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Guilty Crown – Part 2 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 28, 2013 by  



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“Guilty Crown” has turned out to be a fascinating anime series with cool characters, a captivating storyline, stunning visuals and pulse-pounding action! But if you thought the first half was exciting, the second half is much darker and more captivating in my opinion as it tries to separate itself from the banality of the first half.  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Guilty Crown – Part 2

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2011-2012

DURATION: Episodes 12-22 (275 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English DolbyTrue HD 5.1, Japanese DolbyTrue HD 5.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex/FUNimation

RATING: PG (Wild Thematic Elements and Some Incidental Smoking Images)

Release Date: August 27, 2013

Directed by Tetsuro Araki

Series Composition by Hiroyuki Yoshino

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano, Ryo (Supercell)

Original Character Design by redjuice

Art Director: Yusuke Takeda

Anime Production: Production I.G.

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano/Alexis Tipton as Inori Yuzuriha

Yūichi Nakamura/Micah Solusod as Gai Tsutsugami

Yuuki Kaji/Austin Tindle as Shū Ouma

Ai Kayano/Alexis Tipton as Mana Ouma

Anri Katsu/Jarrod Greene as Arugo

Aya Endo/Caitlin Glass as Arisa Kuhōin

Ayana Taketatsu/Monica Rial as Tsugumi

Chika Fujimura/Martha Harms as Haruka Ouma

Daisuke Sakaguchi/Cory Cleary-Stoner as Sōta Tamadate

Kana Hanazawa/Emily Neves as Ayase Shinomiya

Kazuhiko Inoue/Charlie Campbell as Shuichiro Keido

Kouki Uchiyama/Joel McDonald as Daryl Yan

Kousuke Takaguchi/Scott Freeman as Ōgumo

Minako Kotobuki/Apphia Yu as Kanon Kusama

Nobutoshi Canna/John Swasey as Makoto Waltz Seigai

Takahiro Mizushima/David Trosko as Yahiro Samukawa

Takehito Koyasu/J. Michael Tatum as Shibungi

Yu Shimamura/Tia Ballard as Hare Menjō

Yuka Nishigaki/Leah Clark as Yuu

Shu’s desperate quest to save Inori from the mysterious spectre known as Death sends him hurtling through a horrifying flashback. Glimpses of the boy he once was combine with fragments of painful memories to hint at the harrowing origins of the Apocalypse Virus.

Meanwhile, nefarious GHQ agents seek to incite chaos by turning the frightened band of young rebels against each other. Division in the ranks – and the shocking death of a dear friend – pushes Shu to the brink of madness, exposing Inori and everyone he loves to an eerily familiar enemy. As the terrifying truth about the power of the King’s Right Hand emerges, Shu and his comrades must place their faith in one another – and fight for the future of their world!

Inori has been taken and tragedy hits the resistance group, Funeral Parlor leaving the group in disarray and stuck along with students at a high school in a quarantine zone.

But after tragedy strikes close to Shu, what happens when the darkness within Shu makes him take things too far.

Who is the true protagonist and who is the true antagonist?  Find out in the second half of Production I.G.’s exciting action animated series “Guilty Crown – Part 2”!

What is “Guilty Crown”?

In 2011, Production I.G. debuted their new animated TV series “Guilty Crown”.

The series has led to a manga adaptation in “Monthly Shonen Gangan”, a light novel, a spin-off visual novel game (which came with a 15-minute OVA titled “Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas”).

Airing on Fuji TV’s noitaminA, the 22-episode TV series will now be released on Blu-ray/DVD in the U.S. courtesy of FUNimation in August 2013.

The animated series is directed by Tetsuro Araki (“Aoi Bungaku”, “Galaxy Angel”, “Kurozuka”, “Attack on Titan”), series composition by Hiroyuki Yoshino (“Accel World”, “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”, “Macross Frontier”), music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Blue Exorcist”, “Sengoku Basara”, “Soul Link”) and Ryo (“Black Rock Shooter”, “Nisenmonogatari”, “Psycho-Pass”) and art direction by Yusuke Takeda (“009-1”, “Blue Seed Beyond”, “Eden of the East”, “Ghost Hound”, “Ghost in the Shell Arise”, “Golden Boy”, “Sword Art Online”).

“Guilty Crown” begins with an introduction to the chaos that has afflicted Japan.

On December 24, 2029, the Apocalypse Virus was unleashed to the public. Known as the “Lost Christmas” incident, the biological hazard had grown that Japan had no way to contain the threat, so with the help of the United Nations, an organization known as the GHQ was sent to Japan’s aid.

With the GHQ’s help, the virus was contained and order was restored in Japan. But in 2039, a terrorist group known as Funeral Parlor has been causing problems for the GHQ, wanting to liberate Japan.

The series focuses on a high school student named Shu Ouma. One day as he was visiting the film club’s workshop, he meets Inori Yuzuriha, the vocalist of the popular internet group EGOIST. But as the two are talking, the GHQ soldiers (anti-bodies) come to the workshop and arrest Inori for her involvement with Funeral Parlor. As Shu wants to step in and help, he is told that if he gets involved, he will be arrested for aiding Funeral Parlor. Too scared to react, Inori had given Shu to deliver her robot to a location.

Shu ends up delivering Inori’s robot and meets Gai Tsutsugami, the leader of Funeral Parlor and he tells him that he must protect a vial.

Immediately, GHQ begins attacking the Roppongi area in search for a viral and when Shu sees Inori, wanting to react and not be scared, he goes to rescue her but the vial he was protecting, has shattered when the two are attacked by GHQ Endlave mechs.

What Shu doesn’t know is that the vial contained a Void Genome, a genetic weapon which came from the Apocalypse Virus and developed by Sephirah Genomics (the place where Shu’s mother, Haruka, works). The Void Genome now has given Shu the “Power of the Kings”, the ability to use his right hand and extract voids from people. With each person, a person has a specialized void and Inori explains to Shu that she wants him to use her void, which is a sword that he uses to destroy the GHQ Endlave Mechs.

But as Shu learns that Inori is with Funeral Parlor, Gai wants Shu to join their group because his power would be welcomed by them. And when Shu sees how the GHQ have been killing innocent people in the city, he is conflicted of why the GHQ who were supposed to protect the people of Japan are engaged in something corrupt. But at the same time, can he trust a terrorist group and side with a group that has also killed people.

In the first half, Shu learns that Funeral Parlor is fighting for the greater good, while the powers behind GHQ are corrupt.  Part 1 ended with Inori being taken from Shu by Daath Gravekeeper, while the GHQ unleashes the Apocalypse Virus all over Tokyo.  Meanwhile, Shuichiro has taken over GHQ and uses the media to broadcast that the Apocalypse Virus killing people was caused by Funeral Parlor.

Shu learns the truth of his past that he and Gai knew each other long ago.  That he lived on the island of Oshima with his sister Mana and found a blond boy washed ashore.  The blonde boy known as Triton is actually Gai who spent the summer with them at the beach house and eventually became good friends with Shu and fell for his sister Mana.  It is revealed that Mana was infected with the virus and became insane.  Something that Gai knew and was told by Mana not to reveal.

But when Mana’s insanity nearly kills Gai and Shu discovers his sister going berserk, the promise of Shu to marry Mana was broken leaving Mana to go berserk and unleashing the Apocalypse Virus all over Tokyo and eventually destroying herself.

He learns that Inori was created to be the body for Mana, who was supposed to be dead due to the virus but instead, kept preserved.  Her soul was reincarnated in Inori’s body and the actual goal was for Shu to be “Adam” while Mana would be “Eve”.

With the events of Shu and Gai trying to save Inori and free Mana’s soul leading to tragedy, a large number of teenagers become refugees at Tennouzu High School which was supposed to be used as a shelter.  With Funeral Parlor in disarray, Tsugumi and Ayase disguise themselves as students.  But when the students start to think that the Funeral Parlor terrorists responsible for the virus outbreak are hiding amongst them, Shu is forced to unveil his power and what are voids to all the teenagers and show that the GHQ are the enemies.

And now Shu becomes the leader of these students who offer to use their bodies as voids with hope to return back home and leave the quarantine zone.

But when someone close to Shu is killed, Shu begins to lose everything about himself and the once protagonist, may turn out to be an antagonist.

Is Shu the true enemy?  Or will he snap out of his senses?

The characters of “Guilty Crown” are:

  • Shu Ouma – The main protagonist. A high school student who is a member of the modern image and video research club. His mother Haruka works for Sephirah Genomics, while his father, an expert on the Apocalypse Virus, died during the “Lost Christmas” incident. Shu now has the “Power of Kings” thanks to a vial created by the Sephirah Genomics, which allows him to extract a void (may it be a weapon, healing device, etc.) from a person. He has fallen for Inori Yuzuriha.
  • Inori Yuzuriha – The vocalist of EGOIST and a member of Egoist. She follow’s Gai’s orders and allows Shuu to use her void, a sword.
  • Gai Tsutsugami – The leader of the resistance group known as Funeral Parlor, who are seen as a terrorist group to the world. It is rumored that he is Inori’s lover. He is infected by the Apocalypse Virus.
  • Ayase Shinomiya – A member of Funeral Parlor who has feelings for Gai. She is paraplegic and an Endlave mech pilot that does not like people watching her get on her wheelchair. Her void are special leg braces that allow her to skate over ground and fly.
  • Tsugumi – A member of Funeral Parlor who is a hacker. Known as “Black Swan” and her void is a hand scanner that can create holographic projections of people.
  • Argo Tsukishima – A member of Funeral Parlor who is experienced with hand-to-hand combat and knives. His voice is a blinding torchlight.
  • Yahiro Samukawa – Shu’s classmate. On the outside, he seems like a cool individual but in truth, he is a drug dealer known as “Sugar” that has anger trying to save his brother who is infected by the Apocalypse Virus and paying for his medical bills. His void is a giant scissor.
  • Souta Tamadate – Shu’s classmate who loves Inori and EGOIST. His void is a camera gun that can open anything with locks.
  • Hare Menjou – Shu’s classmate who has liked him. Her void is a bandage that can heal people and repair objects.
  • Kanon Kusama – The chairman of Class 2-A who also has feelings towards Shu. Her void is a visor that can see things from afar.
  • Arisa Kuhouin – The Student Council President. Her grandfather is the head of the Kuhouin Group that is at odds with GHQ. Her void is a huge shield.

THE GHQ:

  • Major General Yan – In charge of the GHQ forces in Japan and the father of Daryl Yan who he does not get along with.
  • Suichiro Keido – Head of the GHQ Anti-bodies. He wants to kill everyone infected by the virus and appears to have ulterior motives.
  • Daryl Yan – 2nd Lt. Juvenile Officer and the son of Major General Yan. He is cruel and sadistic. He also hates being touched by others, because he fears everyone may be infected by the virus.
  • Makoto Waltz Segai – A Major in the GHQ Anti-Bodies and wears makeup and a prosthetic left eye. He is very sadistic.

VIDEO:

“Guilty Crown” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). As with the majority of Production I.G. anime releases, there is a lot of detail on background art, emphasis on environment and the character designs are well-shaded. The series is colorful, cibrant and sharp. I didn’t notice any major artifacts, nor did I see a lot of banding. For the most part, “Guilty Crown” looks fantastic on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Guilty Crown” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. For the most part, voice acting on both soundtracks are well-done. The biggest difference is that the English is 5.1 and its lossless track is immersive. Better dynamic range, the use of the surround channels make the series much more immersive. The Japanese lossless soundtrack is primarily a front-channel driven but for the most part, the English lossless soundtrack is the more immersive of the two soundtracks.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Guilty Crown – Part 2” features the following special features:

  • Episode 15 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Apphia Yu (voice of Kanon), Tia Ballard (voice of Hare) and Jarrod Greene (voice of Argo).
  • Episode 19 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Martha Harms (voice of Haruka), Caitlin Glass (voice of Arisa) and Cory Cleary-Stoner (voice of Souta).
  • reassortment (series digest) – (47:30) A special episode comprising clips from each episode.
  • Guilty Crowns 4-Panel Theater – (8:39) Six total shorts featuring the characters in super-deformed format.
  • Episode Previews – (5:20) Featuring the after-episode previews for episode 12-22.
  • Textless Opening – Featuring two versions of the opening.
  • Textless Closing Song – Featuring the “Phase 02” and version 2.
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation U.S. trailer for “Guilty Crown”.
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Guilty Crown – Part 2” comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the anime series and a slipcover.

There are some who may come to regard the second half of “Guilty Crown” to be cruel, especially if one finds themselves attached to the characters and are unprepared to see a slight twist as protagonists are turned to becoming antagonists, while characters they liked end up dying or having to go through unfortunate situations.

I even found myself declaring the “WTF!” expletives after seeing how the second half was turning to something dark and something I never expected to see happen.

But having watched the series completely, sometimes you need to have these shocking twists to escape a storyline that cliched and banal.

And I can see myself possibly being upset with this series if I had to watch it in a weekly manner as those who lived in Japan, because of how tragedies and misfortunes were happening to the characters and it felt that there were no hope in sight.  I think about the American sci-fi drama series “LOST” which left many viewers so upset because tragedies happened in moments that you least expect.  People who have come to enjoy the characters just to see tragedy take them out in surprising circumstances.

With “Guilty Crown”, the writers tried to do so much within 22 episodes.  And what suffers from the series is possibly the large number of characters, the limitation of the characters and how they were used in the second half because of the focus on the chaos and the personality and character shifts of Shu, Inori and Gai.

As much as no one likes to see these supporting characters and their roles to be slightly weaker in the second half, the goal was to take the viewer through an emotional conundrum wondering if Shu is a good guy or not.

If anything, the character of Shu is the cliche, weak and whiny character that I often despise.  We see him go through major changes and part of you wonders if we will see any redemption with his characters as he tends to irritate you with the decisions that he makes.

And that is where we  see “Guilty Crown” start to become a much better series because of his mental state, the people around him also start to suffer and it’s something you don’t get to see in anime series.  We see people who start to lose their faith in him and almost resembling a “Lord of the Flies” type of storyline.

But then you run into another twist and suffice to say, it makes the storyline quite interesting and I’ll leave it at that as I don’t want to spoil the storyline.  Just expect some major twists and turns unlike the first half, the series becomes much more fascinating and dark in the second half of “Guilty Crown”.

The Blu-ray features stunning visuals thanks to the quality that Production I.G. has always given their animated properties. Highly detailed backgrounds and environments, impressive character designs and for the most part, creating a series that has a good amount of science fiction, mecha robots and plenty of action. Both soundtracks are well-acted but the English soundtrack gets the better end of the deal with an immersive 5.1 lossless soundtrack, while the Japanese version is crystal clear but primarily a front-channel driven soundtrack.

There is also a good balance of special features included from two audio commentary tracks and a continuation of the four-panel drama and more.

Overall, “Guilty Crown” has turned out to be a fascinating anime series with cool characters, a captivating storyline, stunning visuals and pulse-pounding action! But if you thought the first half was exciting, the second half is much darker and more captivating in my opinion as it tries to separate itself from the banality of the first half.

For those wanting an anime series that is deep, action-packed and for the most part exciting and full of twists and turns, then “Guilty Crown” is a series that I definitely recommend!






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