GUILTY CROWN Preface: There comes a point where bad reviews on a series lead to more bad reviews. Thats not necessarily a bad thing but I think that its always necessary for the communities of people that do enjoy a particular series to speak up. Whether you want this narrative to be about not blindly hating people for appreciating something that you dont or just the simple fact that negative emotions are expressed much more often than positive ones regardless of the series or subject matter. Guilty Crown is a series that I think perfectly represents this. You see many people giving the series high praise but also equally as many that absolutely hate the series. The issues comes in when you might realize that negative emotions and thoughts speak much louder than the praise and as such result in a series being interpreted much more negatively than what might actually be the case. For the sake of this narrative Ill include that amongst 500000 raters on MyAnimeList Guilty Crown has ammassed an average score of exactly 7.50. On AniList as well the series sits as the 115 most popular anime of all time as of me writing this with as many 100 ratings as there are 60 ratings. For clarification most ratings lie in the 70s and 80s in terms of score on AniList with a fairly even split. This would realistically lead anybody to expect that a series is enjoyable and entertaining that the series was good but not excellent. To put it shortly that the series is controversial in viewer criticsm and thoughts. This is exactly right. But a series cant be controversial and contested in ratings and reviews if there is nobody sticking up for the other end right? Surely you dont see many positive reviews though this can be attributed primarily to the fact that ranting about something positively is much less common than doing so negatively especially when most of these existing reviews are negative and there is an expecting hostile reaction from others to your own positive ramblings. As such we see a lot of quiet people rating the series higher than what most might expect. Such is life not only on the internet but in general a fear of losing face. THE SHOW: Characters. Oftentimes the main element of a show that pulls everything together and decides whether or not a viewer can identify with the experiences seen within it. Guilty Crown to its own detriment does not succeed at this. The characters in the series are all twisted in their own ways and are very distant in terms of writing and narrative such that the viewers are not really able to easily identify with them. Manipulation is the name of the game and watching the effects of this unfold in Guilty Crown was tragic up until the end. Whether it comes in the form of Inori being planned to have been used as a tool as effectively cloned for the sake of fitting the narrative of others is a broken and confused character. Her experiences have lead to some very drastic moments of clearly unhealthy thinking and behavior including her romantic engagements. The main character Shu Ouma fulfills this role unintentionally for Inori. Shu takes on this role of a tool to be used caught up in a plot bigger than himself. Every Shu turns no matter who it is his friends Funeral Parlor the government his romantic interests etc Shu is constantly being used and manipulated by those around him. There are always alterior motives at play regarding any kindness that he is shown. Every character in this show is full of their own variety of self hatred and disgust. This isnt a feeling that can be reconciled or easily accepted by anyone especially in real life. As such these characters end up pushing off their feelings onto others. If they can not accept the cruel nature of their life and nature then they will exploit the others around them as to feel less alone in that pain. Have you ever gotten in trouble and felt like you wanted someone else to get in trouble with you? Just so that you werent alone in that experience? Im certain that everybody has felt this to some degree though it is certainly amplified in the context of Guilty Crown. IMPORTANT QUOTES: This theme is constantly hidden throughout the quotes of the show as you are seeing a world packed full of self hatred and desperation. Ive included some quotes to help and further this concept one from each major character below alongside a brief explanation of the symbolism in a few of the more discreet examples: I was wrong kindness is pointless. Shu Ouma There are only two paths you can choose. You can sit quietly and be selected out of this world or you can adapt and change. Gai Tsutsugami The above quote by Gai sets a narrative that being yourself is not an option in this world. You must change who you are for the others around you or be pushed away and rejected. Im afraid of myself because Im a monster. Inori Yuzuriha Sympathy only gets people hurt. Tsugumi Im not going to apologize. This is an absurd unfair world. Yahiro Samukawa The world is desperate and full of hate. In guilty crown the only forms of kindness genuinely shown take the form of understanding the selfloathing of another. The most comfort or happiness you can see from a character in this show is when there is even a glimmer of acceptance shown towards a character. THE CONFUSION: Even I found the middle portion of the series to be hard to watch. But this wasnt because the show was tragically bad. It wasnt because I lacked interest in seeing how things continued. It was because I was roped into that hatred that the characters that they had for themselves. The main character hoped to become a shining light in the world of hate just falls victim to it and develops into yet another manipulator. If you cant beat them join them. The ending left many feeling confused. Eventually in the series Shu and Inori come to find a shred of acceptance between eachother. They felt as if they were only accepted and welcome in their own little circle. Everybody outside of their relationship was an outsider or was an enemy. Though the vicious cycle of selfhate continues and Shu grows unable to force himself to live out the rest of his life with the same morals and behavior as those that caused him so much grief in the past. The ending of the anime shows Shu attempting to rid not only himself but also the other around him of what had effectively become their burden and hatred. Throughout the series you grow to hope for Shu to find it in himself to... well... find himself. To live for himself and to be himself regardless of the thoughts and pressure of those around him. The ending of the series results in its own form of tragedy. While Shu accepts the death or loss of the one person that he felt connected to that one person continues on within Shu. To clarify further this tragic loss was of Inori. Inori finally was given a release and the ultimate form of acceptance for her fake and troubled soul. This did however come at the cost of Shus own sanity. Shu was granted his chance to survive but this was only done by the voluntarily loss of the only person that he had grown to accept and hold dear. The music and art in Guilty Crown is absolutely beautiful. There is no sane viewer that can see the series and find it detestable. Though I think the importance of this music is downplayed significantly. This leads me to part of what makes the series even more unique. EGOIST: Music in Guilty Crown is not just pleasing to the ears. It is a story. It is a part of the series that must be interpreted and considered. I find it difficult to understand how this is as undervalued as it is. Inori the main heroine in Guilty Crown is an embodiment of the actual singer Egoist. Egoist is an existing singer and artist not only within the world of Guilty Crown but the real world as well. This is a raw implementation of the real life artist and the persona that she holds. I mentioned previously that Inori effectively lived on through Shu as she died. Although I was a bit sporadic in my wording for the sake of avoiding spoilers I apologize for any confusion that might cause this is a fantastic example. Within the opening song of the anime you can hear a line which specifically plays into this: So everything that makes me whole belongs to you Ill give my heart and soul Im yours... also translated as So everything that makes me whole I will dedicate them all to you now. Im yours. Recall that this isnt just a fitting line for the themes of the story. This is Inori this is Egoist. The character in the anime the singer and the persona of the artist in real life. Music does not have to exist just to make a story more enjoyable. Sometimes in the case of Guilty Crown it can exist to make a series work. It can be a part of the narrative. FINAL NOTES: Is Guilty Crown a masterpiece? Absolutely not. Does it have plot holes and cases of just outright missed opportunities? It sure does. I dont think that Guilty Crown is a series that can just be recommend to someone with 100 certainty. Its not something that can easily be esteemed as one of the narratively greatest anime series. But a viewer can help to define what is beautiful. I mentioned at the start of the review that negative emotions speak louder than positive ones. I included a nod to the fact that negative feelings influence further negative feelings in others as well as suppressing positive feelings that some might have. I find this awfully ironic. Its an undeniable fact that these things do happen in the real world and its shown in the Guilty Crown reception. However isnt that the exact thing that the anime so deeply ingrains into its story? Evil creates evil negativity leads to negativity the good is suppressed by the everlouder bad. Ill happily be that one voice for the good I wont make Shus mistake and allow myself to be altered by those around me in opinion or person. I am me and my opinions are mine. Although accepting and giving into the emotions of the majority can be more welcoming and can be easier... how valuable is that? Ill take the stronger bonds and relationships gained by enforcing the minority than wanting to be mindlessly accepted by the majority that is much more negative and oftentimes hurtful. Ill leave you with the lyrics of the opening which is not only indicative of the series and its themes but also is full of extremely important ideas to consider.
86 /100
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