Weskalia's GUILTY CROWN Tv Review


The original character designs are drawn by redjuice.
The illustrator of the manga adaptation is Shion Mizuki.

Story & Characters

At first glance, Guilty Crown seems to stand out at a crossing point where it could appeal to many types of fans - those who like mecha anime, spectacular visual, or action-adventure, or even a bit of music from supercell. Even if it's a bit cliche, it sounds like a great idea at first: a deadly virus outbreak, a resistance army armed with fancy-looking robots, and an array of near-superhuman people, all thrown into a futuristic setting replete with gorgeous scenery and eye-catching costumes. But then something terrible happens: the direction went nowhere. All the way, everything we've seen is assorted fight scenes, new disasters coming and going, and the familiar artistry aside. But any actual motivation or sense of purpose? No. Nothing to report.

In the future, a deadly virus has devastated Japan, and shortly after the event, an international organization known as GHQ comes to rescue, putting the country under martial law while aiming to restore it. Many years later, high school student Ouma Shu lives a normal life and doesn't care about the ongoing events, all that is about to change after running into famous pop singer Inori, who turns out to be a member of a resistance group named Undertakers. Naturally, if he didn't prepare for the worst then he should be when he takes possession of a mysterious power that can draw weapons called Void from people. Then there's the charismatic leader Gai, who wants to make him a member, Shu doesn't like this at first, but when the GHQ sets their eyes on his power, he joins their cause to liberate Japan.

Guilty Crown started off as a big honking mess. It's pretty to stare at, for sure. The plot itself in the first half isn't bad: from the first few episodes, when Shu takes his tale of political strife and drives it straight into the kind of hammy, blood-soaked territory that would have been handled by Gai, it's obvious that a big mess is out of the question. Everyone is always on the go, and something is always happening. Fortunately, the show still finds time to fill in the proper backstory and introduce viewers to characters. Though less central, Shu's classmates and unwilling Undertakers compatriots all have emotional lives of their own, particularly as they relate to charismatic, manipulative Gai.

Guilty Crown is a soap opera. And a very bad one to add. We should have seen it coming, there were bad sights after all. While the first half aimed to find its own voice, but never got the chance to develop it, the rest makes a bold leap. However, at this point, it boils down to an awful plot twist that seems impossible to keep the story going in that circumstance, where the worst of its people are brought out daylight: cynical, ugly, misguided and turns on their fellow men. The story is less about the monsters outside than about the monsters inside, the people you're stuck with, your friends breaking under the strain. It's a mess of terrible writing, horrible characters, and absolutely no structure or regard for consistency or build up, and the plot - cobbled together from equal parts Death Note and Code Geass - is propelled at such a speed that neither its derivation nor its jarring shifts in tone have less time to rankle.

After Shu shows off his awesome potential in the first episode, he becomes an interesting case, jumping from one personality to another. When he's first introduced, he's a shallow, weak-willed guy, torn between wanting to go back to his old life and finally being part of something where people respect him. You want to feel sorry for him right? Wait until you see he transform into a selfish and mindless dicktactor in the later episodes, even giving off the "why do girls like assholes?" aura at some points. Come to think of it, his relationship with Inori becomes a central part, but they're too underwritten to provide the necessary emotional weight; all she's doing is being lack of emotion, constantly comforts Shu and shows off some dark hints of her humanity. And if that's how poor the characterization is for the lead roles, imagine how bad it is for the supporting cast.

Rating: 2


Now, Guilty Crown's foundation itself isn't bad. As Production I.G's latest offering, it's also an absolute blast to stare at, packing great animation and innovative mech designs, Guilty Crown is a visual feast in the nerd for everyone. Character designs by redjuice of supercell fame also help to make the character art and animation is uniformly sharp and the cast's attire ridiculously stylish (particularly stylish and particularly ridiculous in Inori's case).

Visually, the show is truly a beautiful series all around. Fantastical Void weapons from people that jaws really start dropping. Robots are diced, crushed, levitated, and thrown through buildings as Shu leaps, flies, and runs across anti-grav globules of water. Energies swirl and streamers of silvery... somethingness explode from the souls he taps. Missiles, robot armies, laser defenses and a giant prism field are all featured at different times, as are good ol' standbys like guns and knives and fancy martial arts. With Production I.G's muscle, it's the kind of series that's so good looking, it can get away with sweeping plot points under the rug because everyone's so distracted with the shininess on screen (maybe there's crack in those?).

Rating: 8


Unfortunately, the score isn't on the same plane. It's over-the-top, yes, but not always in a good way. Composers from supercell provides the theme songs, while the effect is certainly striking, it doesn't always cover its plain embarrassing. The songs themselves can be quite pretty, especially when Inori is doing the singing, but you can't help wishing they were used with a little more finesse. Shame, even the voice acting isn't that much of a praise; along with his bad characterization, Shu certainly brings out an earful monstrosity, while his seiyuu tries to make him sound boyish (or badass), it didn't work well, all you need to know is when Shu gets to scream a lot while he shakes Voids at people or to crazily shout out Inori's name every time when there's a catastrophe around. Ultimately, while his voice acting isn't quite cover-your-ears bad, it ends up sticking out for a lot of the wrong reasons.

Rating: 5


Some anime shows are so bad, you can tell they're going to be horrible from the start. Then there are shows that look promising on the outside, only to be completely hollow and unsatisfying on the inside. Guilty Crown is an example of the latter type, a series built on good intentions and crowd-pleasing elements that end up being wasted. Sure, it's fun to look at, kind of like a fireworks display or a pinwheel, but that's about it. There are a lot of elements within Guilty Crown that have the potential to be great standalone story particles, but as a whole, it lacks a sense of purpose. The Apocalypse Virus is neat, I guess, but releasing a crippling, humanity-destroying virus kind of seems like a generic bad guy thing to do.

With a weak script, a bunch of awful characters, and the visuals so incredibly flashy that its no longer amusing, Guilty Crown aims to be trashy fun but ends up as plain trash. No one can deny that it is shiny. If it's bright colors and mech fights you want, Guilty Crown is your kind of a deal. If you don't mind the plot, then might as well enjoy these pointless visuals for whatever they're worth.
Story: 3
Characters: 2
Art: 9
Animation: 10
Voice: 4
Music: 6
Overall: 4

+A lavish visual presentation, with striking character designs and over-the-top animation, make it a fun ride to watch.
+Visuals are pretty much the only reason to watch.
+The plot runs liberally on materials borrowed from other sources, with weak depth and weak leads.

Rating: 3

Final Verdict

3.83 (below average)

Reviewed by Weskalia, May 18, 2012


  1. MisaSasekage Moderator May 18, 2012

    At first GUILTY CROWN seemed like it would be the show of the season, offering the combination of the awesome animation quality, the mechs, and a plot about some sort of apocalyptic virus that could only be stopped by our unwilling hero would be too amazing a series to pass up. But not too far into it I quickly took back my declaration. Though it was a good show, it didn’t live up the expectations.

    The first thing you notice when watching GUILTY CROWN is the animation. Everything is really nicely animated, from the characters to the backgrounds and items they interact with to the epic fight scenes that happen nearly every episode. It’s quite clear that they pulled out all the stops on the animation quality and that is one thing that we’re thankful for. But while the animation is great it doesn’t distract us enough to keep us from noticing the pitfalls in the character’s development.

    The characters are all incredibly interesting at first, but soon enough you’re looking for more growth from them as the plot progresses and you just…don’t get it. Shu, as the reluctant hero, is unsure of what’s going on around him at first. However, as he gets further and further into the mystery surrounding his family, himself and the virus, he doesn’t seem to develop in a way that I hoped he would. One episode he’s incredibly unsure of himself and then the next he’s so focused on what’s going on around him and determined to accomplish whatever his objective is that he just turns into a cold, cruel, uncaring prick. Just when you think that he’s finally come to terms with his powers and what's going on in his life to change for the better, he goes back to being a weak-willed teenager completely unsure of what he wants.

    On some level, I could understand why this happens – I'm pretty sure that anyone in Shu’s situation would be unsure of themselves from time to time – but after he basically vows to become King of Tokyo and remove GHQ from their position of power, he only ends up putting on a cold mask in front of others but is still the wavering, indecisive Shu that we’ve see throughout the series, so nothing actually changes in terms of his character.

    In contrast to Shu’s up and down development as a character, Inori doesn’t seem to develop much at all. Throughout most of the series she’s the same complacent, unemotional character that goes along with whatever Shu wanted to do; regardless of whether those things were right or wrong. It’s only when I learn the truth behind Inori’s and why she’s alive to begin with does she finally show some more emotion and a bit of development. One thing is certain though; her dedication and love for Shu were the only things that remained constant. The rest of the cast didn't develop very much, but considering they didn’t have a huge role in the overall plot, that was somewhat expected.

    Poor character development aside, the plot was fairly decent but it was confusing and too rushed at times, and didn't live up to expectation, the animation was gorgeous and the soundtrack was nice to listen to.

    A very fair review Weskalia ^^

  2. darkkrisna May 20, 2012

    wow its kind of sad how this series got score below average but well i cant blame you with story and characters that make this series deserve that , the only think most of people like about GC is just the art and OST that I PERSONALY love
    anyway GC got really critic 'cause most of the people that watching GC are expexting too much , with redjuice and ryo that backing up the series , even someone who usually never watch anime will give a REALLY extreme expectaion and dissapointed in the end.
    but overall i think GC deserve better score , cause i love redjuice and supercell (my selfish desire so dont mind it)

  3. AirJack May 24, 2012

    Love the show but hard to root for the hero Shu. The character development is awful but still a good show.

  4. SnickerdoodleNinja Retired Moderator Jun 02, 2012

    As of right now, I've only seen the first episode, and I won't lie, I'm not hooked. I still intend to view the rest of the series because I'm curious, but the first episode didn't quite do it for me. But, now that it's finished, I do intend to pick it back up, for better or for worse.

    Honestly, if the show really played up the "monster inside instead of the monster outside," I think it could be fantastic. If, however that was unintentional, well then you've just made most of your cast a bunch of unlikable jerks. I'll have to wait and see which the show chooses, but I'm not particularly optimistic.

    Lovely job once again, Weskalia! It can be difficult to write about a show you strongly dislike without ranting or downright bashing, but you managed to avoid both things quite well in a way that we can all learn from. :)

    Side note: This is small, but I noticed what seems to be an inconsistency: In the story section you seem to hate the characters, yet in the presentation section you list "striking characters" as a pro. Was that an accident, or did you mean something by it? Just curious.

  5. Dancerinthedark Jun 24, 2012

    the first time I saw this anime in other sites....it was pretty popular and the reviews about it was good...also the grades BUT after I watched it...it was more than awful so the only review that interested me was yours as always :3
    I can say that the artworks are good but the storyline is similar to Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch...the characters didn't interested me either so after watching it ....I regret that!
    I can say that you are the best Weskalia-chan X3

  6. orange-lisa Jul 15, 2012

    I just finished watching it and I can only agree with you. I was deeply disappointed by the superficiality with which the story is developed and the lack of consistency of the characters. Moreover, for all 22 episodes, I could not shake off the nagging feeling that every event, every "twist", everything was a quote from Code Geass, anime that I loved and that I think is useless to try to imitate.

  7. Aliceblond Dec 16, 2012

    And as for me, I still think that Guilty Crown has much more than meets the eye. The worst thing about this anime was that its creators left too much "holes" and "gaps" in the storyline. It looks like they were in a hurry and didn't care to think everything well enough. I bet the public reception would be much better if the authors had put more effort in planning the story.
    Anyway I still find all the characters and the world realistic enough. They are veritable for me, I felt joy and sorrow together with Shu, Inori and even Gai whom I still love the most. He is not a cartoon evil mastermind, he is just a man, a bit crazy and egoistic. But outstanding no matter how you look at him. I admire Gai, he was cool enough to make everyone play in his hands. I can't approve of his methods and suicidal ideas but in general he is truly smart and even a genius.
    I keep listening GC OSTs all the time, I still collect GC art and for me this show is not over yet. ^^
    That is my point of view.

  8. fishshell May 18, 2013

    It started off a bit slow and the hero appearance was kind of typical. It had stunning visuals and a great OST with some questionable plot...For the character development, their motives and senses were shallow. The main character could just turn another way round in just one episode and turn back the other way in another few episodes. Well, Guilty Crown did have its moments, and from a show that went for the slope instead, that’s much more than I could ever ask for. My point of view ^^

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