Guilty Crown – 01
INS: 「エウテルペ」 (Euterpe) by EGOIST
Watch the INS!: Streaming ▼
「発生 genesis」 (Hassei)
If there’s one thing that I was worried about coming into Production I.G’s sci-fi post-apocalyptic original noitaminA series, it would be the inadvertent reader hype created by my own anticipation, both in the Fall 2011 Preview and the site’s banners. The series topped the seasonal poll with 68% of all voters including it in their top 5 picks, so the last thing I would wanted is to read a bunch of disappointed comments about a dismal first showing. No, I’m not arrogant enough to believe that my personal impressions are that influential in the anime fan community, but I do always seem to get flack about something I’ve said in my one of my posts. Big red and bold disclaimers about personal taste don’t even save me from people getting in their shots in at every opportunity. In the one and a half years since I’ve taken over this blog, I’ve let all the “downhill” boycott remarks fall upon deaf ears; however, I would feel somewhat responsible in this case since I didn’t maintain the usual reserved stance toward all new shows. I was cautiously optimistic about last season’s BLOOD-C so I didn’t get any backlash about it topping the summer poll and turning out the way it did, but if Guilty Crown somehow turned out to be a real stinker, I don’t think I’d ever hear the end of it. Vehemently vocal first-time commenters would surely be asking that I just close the site right away. (You bastards know who you are.)
Luckily, the premiere of Guilty Crown should satisfy most viewers, saving me from having to deal with remarks about how I’m a terrible blogger, how I should die in a fire, and how they’re never visiting Random Curiosity again. (The anime blogosphere is a very unforgiving place.) For the most part, I can just let the three-and-a-half-minute opening scene with the theme song “Euterpe” sung by 17-year-old “chelly” (i.e. EGOIST) speak for itself. This includes Yuzuriha Inori (Kayano Ai) and her extremely revealing and unbelievably mesmerizing outfit, which realistically, only stays on with the power of anime magic. There’s no denying that she’s the main attraction of this first episode (and likely the rest of the series) with her plunging front slit and exposed back, but I was actually most captivated by the tenacity she showed as a member of “Sougisha” 「葬儀社」 (i.e. “Undertakers”), the resistance group fighting to liberate Japan from its false peace under GHQ’s armed rule. Inori gets injured, abused, and threatened yet we don’t hear so much as a whimper out of her. She’s a very uncharacteristic terrorist, which is ultimately why I’m so intrigued by her character.
The same could probably be said about our main protagonist, Ouma Shuu (Kaji Yuuki), whose voice and mannerisms alone remind me too much of NO.6′s Shion. Shuu has resigned himself to life under GHQ’s military rule and spends his days peacefully away from society — including his classmates Menjou Hare (Shimamura Yuu), Samukawa Yahiro (Mizushima Takahiro), and Tamadate Souta (Sakaguchi Daisuke) — and doesn’t break from that even when his favorite Internet singer (who ended up flashing him) gets dragged off by Keidou Shuuichirou’s (Inoue Kazuhiko) “Anti Bodies” special unit — sent to retrieve the “Void Genome” that Inori stole. In moments like that, especially in a first episode, I would expect our “hero” to at least get roughed up trying to save the heroine, but Shuu cowers in fear instead and ends up kicking himself over it. Normally this would be somewhat irksome, but given the flashbacks of what I presume are the victims of the “Apocalypse Virus” from ten years ago, I’m a lot more forgiving of his cowardice. I even think it adds a deeply-rooted complexity to his character, which he made strides toward overcoming when he went to rescue Inori.
At the moment, there are a lot of unanswered questions as to why Shuu possesses “The Power of Kings” in his right hand, allowing him to extract weapons from the “Void” within a person’s body (which is comprised of their essence according to the eyecatch), and why Inori’s commander and co-star of the series, Tsutsugami Gai (Nakamura Yuuichi), sent Shuu to go and rescue her. From the look of things, Shuu obtained his special ability when the Void Genome capsule was shattered, but it’s almost as if Gai and Inori were both expecting this power to awaken within him. Whatever the case, the exciting way everything played out at the end made me overlook the fact that Shuu somehow knew exactly what to do just as he was about to be killed. Things are off to a great start on the production and story side of things, and we’ve only been informally introduced to some other resistance members, such as Tsugumi (Taketatsu Ayana) and wheelchair-bound pilot Shinomiya Ayase (Hanazawa Kana). In many ways, the story itself is pretty reminiscent of CODE GEASS — right down to the main protagonist with the Power of Kings, the resistance group trying to liberate Japan, and the prevalent use of mechs — which isn’t all that unexpected given that we have the same screenwriter on board. Seeing as GEASS was ridiculously popular, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing though.
* The official spelling for the insect-like robot’s name is Fyu-Neru, which is presumably a play on the word “funeral” since their group is known as the Undertakers.
* The opening theme, “My Dearest”, will be performed by Supercell with their new vocalist, 15-year-old Koeda, who was picked from a 2000 person audition. For a sample of her singing, see Nicosound here, here, here, and here. (Care of Patrik.)
* Full-length images: 06, 14, 27, 41.
ED: 「Departures 〜あなたにおくるアイの歌〜」 (Departures ~Anata ni Okuru Ai no Uta~) by EGOIST
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼
Watch the Preview!: Streaming ▼