“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”
Ah yes, Guilty Crown. It started airing months back in the fall season when at least EVERYONE watched the first episode. People were more or less won over by the series’ magnificent music and design in its first episode. But shit began to hit the fan, and lots of people began bashing the series due to its despicable main character, Shu. But that topic will be talked about later. The 1st season was just something I would just watch while waiting for Amagami, Inu x Boku, and DxD to come out. But by the time the 2nd season hit, I was pretty damn hooked into it. There were just so many turns (some more “unexplained” than the rest, but still entertaining) at the end of each episode that I BEGGED for more. I liked it, it was simple as that. And come on: GUILTY CROWN, that’s a f*cking AWESOME NAME.
Organized Chaos ahead
Guilty Crown managed to be a highschool, love, action, comedy ride in its first season, but then an actual plot seemed to develop in the 2nd season after Gai dies, and survival becomes the main point from then on. Like I said, first season was pretty crappy (in my opinion) compared to the 2nd one. But I will admit, it was entertaining. The music was sex to my ears and the design was so damn beautiful compared to the rest of the stuff I was seeing every week. I kinda regret not covering it this season but I will have a shit ton to talk about in this post anyway.
Anyways, to make the synopsis short: Ouma Shu is a socially-retarded highschool boy who has no backbone and due to a series of events, he gets himself involved in an anti government group called the Funeral Parlor. Most importantly he is able to gain “the power of kings” or “Void” power. As long as he is able to look a person in the eyes, he is able to draw out the physical manifestions of the person’s heart. Shu now armed with this power, is dragged into the mess Japan is currently in.
Allow me to talk about the characters first and then move on to the bigger things
CHARACTER LIST! Opinions on each character
- Ouma Shu will be talked about in great detail later on
- Inori: I honestly never liked Inori as a character. She was hard to crack, was mysterious, but she never gained a lot of attention from me. Because she is so devoid of life and characteristics, I don’t have too much to say about her cause she’s just so boring for me. Did she really have to fight in her dress? How dumb are these kids
- Gai: Either I was not paying attention or it was never addressed properly: If Gai knew Shu when they were younger, why did he give him such a hard time when they first met? Anyways, Gai was supposed to be the main character, as the Void was meant for him but instead Shu takes it. I found Gai to be a rather fun character to have near Shu. Gai’s leadership abilities and just “boss” air around him made him a likeable character. However he dies, and comes back evil, literally becoming the main bad guy in the last half. Managed to be a dick for 7 episodes and reveal that he was the good guy all along too.
- Ayase: Kana voiced her. I love her already but she was in love with Gai in the start. Later on though, I’m pretty sure she had something for Shu. Anyways Ayase like everyone else, had some trouble accepting Shu as one of them. But in the end, she was a pretty beneficial character with her mech piloting skills. After Hare died, I really wanted Ayase to be with Shu in the end, cause Inori is just bleh
- Tsugumi: She’s basically Ed from Bebop, but only made for pure fanservice with that bodysuit she has. Not to mention those cat ears she has on. Tsugumi has a pretty flippant attitude, pretty entertaining. In regards to Shu, she wasn’t too tough on him I guess. Somehow, people paired her up with Daryl. Funny pairing, but it almost happened
- Argo, Glasses, Oogumo: They weren’t explored so well and Oogumo ends up dying. Argo was an okay character but when Shu had his evil laugh while holding his void, I really thought he was going to die. Glasses dude was just “meh”
- Yahiro: Yahiro and a handful of other characters really got to me. Most of the times, we see just one side of characters (or in this case, side characters). Yahiro and others basically have that good and bad side which Guilty Crown does a good job at showing. People have a darker side to them and they can be evil (or rather just have a darker side to) too. Anyways, Yahiro was the semi-bad guy in the first season when he sold Shu out to the government. But he really does become a friend in the end. I really hated Yahiro but he was an okay guy.
- Souta: Souta didn’t really have that quality I mentioned with Yahiro. Souta was just a kid who acted on whim and was reckless. Things turned the worse for him when his actions ended up with Hare dying. Souta was left untreated and was basically left for dead. I thought Shu would snap and beat the shit out of him, but bro hug won the day. More on that later though
- Hare: I loved Hare. She accepted Shu from the very beginning and I wanted to her to live through the end. Too bad that didn’t happen. But her death was needed to make Shu do something he needed to do to save everyone. Oh Hare, you will be missed
- Kanon: Glasses and she was a pretty nice person in general, not much to say about her
- Arisa: Like Yahiro, Arisa did a nice job in getting our emotions wrecked up. In the first half, she was a nice character. She had “some” leadership abilities but in the end, she become a hoebag and ends up getting shot. She betrayed Shu so I didn’t like her at all.
- GHQ Personnel: I really didn’t pay attention to these guys but I will name some people who caught my eye. Segai was an interesting character who had his own motives while he was alive and probably just used GHQ forces to see Void Powers. The dude who works with Daryl was a like able guy too, I was kinda suprised when he saves Daryl in the end and holds the baddies off so he could live. DAN EAGLEMEN was awesome, too bad he died so soon
- Daryl: I thought I would really hate this guy, but in the end, he was pretty cool. His very small subplot regarding his father and his “friend: at GHQ was entertaining to see as it wasn’t as convoluted as the other stories strewn about. In the end, Tsugumi x Daryl didn’t work out
- Kenji: Was there any reason in freeing him? Seriously? He ended up working with the GHQ anyway
- Yuu: The most mysterious character in this rushed series. They barely explain what Daath is or who/what he REALLY is. I liked his character, I’m also wondering if his void was the big energy thing Shu made while fighting him.
Now with those characters over with, lets talk about the main character, Shu. From the very moment I saw him, I hated Shu. Usually, almost every main male lead has some bout of confidence and bravery within him. Let’s compare him to some anime and game characters shall we? The writers in the show also worked on Death Note and Code Geass, both of those series had one of the best male leads ever concieved. Light was all-round genius with his planning and mental battles with L. Lelouch knew how to talk, pilot, and be a boss in general. Both were ordinary students (well, reknowned students) in the beginning and that changed when they recieved their powers. Light with the power of death, and Lelouch with getting people on his side. With their power, came natural confidence, as if they already mastered their newfound abilities. Shu on the other hand, was a loser from the start. He had a small amount of friends, and making any new ones was tough for him. What happened when he was gifted with Void powers? He panicked, but was able to survive. I can legit understand that. There’s something about the point of realisim that I wished to address here. Both Light and Lelouch were given “instructions” on how to use their powers, Shu was given guns pointed at him. Shu’s ability depended on him and a person with a strong heart if he wished to use his abilities effectively. He was literally using their lives as a weapon and that knowledge would later bite him on the ass later on. Hell, let’s compared GC to CG a little more. If Shu’s the Lelouch then, Inori is our C.C, Gai our Suzaku (only not a faggot), Hare our Shirley, Ayase being Kallen, and plenty of other character parallels.
However, something in Shu made me realize: This was intentional. Shu was SUCH a loser, I really couldn’t believe they made him a main character. Then I told myself that this was all a ploy for us to hate the main character. I think the people behind GC got it right, cause I REALLY hated Shu (and I know I’m not the only one) during the first season. I legit felt something in my head when I watched this: Man do I hate this kid. So I commend the makers of GC as they brought out some emotion (mostly rage) toward characters that really deserved some emotion. I basically continued to watch Guilty Crown for the sole purpose of watching Shu be molded into a badass main character. He eventually would to. He went from a awkward little puppy to a regular person, then to a completely screwed over tyrant (at least he had some goal in mind), to an armless loser, and to the badass I wanted to see. In my opinion, now matter how crazy those shifts became, I enjoyed seeing Shu become such a character in the end. Shu changed on the outside by a huge factor. He is able to regularly converse, lead, shut people up, and hell, flirt. But that still doesn’t change who he is inside, just a regular kid who doesn’t want to see people get hurt.
The characters might not be a 100% realistic, but think about it. If you were a guy who never really had any social experience or any fighting experience, you wouldn’t be so tough when you find out you can pull shit out of people’s chests. I personally would feel terrified and uplifted that I have such power, but still creeped out because I have guns pointed at me. Shit like “Did I kill this person?” “Is he/she alright when I do this?” and even more questions regarding the circumstance plays a huge factor in how you act. I don’t blame Shu for being a spineless coward in the beginning., he slowly grows out of it and learns to use his power, basic stuff. Like 3/4 of the series, he is able to stand against multiple foes.
Guilty’s Crown plot, as I have mentioned, took a big turn as Gai died and left the Funeral Parlor with no leader. It has a damn big plot turn as the series’ focus changed drastically to surivival and Shu was needed to keep the peace. The plot turns more focused as Hare dies and Shu wishes to administrate the Void Rankings to keep the high priority personnels under him and keep the “trash” to work. What the students fail to realize is that Shu really needs to get their asses moving if they want to stay ahead of the bigass wall thats gonna demolish their school in a matter of weeks. They want to put the hate on Shu, effectively betraying your biggest asset in this fight and survival. If they didn’t have Shu, the students would probably have just died without being able to do anything. Once again, I feel legit hate on these kids. It’s just like Braveheart, fight, die, and help gain freedom for your allies or just cower in fear and die anyway. Machiavelli once asked the question if a leader is better feared, or loved. In this case, the majority of the school hated Shu. While Hare was dying, she mentions the “good king” which basically becomes true in the end as Shu eliminates the Apocalypse Threat at the cost of Inori’s life and his sight.
Shu’s downfall was topped off with Gai coming back and choppin up Shu’s arm and taking the Void power from himself. Also, the key people in taking Shu down blew up, me gusta. After ALLLL the shit Shu gone through, what he has actually accomplished, and what he overcame ends up with him becoming completely powerless. At that point, I had some respect for Shu, because a few minutes ago he was under fire and he just took down the wall. Then Shu went as a hobo for the next two episodes and somehow gained ninja skills but most importantly, resolve. Shu’s decisions were usually done with compromises when he had his crown (void power). There were other people’s opinions to take into account and people he cared about to take into factor. When he was stripped of that power, he effectively returned into an individual and only his opinions mattered at that point. He finally found to take action by his own accord without anyone helping him.
“A royal gun salute to mark the King’s birth!”
That moment culminated when he tracked down his friends and mom to take the last Void Genome and to retake his place as king (I’m so sorry for all these metaphors, I couldn’t help myself). Now Shu must defeat Gai, the person who inspired him to be a leader in the first place. In the beginning, the VERY beginning, Gai (rather, Triton) admired Shu for his natural ability (whatever it was). But Gai was able to become a leader anyway. He was an admired leader who died for the saftey of his friends. But comes back, becomes an asshole and leads with authority, he stands above his subjects as king. When Shu first gained the power, he was just another weakass kid who tried hard, commendable but not admirable. When Hare dies, he basically was Gai when he came back. But when he regains power, he stands with them and becomes the nicest main character I remember. In the end, Shu becomes badass, but still remains the nice kid he was. Random part with Souta and Shu was kinda bromance-y, a scene which I kinda liked. As Shu returns, he once agains bears the burden of the crown only this time, he has a goal and his own void allows him to transfer the cancer onto him. The tagline of the series finally becomes meaningful
“The right to use my friend as a weapon. That is the sinful crown I shall adorn. I accept this guilt”
Shu’s own void allows himself to “memorize” voids and use them without having to have the person actually there to use their void. But as he takes their voids, he allows all the faults of the person onto to him as well. Souta who was infected and beyond curing, has his cancer taken by Shu. The first meaning of “Guilty Crown” we could interpret was that Shu was directly using other people’s hearts as weapons. He was directly putting them in danger but now he truly does carry the guilts of others.
TLDR version of above paragraph
Gai admires Shu, becomes a great leader. Shu now admires Gai and wishes to be a leader. Gai dies, Shu basically takes his place. Shu goes crazy becomes evil leader. Gai comes back, is an evil leader. Shu falls, later becomes best leader. Let’s finish this segment off with counting how many times Shu becomes awesome
- Shu making use of his powers while saving Gai. Compared to everything else he did in the first half, this was the best
- Shu going crazy after Hare dies. Something about faceless heroes and epic music can really turn unlikeable characters into badasses
- Let’s save everyone. Shu finally has some backbone in his voice when commanding others and frees his “friends” only to get his ass betrayed
- Shu comes back. After being a powerless hobo for 2 episodes, Shu tracks down his friends and regains his right arm along with his powers. Epic music and scene that made me go like this
In the end: Shu lives as a blind dude while Inori is dead. Shu is now just a regular person who finally has a group of friends. I kinda wished for more closure (like what the hell happened to Daryl) but the main character who at least deserved this much lived, while the boring character I generally disliked died. The ending basically won me over, if Inori lived, I probably would have hated it. But that’s really my personal opinion.
Well, that was enough of my thoughts on characters, let’s talk about the series in terms of stuff I liked (minus characters cause I’m mostly done talking about them)
The art was mindblowingly good. Shit looked beautiful from the very beginning to the very end. Same goes for music. BIOS is the goddamn epic song I have ever heard in an anime. Hell, Guilty Crown might just have the best anime OST (at least for a series with highschool characters but you have to admit, if you watched it for anything, it was for the music) I have ever heard in my LIFE. I loved the openings too, not too much love for the endings for me. My Dearest wasn’t bad (althought I didn’t like the engrish) but like I said, it looked f*cking amazing. However, you don’t see Shu like that until the last half of the series. The face filled with confidence is almost non-existant in the first half. The Everlasting Guilty Crown (epic naaaame) just looked a lot more…epic in general. 1st opening just looked lighthearted while the 2nd one looked pretty damn epic. Epic faceless Shu slo-mo walk ftw and foreshadowing with his arm. I’m taking small breaks while I am writing this (bad idea cause I lose focus) but I just watched My Dearest in full HD, it’s so beautiful. Although I didn’t watch the endings a lot, I sometimes watch the 2nd one cause thats when I actually started paying attention to the series. I kinda like the sequence how Shu struggles to follow Inori, then catches up, and runs ahead of her, so much spoilers everywhere
I think I talked about this long enough, lemme try and finish this.
Man, do I want Daryl’s uniform
Art/design and music was nice. The characters: I personally enjoyed watching them. The plot: It was “meh” but then again, I just watched for Shu becoming badass. The plot was pretty “all over the place” and they decided to put the backstory and explanation episode near the very end too. Oh well, it’s not the greatest story told but one thing is sure, it was damn entertaining to watch. Mad props for redjuice who drew the concept art as well. Random point but I LOVE the character clothing designs.
Where it counted: Guilty Crown was one beautifully looking, beautifully sounding, and in the end, an entertaining tale to watch. It wasn’t a great love story or the greatest sci-fi action story, but it was one damn fine looking story that was pretty much worth the watch. But then again, I watched it for Shu to become a likeable character. So I got what I wanted, not so sure how you people will take it but take my word for it, it was a fun ride filled with ups and down but it was one hell of an entertaining thing to watch.