Guilty Crown Episode 1 – Being Derivative…

I really, really like this eyecatch.

Let’s face it. No matter how we look at it, Guilty Crown’s first episode is far from being original.

We have the protagonist who has a “normal” life (for a certain definition of normalcy), given a personality that is easy to relate to, at least one female childhood friend/love interest. He eventually meets some mysterious, queer, shy and/or beautiful girl who may or may not have powers. The protagonist gets attached to this mysterious girl much to the dismay of the unfortunate childhood friend/love interest. While I don’t know if Guilty Crown is planning to go in that direction, we have seen a whole lot of anime with this kind of setup.

Childhood friend?

We now have this protagonist, who is somewhat special in a way, either by having some unique ability or a generic chick-magnet tendency. Guilty Crown has opted for the former as it looks to be an action-oriented anime.

Now since this is now an action-oriented anime, we have to choose the means of which they will dish it out in the battlefield. Guilty Crown chose to use robots, and awesome ones at that with a little twist on the part of the protagonist.

To top it off, the anime uses a virus to create a sense of crisis and to give the plot something to wrap itself upon.

See where I’m going? The point is that Guilty Crown’s first episode seems to be just an amalgamation of commonly used tropes in anime today. It is a very derivative setting. A generic canvas on which the staff will have to rely on their skills to make a series that would generate high Blu-Ray sales or impress even the most annoying of critics.

Now, is this a bad thing? People are starting to get all up and annoyed just because they have seen something like this before *ahem*Code Geass*ahem*. No. The way I see it, it is these kinds of series that have the most potential to be a great anime.

A generic opening episode creates maximum possibilities. Since the characters are shallow, their personalities are easier to work with. Since the setting is derivative, they can think of ways to make it stand out from the rest of the anime out there. You see, it’s just a matter of handling the cards you have in front of you. Just look at some examples of great anime with derivative settings: Clannad and Madoka, to name a few. Just like in Tarot, you have the same cards every time, but the results are always unique. I’m hoping that Guilty Crown can deliver us quality, and with the staff it has, I’m betting that Guilty Crown won’t disappoint.

Just so you know, I’m planning on covering Guilty Crown and Persona 4. Persona 4 episode 2 post later, I hope.

P.S.: I am not fond of mecha, and it takes a lot to impress me in terms of robot design and capabilities, but the mecha in Guilty Crown are in many ways awesome! The brawl with Gai was also quite fun to watch.

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27 Responses to Guilty Crown Episode 1 – Being Derivative…

  1. ilegendC says:

    Yes! Just what I thought, although the mecha designs in Guilty Crown didn’t seemed that unique to me though…

    For a generic action anime, we usually have the main character, most of the time a boy, a normal “childhood”/ good friend to keep the nichijou or innocent part of their lives going when there’s no action at the moment, and a “unique” or special girl he met by chance to bring him all the epic-ness and intense action that makes up the show, or at least that’s what I think after watching animes of the genre~

    Overall both sides keep a delicate balance to keep the show interesting, and also full as a whole.

    • @fkeroge says:

      It’s not about the mechas’ uniqueness that got me. It was just quite fresh to see less humanoid mechs here, although they probably should have included anti-personnel weaponry to take care of, say… a runaway terrorist girl?

      Interesting that you say that an ordinary setting makes a “full” show. True, we need some breaks from heavy stuff every now and then.

  2. Azure says:

    I have successfully ignored any negative aspects of Guilty Crown with blind bias and the power of love.

  3. Cyurio says:

    I pretty much agree with everything in this post. They can’t really avoid a generic start, given the genre they have to work with. Episode 1 is all about first impressions, and I have to say I was very much impressed. I’m looking forward to how Guilty Crown will unfold.

    PS. Dood, you forgot to mention the music. supercell ❤

    • @fkeroge says:

      Nice to see that this anime fit your peculiar tastes, man.

      “PS. Dood, you forgot to mention the music. supercell <3"

      I'll fanboy over the music later! Not now.

  4. TRazor says:

    The biggest gripe me and most others have with this show is its protagonist. Shoma is a pansy whiny anti-social. There’s only route of character development for him and we all know how it’s going to work since we’ve seen it time and again in recent shows. He’s slowly going to become stronger and Gai & Co. are going to make him spout inspirational dialogues and make him learn trust and other social skills. I just hope they prove me wrong.

    And at the end of the day, generic is generic. Geass and Death Note’s first episodes were nothing spectacular. They were just good. But the thing is, they hinted at something greater, something superb to come. Guilty Crown didn’t. It was dry as hell. I see this nothing more than a so-so plot with above-average presentation. Art and animation was good, but then again, that hardly counts for much unless its uber-spectacular.

    But hey, you never know.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Well, the way I see it, the protagonist really has bravery and guts in him, otherwise, he would have just handed the little rice cooker robot over to the street punks. He just keeps it inside himself to avoid causing trouble for other people, hence, he comes off as socially awkward and wimpy. He has no excuse for being dense, though.

      It’s true that CG and Death Note aimed for the stars in their respective opening episodes while Guilty Crown pretty much laid low. I guess that would count as a flaw. But still, anime isn’t just all plot and story. There’s also animation and soundtrack, and you have to admit, Guilty Crown’s production values rival those of anime movies.

    • flomu says:

      Renton Thurston.

  5. I sure as hell haven’t seen a lot of anime but i’ve read enough books and stuff to say that this is a rather generic setting. And as you said, an excellent platform to give it the opportunity to stand out. I personally really liked Guilty Crown. Then again, i’m incredibly easy to impress ;D

    (About the mech’s designs, i didn’t quite like them. Looked too droid-ish like :P)

  6. kluxorious says:

    The only problem I have with this show is the generic story and shallow characters. It doesn’t bring anything unique to the table and I have come to expect it from a show that featured in noitaminA.

    So here I am hoping that you’re right about the potential of this show.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Come on, now. When did noitaminA bring us something completely original? Maybe some original gimmicks like what [C] did, but at the core of every noitamniA show, there is this level of generic-ness that stories cannot avoid. Almost all shows today present derivative settings and content, but a select few still manage to end up being great.

      • TRazor says:

        Actually [C] had blockbuster potential. They just went ahead and ruined it.

        • Valence says:

          Which , I think , is inherent in the phrase’ original gimmicks’.

          Well, in ALL shows, rather, there is a level of generic-ness stories cannot avoid. Nothing is 100% unique.Every possible scenario, cliche, story , plot-line, plot device, character archetype, hero, villain, setting, and so on, have all been played out in anime and our visual media’s long history. Surely, everything is ‘generic’ to an extent, and hence genericness shouldn’t exactly be used as a way to judge how a show should be like. We can’t say a show is bad just because it’s similar to others.

          • @fkeroge says:

            You pretty much hit the nail on the head.

          • TRazor says:

            Surely, Guilty Crown could have avoided a ton of cliches? I’m not saying it should be completely devoid of any because that’s impossible. A little bit of being generic in terms of basic plot is fine, but this one is absolutely the same as any standard shonen. I dunno about you, but I expect more from the hyped-to-the-moon Guilty Crown.

            As always, shows change. And all this is based on episode 1.

            • @fkeroge says:

              The great amount of anime cliches is just an illusion created by our anime watching experiences. If Guilty Crown was one of my first anime, I would certainly be jumping for joy at the developments.

              But still, you can’t deny that the show has potential, even in the eyes of us veterans.

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  8. Kaevex says:

    From what I’ve seen Guilty Crown just reminds me of Code Geass a lot, but it just falls short in terms of story line and characters compared to Code Geass.

  9. Nopy says:

    I also thought that the first episode was rather generic, I didn’t see any relation to Code Geass though. What’s keeping me watching are: Tsumugi, Inori, and Supercell music.

  10. Pingback: Anime Review: Guilty Crown Episode 1 | This Euphoria!

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