Sunday, March 25, 2012

Guilty Crown

I said I'd post about this one when it was finished, so here I am.  As usual, I'll be telling the story, so if you haven't seen it and plan to . . . SPOILERS AHEAD.

Guilty Crown is the story of a boy named Ouma Shu.  Shu is a high school student in a Japan that has been devastated by a virus known as the  Apocalypse Virus.  This virus causes a type of cancer that kills people by turning them into crystal.  The virus arrived on a meteor and spread across Japan on a day now called Lost Christmas.  From that day, Japan has been ruled under martial law by a multi-national organization called GHQ which keeps Japan quarantined and runs its government.  Opposing the multi-national government is a rebellious group variously translated by subbers as Funeral Parlor or Undertakers.

Shu is as oblivious and apathetic to the world around him as is possible for a teenage boy, spending his time floating through school and mooning over his favorite idol, Yuzuriha Inori.  Shu and Inori are in the top picture.  Inori uses being an idol as a cover.  She is a member of Funeral Parlor and at the start of the series has stolen an item called the Void Genome from the government, with the intention of giving it to the leader of Funeral Parlor, Tsutsugami Gai, shown sitting in the picture to the left.  A "void" is a tool that is created from a person's basic personality or heart or substance.  The Void Genome allows one to extract the "void" of anyone around and use it for your own purposes.  On the run after the theft, fate leads Inori to Shu.  Through a series of events that really can only be attributed to fate, Shu ends up with the Void Genome and it's abilities, and he can extract everyone's voids with his right hand.

Gai, Inori and the gang at Funeral Parlor then spend episodes more or less successfully recruiting Shu into Funeral Parlor, and using him to achieve their ends.  At the same time, forces within the government are working to re-activate the Apocalypse Virus and spread it across the whole world to speed the evolution of humans by destroying all existing humans - or something like that.  Midway through the series, battles come to a head.  During them Shu remembers his past - that his older sister Mana was infected by the meteor virus and was the source of the virus that erupted on Lost Christmas, and that Gai and Shu and Mana had spend time growing up together.  He remembers that Mana died on Lost Christmas and Gai left to follow his own destiny.  At this point in the story, the battles result in the deaths of Gai and Mana, who had been re-incarnated from the crystals.  The remains of Funeral Parlor are scattered and some of them and the students from Shu's school gather at the school.  Shu leads them and they attempt to survive the GHQ's drive to eradicate the virus by wiping out everyone left in an area which includes the school.  Shu, Inori and some of the students ruthlessly classify and use people's void and Shu discovers that if a void is damaged, it's owner dies.   

Because of Shu's ruthlessness, the student's rebel, and at a critical juncture, a re-incarnated Gai reappears, cuts off Shu's right hand and takes his Void Genome power, leaving him for dead.  Inori sticks with Shu but is eventually captured by Gai-tachi to be used to re-incarnate Mana again.  With Inori taken, Shu regains his will to fight destiny, and through another series of events, gains the last copy of the Void Genome.  He reconciles with his friends and goes to recover Inori and stop Gai and the people trying to destroy the world.

Massive battles ensue and Shu arrives where Inori is just after Mana takes over Inori completely.  Shu and Gai battle with various voids, and in the end Shu wins and survives, but Gai, Mana and Inori are ultimately lost. 

As usual, this is pretty much the bare bones of the plot line.  In the interest of space I didn't go into any of the interactions between the characters, nor even talk about the lesser characters, including the important members of Funeral Parlor,  like Ayase and Tsugumi, the important students, particularly Hare and Yahiro, and Ouma Haruka, Shu's step-mother and a virus researcher.  So much of the plot involves these people that it's almost a crime not to include them in the plot line, however this post is already long enough.

Did I like this series?  Sort of.  The body count was too high.  If Inori at least had survived I would have liked it better.  If Inori and Gai had survived, I would have liked it a lot better.  On the other hand, I would have hated it if Shu had died also, so there's that.  The music from the series is really exceptional, especially Inori's songs.  The plot is fairly unique, especially the plot devices with the voids and the Void Genome.  Wackos trying to destroy the world to allow it to evolve is not that unique, nor is the reluctant hero, but there is enough new here to be interesting.   Character styles are good and the animation is good. 

Overall I would recommend watching this series.  If the body count were lower I would like it better, but I'd say it's worth seeing.         

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