Have seen the start of many good shows this fall anime season, but seldom does the first episode of a series strike me as much as the one of “Guilty Crown” did, it left me awe-struck. Only a few other series managed to blow me away right from the start like that, which includes “Code Geass” and “Ghost In The Shell: Stand-Alone Complex”.
In fact those series immediately came to mind while watching “Guilty Crown”. There’s several striking parallels as well as differences when comparing this show to “Code Geass” and “Ghost In The Shell”.
Taking place in the year 2039 after a virus outbreak wreaked havoc across Japan a decade earlier, the new order established in Japan by an international organization GHQ is one where its citizens are bereft of true freedom.
While a mere disillusioned and socially inept student, Shuu’s life takes a radically different direction when he meets Inori and gains a mysterious power allowing him to materialize weapons from a person’s body.
That brief synopsis immediately draws likenesses to “Code Geass”, mostly the first encounter between the main characters Shuu and Inori, as well as Shuu gaining a supernatural power to use in battling the world eschewed balance.
Nonetheless the first episode suggests there just as many differences with “Code Geass”, for instance Shuu is not a genius driven by an unstoppable desire for revenge and rebellion against the established order like Lelouch, while Inori doesn’t seem as inhuman or wicked as C.C., though there were hints that there is more than meets the eye about both of them.
With Production IG in charge of the animation, it does not come as a surprise that the striking visuals and background of futuristic looking Tokyo in “Guilty Crown” are reminiscent of how a futuristic Japan was rendered in “Ghost In The Shell”.
Add to that the cloaking devices, detailed mecha designs and pods used by people to dive into to control those mecha, the whole visual atmosphere is very much akin to that of “Ghost In The Shell”. In fact, the visuals and mecha styling used look more refined and realistic than those seen in “Code Geass”.
What strengthens my faith that this show might turn out to be one of the better series this season or perhaps even this year is the creative staff behind it. Besides renowned studio Production IG being at the helm for the animation, the director Araki Testurou also worked on solid series like “Death Note” and “Black Lagoon”.
Oukouchi Ichirou and Yoshino Hiroyuki, two of the writers of “Guilty Crown”, have also worked on “Code Geass”, though Oukouchi also wrote for “Rahxephon” while Yoshino worked on “Macross Frontier” and “So-Ra-No-Wo-To”.
The original character designs were created by artist Redjuice and adapted by Katou Hiromi for the anime. Having already created music which was used in “Bakemonogatari” and “Black★Rock Shooter”, Supercell is providing the opening, closing and some of the insert songs for “Guilty Crown”.
The enigmatic and enchanting Inori is voiced by Kayano Ai, who previously voiced Isana in “Yumekui Merry” and Menma in “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi ha Mada Shiranai”. Kaji Yuuki is voicing Shuu, he previously did roles like Kouichi in “Hanasaku Iroha”.
Taketatsu Ayana voices Tsugumi, she is also voicing other characters in different shows that are also airing this season such as Fuu in “Tamayura ~hitotose~” and Asebi in “Ben-To”.
Based on this first episode which set the bar very high, can only hope the rest of “Guilty Crown” will be just as epic or even better. Highly recommend you give this show a try!