This is part of a larger experiment: reviewing last episodes with a final review as well. This is the “Thursday Surprise” i mentioned before. It’s my 100th post!
Guilty Crown finally ends, with much debate on both sides on the merits of the series. I kind of find it ironic that the biggest supporters of this show were disappointed, but I was actually surprised at how really mellow this ending was. As much as I hate to say it, Guilty Crown ends on a unspectacular note. While I can argue about “What Ifs” and “Why Nots”, the main takeaway I got from this show was that it tried to be too many things and because of that, story and character development were basically ruined from the get-go.
What I liked about the ending was how it managed to wrap up whatever solid plot points this series had in a decent way. I already had a feeling that Inori would sacrifice herself, as the 2nd opening shows her utterly alone in void ruins. Was it rushed? Of course, and that was the main concern I had with this episode and the series as a whole. I have to say that Guilty Crown really reminded me of Eureka Seven (which I didn’t like) and Code Geass R2 (which I didn’t like except the last episode): they all have very interesting concepts, very engaging music and animation that works in their favor. But what all three shows share is a weakness in storytelling and in characters. For Guilty Crown, it was the utter lack of care towards building necessary character development to make us actually elicit some emotion to some of the events that occured on this last episode. I really liked Gai’s reasoning for having Shu stab him back in episode 12, but it would have been even better if there was some sort of development on Mana’s part aside from being portrayed as a psychotic incestual monster. Buildup is key for many series, Guilty Crown desperately needed this and it never truly got it. You have to go from point A to point B, but Guilty Crown’s formula for storytelling is from point A, head to point E, take a left hand turn to point D, go back to point E and stumble back to point B.
This of course was a big problem the series had, as events and details were constantly jumbled, replaced, misplaced or even forgotten (Oh, hi Kenji? Where were you the last 15 or so episodes?). As soon (?) as the staff realized this major snafu, we were already on episode 21. The damage was already done, so basically the whole idea was to take the remaining plot points and crunch them to fit this episode. It didn’t really work, because like I said before a key part of any series is to have viewer interest elevated to a point where you can really have a strong feeling or idea of the character’s actions and behaviors. Code Geass R2 survived mainly because the main character has an established goal to achieve, the personality to make that goal a reality and that’s why so many people including myself really enjoy Lelouch. But this isn’t Code Geass, and from the beginning all we saw was a wimpy kid head over heels with an internet pop singer conveniently obtaining the Kings’ power and so on and so forth.
Did Shu get some character development? Well yes, but by the time he did viewers had already grown to hate the bastard because of the staff’s inability to properly give Shu a more well thought development episode. Another problem with this show is that far too late, the staff realizes and shoe (haha..)horns forced character development to try to save their own asses. But it’s not just the storytelling that Guilty Crown suffers to correctly tell, it’s the characters themselves who have issues (I’m looking at a certain Kuhouin – no not the one from Kurenai).
The big problem with Guilty Crown’s characters is consistency. The folks at Production I.G. must think consistency is a loose word, because I don’t think consistently changing your character’s ideals and personalities without background is a smart idea. Take Shu, just another kid yearning for something new to happen and when something does actually happen, Shu runs for the hills until Inori has to come and snap him out of it. Boy meets girl, boy gets powers..cliche after cliche and while it’s hard to avoid cliches nowadays, Guilty Crown doesn’t even bother trying to do a good job at least making them seem less convenient. But there are actually a few likeable characters of Guilty Crown: Segai, Ayase and Tsugumi. These characters ironically received little actual development and it’s probably for that reason why they stand above most of the cast.
But there are good things about Guilty Crown, although it is more or less what everyone else already admits to liking: the animation (with a few derps here and there), and the music. I won’t lie, Production I.G. really put a lot of money into making this series, a completely standalone series with no base of built-in support fans. It really makes me quite sad that such effort was ultimately wasted on such a series like this. The music is also really powerful, but this episode highlighted the problem with randomly putting really loud and booming music. Don’t get me wrong, this show has a wonderful soundtrack but most of the time the song just doesn’t fit the mood. What Guilty Crown started with was extreme amounts of hype, and what it ended with was a big collective “Meh” from both fans and detractors alike.
Animation – 9/10 (A)
Story – 6/15 (F)
Sound – 7.5/10 (C+)
Characters – 11.5/20 (D-)
Enjoyment – 25/45 (D-)
Overall Score – 59/100 (F)