anime release):
Guilty Crown: 4 Panel Theater - Episodes 1-11 is a collection of mini-episodes with Chibi-like versions of the characters. Subbed only.
Into the Void - The Creative Vision (10 min.) is a behind the scenes featurette with members of the Japanese production team. The featurette contains clips from the show and interviews with the creative team. Subbed.
Select Episode Commentaries featuring members of the English Dub Cast: Episode 2, Episode 4, Episode 15, and Episode 19.
Reassortment (48 min.) is a series digest: in other words, a clipshow episode which is meant to bring the audience up to speed at a certain point in the story.
Episode Previews: 1-21
Textless opening/ending credits/songs
TV Spots, Trailers, and Promotional Videos
U.S. Trailer for Guilty Crown
Trailers promoting other Funimation Entertainment releases.
Guilty Crown isn't a great anime series but it does have quality animation and action scenes. The storytelling isn't as good as the production aesthetic and is quite run of the mill. The series feels unoriginal and cliché. Even so, anime mecha sci-fi fans might want to rent it just for the quality animation and action set-pieces. Funimation's Blu-ray release is also top-notch and delivers an impressive presentation that will please fans of the series. It might be worth a rental (at best).
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.