The Guilty ROSSMAN
This past anime season in Japan has kind of sucked. I had started numerous series that I simply had to give up on because they were just so shitty, and my free time has become so valuable to me that it wasn't worth it to waste any of it on a godawful 26-episode piece of crap that never should have been made in the first place, and whose creators should be drawn and quartered for the waste of airwave space they puked out on the unsuspecting public.
Finally, out of desperation for SOME brandy new series I decided to give Guilty Crown a shot. I was jonsing for some recent anime smack, and by this point I was just willing to take Production IG's newest work blind, without knowing a damn thing about it (other than the otaku were claiming it was the greatest thing since Lupin III climbed up a certain count's Castle). At first this seemed to really pay off, but soon.... *shiver...* Soon, Production IG kicked me in the ding-ding again. AGAIN!... Would have thought I'd learn by now.
Really quick, let me tell you the basic, spoiler-free plot of Guilty Crown: It's the near future and Japan has been taken over by foreigners. A boy gains some mystical powers that allows him to gain control over other people and use their own abilities against the occupying army. He soon joins up with a rebellious faction and becomes their star attraction in their tactical battle with the overwhelming enemy forces (filled to the brim with assholes and creeps). Lots of battles occur and lots of people die.
Sound familiar? Well, I was actually thinking of Code Geass while I wrote that last paragraph, but every word still totally applies to Guilty Crown. Yes, it's not very original, and yes, it had a decent start and it totally fooled me into thinking it might be something amazing as things progressed, but about halfway through its run, Guilty Crown has an "And now for something completely different" moment, and it never recovered. Now I normally love shows where where something HUGE occurs, the status quo is completely destroyed, and the remaining characters find themselves in a totally different environment that turns the whole thing into an entirely new series — like the episodes of the original Macross that took place after the Zentraedi War — only in this tale, the change in the story, tone, characterizations, and, well, EVERYTHING isn't fun and exciting and new, it's just annoying. Characters that I used to like turn into the world's biggest assholes, stupid shit starts happening that's supposed to be dramatic, but instead it just pisses me off (sooo many mentally-handicapped and annoying characters!); and as insane as the first half of the show was, the second half goes so fucking bananas with its melodramatic twists and turns that it makes the first 12 episodes look like The English Patient.
"Okay, okay, so it has an okay start, but it had stupid characters, and unbelievably fucking retarded plot devices... What's it all about? I mean what's it about in more detail, bunky?" you ask like a child who knows he shouldn't get into the beat-up van with the fat, hairy man in a wife-beater who's leering at him, but hey! Free candy and kittens!... Okay, so we start out with Japanese high school boy Shu Ouma in a devastated Japan that's suffered from a terrible (and grotesque) epidemic that caused a buttload of death and devastation 10 years earlier during an event called "The Lost Christmas." The Apocalypse Virus — that disease that tore Japan a new one a decade previous — turns the human body into a living crystal and drives the victim insane before they become one giant shard (which inevitably shatters and disintegrates), but there is a vaccine that's been discovered that can prevent infection, but it requires regular inoculations to keep the population healthy.
So anyway, Sho. Sho is a giant pussy who simply wants to become invisible and hide away from all his high school and worldly problems (worldy problems being that an international group [the global military force known as GHQ] has pretty much taken over Japan in order to keep another virus outbreak from occurring since the Japanese government totally dropped the ball on the whole Lost Christmas thing). So of COURSE Sho gets caught up in the rebellion being led by a group of militant freedom fighters called The Undertakers, and through an accident involving a vial of super-special-science juice he gains a superpower that can aid The Undertakers in their mission to kick gaijin ass out of their motherland (despite the fact that the Apocalypse Virus is still a big ass threat, and that the GHQ is the only group capable of producing enough of that there special vaccine to keep it from killing everyone... Well thought out, Undertakers!).
So this power Sho gets,
his Geass, I mean his Void, is really bizarre, but because they tried to make this series all scientifically-leaning sci-fi — what with all the virus and DNA talk, and the brain-wave controlling mecha, et. al. — the Void abilities just make no goddamn sense and totally fall into "magical powers" territory. See, with the Void Genome inside him, Sho can use his right hand to reach into people's chests (KALI-MA! KALI-MA!), make them glow from within, and then pull out a weapon that is connected to that guy or girl's personality. Some people allow Sho to pull out swords or guns, others mechanical healing bandages, and still other pussies shields... All depending on if they're strong willed, caring, or wimpy wuss-factories. The whole thing is just so goddamn goofy though, and they never satisfactorily explain this mystical, godlike power other than saying some throw-away bullshit like "The Void Genome in Sho is so powerful and sciency that it allows him to yoink out the physical form of the personality of a person just by making eye contact and reaching into their heart!.... Oh, but he can also PRETEND to make eye contact, and it'll work too... Sure. Why not..." It's just so fucking dumb. Yeah, I can appreciate and really get behind the idea of Lelouch's Geass power seeing as the Code Geass world is so bizarre and over-the-top, but they attempted to ground Guilty Crown in a more reality-based world than that. I'm sorry, but no. It does not work. And with my inability to suspend my disbelief came this series' downfall in my eyes. Well, that and the second half of this shit sandwich they call a plot.
Okay, so Sho falls in with The Undertakers, and through his special abilities and perseverance they are able to make a giant strike against the heart of the terrifying GHQ in the middle of Tokyo. But we find out that Sho's sister (whom we never even heard of before now) is the catalyst of the whole outbreak scenario (because why the hell not), the leader of the rebellion (one blonde douche named Gai) gets killed right in front of Sho, the GHQ's secret weapon is destroyed, but then the Apocalypse Virus makes a grand comeback and rocks the shit out of Japan again, thus causing a huge barricade to be erected around the heart of the city by the rest of the GHQ, locking in everybody who wasn't lucky enough to NOT be in town when shit went South.
Sho and the remaining members of The Undertakers then find themselves stuck in the middle of the shit storm though, and so they take refuge in Sho's old school (where every single teenager [and only teenagers... No adults, no elderly, no younger children] left in town hid), and then suddenly the whole story turns into Lord of the Fucking Flies. It jumped straight from a Code Geass rip-off to an Infinite Ryvius parody (but it was of course intended to be played seriously).
Sho becomes the de facto leader of the remaining kids in town (who are apparently the ONLY people left in town, which makes you wonder why the GHQ is making such a big deal in building a giant, constricting wall around the city in the first place). This happens because bad plotting. Every kid still hiding at the high school is either a total power-hungry asshole, or a timid, partially retarded moron... Sho turns into a bit of one and a lot of the other. See, because Sho watched his female classmate with the big boobies die a horrible crystallized death right in front of him (a running gag of this show apparently — people getting whacked right in his face), he loses it knowing that he'll now never see her naked, and then he uses his Void Genome powers to take control of the remaining idiot high schoolers, and he becomes a totally heartless wienie who lets kids with lesser Voids die if that death will give a stronger Void a chance to survive.
Then Gai comes back as an albino clone, and he cuts off Sho's Voided right arm (there goes Sho's Friday nights). Then this thing turns from its Infinite Ryvius storyline into a really stupid End of Evangelion rip... It turns out that this whole Apocalypse Virus is really just the head GHQ dude's attempt at killing everyone in the world in order to save them all via the Human Instrumentality Project.... Or whatever the fuck they're calling it here. Oh, and there's this little blonde asshole kid (playing the know-it-all Kaworu part) who just trolls around acting like a smug little bastard... And then Sho realizes that he hates being an emo dicktard, and he takes it upon himself to end this shit. And then the Third Impact occurs, and Sho tries to sacrifice himself to stop the global death and destruction because of the magic genomes he got back, and because his mother is not his mother, and his father and sister accidentally the virus, and Gai is nothing but a lab rat and, and, and my eyes have gone cross....
Long story short, the ending happened, and it was even lamer and filled with much more mediocrity than I ever would have guessed was possible. It was like they ran out of story to tell at around episode 12, realized they still had like 10 more episodes to go, and then simply started stealing from anything and everything they could think of to just get to the end game.
After it was all done I just sat there as I tried to collect my thoughts... The only definitive conclusion I could come up with after 4 hours of this was "This did NOT need to be made." Then I thought about it for a bit more and came up with a second conclusion: I did not need to WATCH this. This situation I had just wrapped up was EXACTLY what I had been avoiding all season with all those previous shitty shows that I had started, then wisely stopped. I had just wasted more than 10 hours of my precious life on absolute garbage. There was no point to the 22-episode story of Guilty Crown (it had been done hundreds of dozens of times before, and MUCH BETTER); all the characters were awful (just awful); and everything that happened in the course of its "plot" was based on mongoloid decision-making. I detested pretty much every last character, and I was glad when those who died died. This whole series was just an experiment in stupidity. They had nothing new to say with it, and even though they stole all their ideas from much better shows, the complete hodgepodge of plot threads and the entire dumbass cast made it aggravating and boring. Aggraring.