What They Say:
Shu’s entire world was shattered after a meteorite crashed into Japan, unleashing the lethal Apocalypse Virus. The chaos and anarchy born of the outbreak cost Shu his family and reduced him to a timid, fearful shell of the boy he’d once been. His life took another unexpected turn after a chance encounter with the stunning pop star, Inori. This mysterious beauty introduced Shu to the King’s Right Hand: a genetic mutation that allows him to reach into hearts of mortals and turn them into weapons. Shu finds himself caught in the crossfire between those who desperately seek his newfound strength. On one side lurks a clandestine government agency, and on the other, Inori and the spirited band of rebels known as Funeral Parlor. The choice is Shu’s to make – and the world is his to change.
This Blu-ray collection would not be complete without full Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, and I’m happy to share that is available. Guilty Crown has easily one of the greatest anime soundtracks ever composed and you’re able to hear it in its purest form. Every theme, track, and word is crystal clear and presented in the best way possible. The English voiceovers are high quality, too, allowing for sufficient viewing in either the English or original Japanese dubbing.
Animated by Production I.G., you will not be disappointed in the animation quality of Guilty Crown. In its original airing, it wowed with its sharp art style, expressive characters, and vibrant backgrounds. The Blu-ray collection only amps that even higher, showcasing Production I.G.’s stunning work better than ever before.
Guilty Crown’s artwork shines all over the packaging for the collection. My initial reactions were just how thick and heavy the case is for a non-collector’s edition set. The collection is covered with the traditional slipcase starring the main hero and heroine, Shu and Inori, in their finest forms, with the actual case underneath having the same artwork. Each of the 8 discs (4 DVD’s, 4 Blu-ray) is uniquely colored in an almost muted, holographic look, with a different main character.
This collection has a good mix of menus that host your typical options while featuring shots from the series. The art is always pleasing to look at, so it only helps the simple menu style.
There are a breadth of extras available in this collection that adds immense value to this already relatively reasonably-priced collection. The textless openings and endings are always welcome, but unique things like commentaries, the theater short, and behind the scenes additions make the whole collection very well-rounded.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Before we go any further, let me be clear: Guilty Crown is (as of this writing and since around the time it came out) my favorite anime. With that cleared up and out of the way, let’s continue. Guilty Crown is certainly an anime that had a very ambitious and huge goal in mind, with an equally large budget. Following everyman (everystudent?) Shu Ouma, Guilty Crown follows the war between terrorist group Funeral Parlor and military-ran government in the aftermath of an apocalyptic virus. Shu has the “King’s Power”, an ability that allows him to utilize the ‘Voids’ in each person as a weapon, and also causes him to be caught in the cross-fire between the warring organizations. That may sound like a mouthful already, and you wouldn’t be wrong to think so. Guilty Crown’s biggest flaw is, unfortunately, its ambition. It tries too hard to have an extremely complex plot with many different branches that it ends up falling short for most of the first half of the show. While it does clear up most of the confusion by the midway point, by then, it felt just slightly rushed.
Despite that, there are a lot of things to enjoy from the show outside of the main story. For example: the characters. The cast can be essentially broken up into three categories: Shu’s high school classmates, Funeral Parlor, and the villainous military. There are more characters altogether than I think I can count, but the core cast is unique and enjoyable enough to watch. The main villains, each falling into the typical roles of sadistic one, crazy one, and mastermind, are mostly cliche but have voice actors that perform them well enough to make them a joy to watch. Funeral Parlor, on the other hand, is mostly devoid of interesting characters.
Main characters and leaders of the terrorist group, Gai and Inori, are both extremely hard to enjoy. I, personally, like the main girl Inori, but her personality is very bland and empty, not giving the audience much to go on outside of looks. Gai is straight up my most hatest character of all-time. He is unlikeable to the highest extent in his sacrifice anything to achieve his goals-way of thinking. However, Ayase, a girl bound to a wheelchair, steals the show with her bold attitude despite her handicap. Finally, Shu and his schoolmates bring a great balance to the cast. Each one of them is totally normal and not special in any way, and that actually helped a lot. Their realistic reactions to crazy events going on bring the show back down to earth (sometimes literally).
But, it’s their character development in the second half that brings everything together. While the main story does have a rather final stopping point halfway, the second half does a great job of developing each main and side character nicely. Shu’s development, in particular, is the strongest point of the entire season, with some realistic and human changes that happen in him that rival any I’ve ever seen period. Also, the second half proceeds towards the end more gently than the first, giving a more clear and welcome ending to the season overall. In fact, it’s one of the few shows I’ve ever watched where I can proudly say that I have no desire to see a season 2 come about, as the team at Production I.G. completely accomplished what they set out to do.
Guilty Crown is my favorite anime of all-time and the reasons why are exemplified in this must-have collection for fans. All the stunning visuals, intricate composition, and endearing characters are presented in their best way to date. Following Shu’s emotional journey through a world on the brink of apocalypse is better than ever with all the included extras, making this a no-brainer purchase for fans.
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Actor Commentaries, Guilty Crown 4-Panel Theater, Into the Void: The Creative Vision, Episode Previews, Promotional Videos, TV Spots, Textless Songs, Trailers
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A–
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: July 5th, 2016
Running Time: 600 Minutes (500-Main Feature, 100-Special Feature)
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony 50″ LED 1080p HDTV, Sony PlayStation 4 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.