Top critical review
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Often enjoyable, ultimately unsatisfying
on 1 May 2014
If I were to describe Guilty Crown in a sentence it would be "Evangelion meets Code Geass but not as good as either."
In fact the similarities to Evangelion and Code Geass are very marked. It's not even just similar plot developments but how those events impact the ongoing story. However, it's not really fair to simply dismiss Guilty Crown for borrowing, after all that's a long and honoured tradition. Code Geass itself has more than a few similarities to Evangelion and Evangelion to several works that came before it.
The animation is top notch the sound track is solid. The action sequences are well made, engaging and original. They stand out even among the best series of the last few years. Overall the presentation is of the highest quality.
As the series moves into the second half the previous status-quo has been completely blown apart and the new setting established leads to the series strongest episodes. Unfortunately a combination of poor characterisation and an inability to answer a mystery without generating more confusion quickly drags things down. Some characters are interesting, some get stuck on one note and others have nonsensical motivations. Character motivations are further muddied by being completely dependent on fine details of the show's setting which in itself is bad but made worse since many of those details are poorly explained if at all. To make matters worse it's at the finale where things go really wrong. To the very end the story throws new details into the mix until at the final hurdle collapsing into a mess of unresolved plot elements and clichés.
As for the release itself, it's derived from Funimation's US release so as per usual it's pretty solid. The Blu-ray is definitely a must on this one to justice to the show's visuals. Slightly worryingly, like the first part the subtitle options are locked so you can't have subtitles on the English soundtrack or no subtitles and watch in Japanese. I realise this isn't a problem for most people but it's not really ideal and it's not something I'd seen on a Funimation release before Guilty Crown.
Guilty Crown is a so so series. It's not awful and it certainly has it's strong points. However, a mess of ideas and plot lines which never pull together and characters completely impossible to relate to leave the show ultimately unsatisfying. The presentation and production values are top notch but that's the show's only consistent strength.