Guilty Crown Volume 2

Everything that Shu Ouma has forgotten about Lost Christmas – the day in 2029 on which the lethal Apocalypse Virus struck – is cruelly and vividly restored. Now he remembers that he had a sister – Mana – and that Guy, the leader of rebel group Funeral Parlour, is the boy that he and Mana found washed up on a beach. Guy became a part of their family, an adopted brother, until the terror was unleashed on December 24th.  But there’s no time for bitter regrets as the forces threatening Shu and Inori put their high school into quarantine. As supplies of the vaccine against the Apocalypse Virus run low, sinister influences infiltrate the students, turning friend against friend. In a desperate effort to protect everyone, Shu takes control of the school using his gift – but this only makes him more enemies, a situation the GHQ seek to exploit further.  

The arrival of Shu’s stepmother Haruka brings answers to the origins of the King’s Hand, the link between Mana and Inori, and the role that Shu’s scientist father and his onetime colleague Shuichiro played. But matters are already spiralling out of control with the Fourth Apocalypse about to be unleashed. Inori is captured. Shu and his friends will have to put their lives on the line to try to save her – and to prevent the end of their world. 

It’s been rather too long a wait for the second box set of Guilty Crown to be released in the UK. And it would have made much better sense, plot-wise, to put Episode 12 in the first set as it’s quite obviously the place the creative team intended it to come; why, they even give us new Opening and Ending Themes at the start of Episode 13 to emphasize the fact. And, unfortunately, things don’t go as well with Guilty Crown in the final episodes as we’d been led to hope and expect. Production values are still extremely high, with dazzlingly orchestrated mecha and Void battles, rich palettes of colours, and striking depictions of the backgrounds from the horrors of Lost Christmas to the ravaged cityscapes of Tokyo. But the creative team falls back on well-worn clichés; if you’re going to create a sci-fi story, please, please don’t do the ‘she’s going to be the new Eve, but which one of you two will be her Adam?’ Please. The other problem for the viewer (apart from the temptation to play ‘spot the stiff’ as the high schoolers busily betray each other and fall like flies) is the timing of the big reveal of the back story. It would have been so much more effective to have seeded it throughout the series, rather than relying on two big flashback episodes to deliver the goods. Episode 20 is far too late to learn about Shu and Mana’s father and the highly significant role he played. Dramatically, the flow of the last episodes is badly unbalanced – and what seemed like a promising series is ultimately swamped by the unwieldy plot being imposed on the (too many) characters, rather than it arising from their actions and interactions.

Oh – and why must anime creative teams insist on showing what happened ‘a few years later’ behind the final credits as if it’s an afterthought? (Yes, they probably used up all the episode time on the action-heavy finale, but it still looks as if nobody really cared about the characters that much after all, just the explosions.) 

The new Opening Theme is “The Everlasting Guilty Crown” by EGOIST and the new Ending Theme is “Kokuhaku” (Confession) by supercell. Inori’s role as a singer/idol leads to more insert songs from a range of artists including Mika Kobayashi, mpi, and David Whitaker.

Extras on the Blu-ray include: Episode commentaries, 4-Panel Theatre Parts 6B-11, “Reassortment” Series Digest and the Episode previews.

In Summary
It looks good but ultimately Guilty Crown fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion, being swamped by too much over-familiar plot and way too many characters. However, if you’ve watched the first part, you’ll probably still want to see how the story plays out.

5 / 10


Sarah's been writing about her love of manga and anime since Whenever - and first started watching via Le Club Dorothée in France...

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