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.
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.