I have been following the Noitamina timeslot ever since 2005. At this point, I’ve watched and completed every single anime to appear in the timeslot, save for one, so yes: I do not say this easily: Guilty Crown has been the worst Noitanima series I have ever seen.
This is a combination of a hype that it miserably failed to live up to, plain bad storytelling and a ton of wasted potential. Here we finally had another Noitamina series that was allowed to go on for two cours with 22 episodes. In a timeslot where the biggest problem is being too short this really is an amazing chance, and even more of a bummer to see it trashed like this. This show is stupid, badly told, boring, inconsequential, and most important of all: it’s empty.
Seriously, this series does not know how to tell a story. This show has the idea that as long as it pulls enough plot twists, it’ll automatically get good. It wants this so badly, that it starts pulling these twists right out of its ass. Especially the second half of the series just keeps pulling the most convenient deus ex machina right from out of bloody nowhere. “Oh, we need this power to keep going, oh wait, that character conveniently had that power, even though it was never mentioned or hinted at before!” – and that’s just one of the least insulting ones.
Okay, so the plot is bad. On its own that’s not automatically a failure if the show has enough to make up for it. The thing is however: this show doesn’t. It looks pretty and all, but I can’t really recommend it for anything. In fact, the plot isn’t even the worst part of this show. No, that honour belongs to the cast of characters.
Shu has got to be the worst main character that I’ve seen in a long while. I mean, you really have to try to be as bad as him. This is the kind of guy of which the creators never really decided what personality they should get him. The result is that he completely changes character with every passing episode with no explanation behind it whatsoever. Whatever is the most convenient for the plot, he acts like that. The result is an incredibly annoying, inconsistent and bafflingly stupid character.
And the thing is: the entire show revolves around this loser. Every character is tailor-made to revolve around him, even though we’re never given a reason to actually like him. Everyone is forced into this role to help him tell his story… whatever the hell that may be. The lead female… is completely useless for the entire length of the show. I know that we often joke with romantic interests being pointless, but this girl is even worse. She literally does nothing other than talk here and there and go emo once in a while. The rest of the side-cast also isn’t better of, as they fit in with whatever role the male lead seems to want to play at the moment, acting as cannon fodder for him. The antagonists are just a bunch of screaming stereotypical evil guys who like to kill people because… well… because.
It’s very likely that this show had the biggest budget of the past half year. And yet, I wouldn’t rank the animation as the best or most interesting here. The show has great inbetween animation, but it hardly ever does anything interesting with its eye candy or direction. I found myself enjoying the visuals of Nisemonogatari, Black Rock Shooter, Milky Holmes, Last Exile and Chihayafuru much more, because they actually tried to bring their characters to life. Guilty Crown doesn’t even attempt to do that.
Overall, the first half of Guilty Crown is mind-numbingly boring. Hardly anything really seems to happen in it at all. This completely changes in the second half when it pulls the most bafflingly convenient plot twists that would make Code Geass cringe. And you know what? It’s still boring. It’s been a while since a show that was this hyped, that was this ambitious, fell so flat on its face as here. I read in an interview once that the creators want to make the male lead into the new Shinji Ikari of Evangelion. And indeed, parts of this show scream “Evangelion wannabe”. These guys however had no bloody clue what made that show good.
|Storytelling:||6/10 – Mind-numbingly stupid, boring and empty. Has no idea how to tell a good story and just pulls random twists whatever is the most convenient.|
|Characters:||5/10 – I really have nothing positive to say about these guys whatsoever. There was no character whatsoever who I liked. Everyone revolves way too much around the male lead. Everyone here is exceptionally bad.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – Okay, the series does have pretty graphics, but with the budget it has it could have done so much more.|
|Setting:||6/10 – Who on earth green-lighted this? The setting behind this feels like no thought was put into making it actually work. Again, it centers way too much to the male lead, instead of the other way around.|