Guilty Crown Parts 1 And 2 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Reviews
“Guilty Crown” is an ambitious mess.
In part 1 of “Guilty Crown” (AKA the first 11 episodes), we are introduced to the main character of the anime series- a cowardly emo teen with social issues named Shu. Shu lives in Japan which has been under the control of a brutal militarized organization known as GHQ after an Apocalyptic virus ravaged the country. While chilling at his studio, Shu meets an injured singer (Inori) who has just stolen an important genetic weapon (Void Genome) from GHQ and has placed it inside of a robot. Inori (who is actually a member of the resistance group Funeral Parlor) is hoping to get the weapon to the Funeral parlor (Gai), but she is taken by GHQ Anti-Bodies forces (which include Major Guin, General Yan and his son Daryl Yan, Major Segai, and the villainous GHQ director Shuichiro). Out of his comfort zone (and his league), Shu decides to embark on a journey to deliver the Void Genome to Gai in a mission that will surely change the character’s life. Of course, it does when the Genome breaks and gives Shu the “Power of Kings” which allows him to extract voids.
Over the course of the first 11 episodes, expect to see plots involving Endlaves (mechs), Inori winding up at Shu’s school, a genetic drug (Norma Gene), Voids (and Void usage), Shu’s “friend” Yahiro, GHQ arresting Shu, a hacker (Tsugumi), an Endlave pilot (Ayase) Gai wanting Shu to join Funeral but Shu doesn’t trust him, a problematic Leukocyte (satellite laser), Gai and co trying to destroy the command center, Funeral Parlor acquiring weapons and so forth, Funeral Parlor missions, the Apocalypse Virus meteorite that could bring the Apocalypse Virus back again, and a cliffhanger ending involving a mysterious blond woman.
In part 2 (which contains episodes 12-22), stories involve the identity of the blond woman, Shuichiro’s mad plans, the origins of the virus, Shu’s past, major character deaths, Shu’s sister Mana (who is integral to the plot), Shu and company being stuck at Tennouzu High (in the quarantined Loop 7 area), refugees, Shu becoming student council president at Tennouzu High, more revelations about voids, Shu taking a drastic character turn, vaccines, a character being resurrected, Japan in turmoil, the Daath organization, GHQ trying to capture Inori and exterminate characters, the villainous Segai, Leukocyte (again), multiple allies teaming up and multiple enemies teaming up to fight one another, the virus being released (again), and Arisa.
“Guilty Crown” is one of those anime series that is both fascinating and frustrating. The atmospheric series really draws you into this futuristic world with intense action (between Funeral Parlor and GHQ), a stand-out character (Gai), an interesting structure that doesn’t flow like your average anime, and gutsy changes in tone and story from the first half to the second. Unfortunately, much of this hero’s journey series is derivative and contains standard tropes and plot devices that are reminiscent of shows like “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” The series also tends to suffer from distracting elements like rambling power and void mumbo jumbo dialogue, weird music inclusions, an irritating and wimpy lead character in Shu (although he does change), recycled ideas, and weird out there moments involving Inori’s singing treated virus infected people and a mad creepy Mana wanting to marry her brother Shu.
Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The beautifully animated series dazzles in hi-def.
Audio Tracks: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. How do they sound? The English track is sufficient, but the Japanese track has the clear edge due to a strong voice acting ensemble cast.
Part 1 Extras:
* The limited edition set includes 2 nicely produced softcover booklets. One features original redjuice’s character concept art and the other features animation artworks. I love seeing neat extras like this included inside a boxed set. I wish Funimation did this more frequently as many of their releases tend to be lacking extra features.
* Trailers for “Eureka Seven AO,” “Eden of the East,” “Lupin The Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine,” “Black Lagoon,” “Appleseed XIII,” “Fairy Tail,” “The Future Diary,” “Last Exile-Fam-The Silver Wing-,” “Remnant Knights Game,” and Funimation.com.
* A lively commentary on episode 2 by Austin Tindle, Alexis Tipton, and Micah Solusod. These three have great chemistry as they blab about favorite show moments, the series, audio work, etc.
* Commentary on episode 4 by the always loud Monica Rial, Emily Neves, and John Swasey.
* 2 textless opening songs and 1 textless closing song.
* 3 promo videos and 3 TV spots for “Guilty Crown.”
* Previews for all 11 episodes.
* “Into The Void: The Creative Vision”- A Q&A with Ryo Ohyama, Koji Yamamoto, and George Wada.
* “Guilty Crown 4-Panel Theater”- 6 goofy chibi cartoons.
Part 2 Extras:
* Trailers for “The Last Exile- Fam, The Silver Wing-,” “Control-C,” “Michiko and Hatchin,” “The Future Diary,” “Black Butler,” “Chrome Shelled Regios,” “Black Lagoon,” “Eureka Seven AO,” “Remnant Knights Game,” and Funimation.com.
* Commentary on episode 15 by Apphia Yu, Tia Ballard and Jarrod Greene.
* 6 more parts of the chibi “Guilty Crown 4-Panel Theater.”
* A U.S. trailer for “Guilty Crown.”
* 1 textless opening song and 2 textless closing songs.
* Previews for episodes 12-21.
* “Ressortment (Series Digest)”- A recap of the first 11 episodes.
* A skippable commentary on episode 19 by Martha Harms, Caitlin Glass, and Corey Cleary-Stoner.
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