Guilty Crown 2: Holland of the Rebellion ~Psalms of Anemone~

Guilty Crown episode two—sure is Eureka Seven and Code Geass in here, amirite? Do you even need to watch Code Geass episode two anymore after this? (Answer below.)

No one’s surprised that this show is a lot like Code Geass. A rule I’ve discovered is that if you find a show you’re watching seems awful similar to another show you’ve seen, then there’s a good chance that the same people worked on it. Here, Yoshino Hiroyuki (writer) was the assistant writer of Code Geass; and the guy who created Code Geass (apparently), Okouchi Ichiro, is also helping with the script. These guys are clearly super-relevant, because who else can we point at for these similarities? Guilty Crown is by Production I.G. whom, while pros of the sci-fi setting, haven’t done anything quite like this. Araki Tetsuro directed Death Note, which people often compare to Code Geass, but the way in which those shows are most similar isn’t present in Guilty Crown (not to say that he isn’t a part of this). So let’s analyze each of their involvement through pure speculation.

Yoshino Hiroyuki is clearly some kind of fanservice God—a man capable of making series whose focus is never solely fanservice, yet wherein such is ever-present (the best way to do it). This guy created Seikon no Qwaser, possibly the raunchiest shounen action manga this side of Go Nagai. He also wrote Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome, two of Sunrise’s more fanservice-heavy series. We’ll leave aside the rest of his very interesting catalog of works for now—the point is, Guilty Crown is overflowing with fanservice to a level on par with Code Geass. Observe: the dancing nekomimi loli pilot.

I didn’t even skip that many frames—all of this was like two seconds of animation. I can totally imagine watching this with ghostlightning and him just saying, “wow.” They took the motorcycle cockpits from Code Geass, ramped them up to full range motion and put the most energetic character they could in the cockpit. Well, one of them—there’s also a more conventional cockpit which, when fallen out of, creates perfect breast movement.

Moving right along, Okouchi Ichiro, creator of Code Geass, is obviously important. I don’t know if it’s relevant that he wrote Turn A Gundam and Overman King Gainer, but it’s hilarious so I’m pointing it out. No—more importantly, he wrote episodes 6, 20, and 26 of Eureka Seven. I’m not sure about 6 or 26, but I know episode 20 was the height of tension between Holland and Renton—and where Renton learns that Holland wanted to be the one to pilot the Nirvash with Eureka, but couldn’t because the Nirvash chose Renton. Now observe this conversation between Gai and main dude over Inori’s failure:

Interesting! Then we have Daryl Yan.

He’s totally Anemone, right down to the line-work of his outfit. He’s a self-important bitch and batshit insane, but loyal to a certain higher up (his dad) and eager to do his work. Also, he’s a foil to Inari in that, like her, he has a weapon that can be yanked from his chest. Unlike Anemone, however, he seems to have no Dominic, and instead the main guy is the one to yank that shit out.

Tetsuro Araki’s influence in all of this is more understated, but probably equally important. Having directed Death Note, he knows how to handle twist-heavy mind game scenarios like the one Gai uses in this episode and which Lelouch was so fond of in Code Geass. He’s no slouch for the fanservice aspect either, having directed Highschool of the Dead. Here, he is simply The Man For the Job.

Returning to Code Geass—this episode bore staggering resemblance to Code Geass episode two, from the mecha, to the setting, to the vehicles, to the genocide, to the tricky plan. The episode doesn’t stand up to its forebear, however, because by the end of Code Geass episode two, Lelouch was an interesting character with a strong sense of self. You may have noticed that I’ve been referring to the main guy in Guilty Crown as “main guy” throughout this post—that’s because I can’t remember his name, because I dont’ give half a shit about him. He’s done nothing interesting except for pull things from peoples’ chests. Gai, who’s the mastermind of the operation, is utterly boring so far, constantly spouting aggravating cliches and acting like a douche. Even Inori, for all that I could stare at her chest, is so uninteresting that the moment another flat-chested girl came along with a little more personality, I’d forgotten all about her.

There are good things about Guilty Crown, but you know what they are. Instead, I’ll leave you with the most Code Geassian image of the entire episode:

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39 Responses to Guilty Crown 2: Holland of the Rebellion ~Psalms of Anemone~

  1. Stormshrug says:

    I’ll confess that I’ve been pretty intrigued by Guilty Geass so far, and that no small part of that interest stems from the fact that Code Geass, brilliant, horrible mess that it is, is one of my favorite anime series in terms of raw, subjective enjoyment*, and probably the show most directly responsible for getting me back into anime after a long slump caused by video gaming and a lack of anything particularly compelling on [Adult Swim] for too long.

    What I find particularly interesting about Guilty Geass is how much like the prenatal form of Code Geass it is. As I’ve heard it told on Tvtropes, in its earliest stages of concept work, Code Geass was actually supposed to be based on a relationship not of two peers, but between a charismatic, manipulative (and blonde-haired) anti-hero and his more genuinely heroic ace pilot protege/pawn, the two having a relationship more akin to that of Char and Kamille than that of Lelouch and Suzaku as they ended up. This relationship played out somewhat between Lelouch and Kallen, but their relationship was almost always subservient to their respective rivalries with Suzaku and their rampant UST.

    This becomes interesting if you look at Guilty Crown. Oma Shou (lol Omashu) is basically your typical Real Robot mecha hero, except that he falls into weird virus bankai powers instead of a giant robot. Gai is A CHAR (more vintage: CCA than Zeta Gundam, as we’ve seen so far). And the two definitely will be having some kind of relationship as the series progresses, if only because of Inori (but the aforesaid virus bankai powers are probably going to force them together, too).

    So, is Guilty Geass what the original, unformed Code Geass was meant to be, in certain ways? That possibility alone makes it pretty interesting to me.

    Judging the show on its own merits: I agree that Oma Shou will need to get his shit together and get interesting fast, but if I didn’t watch *EVERY* anime series that started out with [mediocre, downtrodden male lead #24902482498249], I wouldn’t get to watch much anime. I have to differ on Gai, though. Gai is like Zero, he’s a showman. He’s clearly spouting cliches because they’re effective for getting the job he wants done done. As to his being a douche, well, the guy is pretty much a terrorist, even if he has good reasons for being one. I feel that kind of comes with the territory. I also suspect there’s more to him than the harsh exterior and carefully cultivated image of a leader – we haven’t seen anything through his eyes yet, but I’m betting he has more depth than he seems to at the moment.

    • >>Gai is CHAR<<

      No, I can't accept this. Gai can't be Char—if anything he's closer to Bright Noa, and even then he pales in comparison. Am I being unfair to him after only two episodes? I don't think so, because so far he's an ass in a not-good way. As Otou-san pointed out over on Sea Slugs ( see here: http://www.seaslugteam.com/2011/10/13/guilty-crown-01/ ) he gives the lead character, some average kid, shit for not trying to rescue a girl he's never met when he had six armed dudes standing in his way. I expect it from the kid to beat himself up over it, but Gai adding to that is just being a stupid dick, especially when the kid actually conjured the stones to deliver the device.

      Kamille and Char are awesome; Kamille and Bright Noa are awesome; neither of these guys is awesome. Kamille is a great character because he's so full of aimless teen rage. Even Amuro has personality from the beginning of the show. He emotes. This guy just blankly stares at the situation and get mad at himself for being normal. Shinji running away from NERV in Evangelion episode 4 is interesting character building—Shou running back to his normal life is virtually meaningless.

      I can't say too much about Gai yet because indeed we don't know his motivations, but if it turns out he's fighting for freedom yadda yadda, then he'll instantly be less interesting than Char, Kamille, Lelouche, Amuro, whoever you want, because fighting for peace alone is boring. But we shall see. It's not like I'm betting on this show to make bad decisions and suck, but so far, it doesn't give me confidence.

      • Stormshrug says:

        He’s totally A CHAR. Morally ambiguous, kind of a dick, more skilled than but not as magically gifted as the main protagonist, a rival in both war and love, has mysterious motives, and is blonde. That’s way more than you need to hit the baseline for “A CHAR” right there.

        Don’t misunderstand me: being A CHAR does not make him a good character. There are PLENTY of sh*tty Char-clones wandering around the realm of animu. Whether Gai is a good character or not is a totally separate question, and one whose answer remains to be seen. Personally, I have no doubt that he *isn’t* as good a character as Char. But Char is one of the most iconic anime characters of all time, so make of that what you will.

        I do find it interesting, though, that you complain that this guy is a dick but laud Char – the guy who backstabbed his best friend and the CALLED HIM UP TO GLOAT ABOUT IT AS HE DIED. Char is a huge dick (as is Lelouch), and it’s part of what makes him great. I’m sure you mean that this guy is a dick in boring, seemingly pointless ways, while Char is a dick in hilarious, flamboyant ways, but given that we know virtually nothing about Gai yet, Char easily seems the bigger dick to me.

  2. Ryan A says:

    I am amused.

    Guilty Crown is by Production I.G. whom, while pros of the sci-fi setting, haven’t done anything quite like this.

    I would have suspected Bones and P.I.G. have swapped features this season with Guilty Crown and Un-Go. Spot on with the E7 points, though I did make the comment that Guilty Crown’s main lead differs greatly from Renton, which I found interesting. Renton seemed to accept what was there, out of a vast intrigue (perhaps a character with more ambition and intrigue than many of the characters we see today). Meanwhile, Shuu the Guilty Crown protag has no sense of motivation whatsoever.. probably asexual, considering Inori. But that’s a good point to distinguish I believe, Renton was clearly captivated by Eureka, and maybe Shuu is the same with Inori, but he doesn’t bite. Ugh.

    • Un-Go is actually very Bones, considering they’re pros at making shows for girls (Ouran High School Host Club, No. 6, etc). Guilty Crown is utterly Sunrise to me, which it’s hard not to be for the reasons in this post. The background art, though, certainly is a Production IG thing.

      Yeah if Shuu is hot for Inori he’s not showing it at all. Which I mean how the fuck can’t he be…

  3. animekritik says:

    The biggest difference between Code Geass and Guilty Crown (CG and GC, is this deliberate too?) is the lead characters. The chasm between Lelouch and this guy is so wide and deep it makes me wonder what these directors/creators are thinking. It’s like they’re trying to reboot Code Geass with Shinji at the helm, which is problematic (just because Lelouch worked in Geass and Shinji worked in Eva doesn’t mean you can swap things around and come up with a compelling show).

    There are only two possible fates for Gai: 1) he turns out to be an evil mastermind; 2) he is good as advertised but gets killed around episode 6 or 7. Otherwise the show won’t be able to endure him.

    • Or, better, he goes the way of Holland, one of the best-developed characters in anime, though I don’t see this happening. I can see it trying and not being as good, though.

    • Stormshrug says:

      Shuu is no Lelouch, but he isn’t supposed to be. His role is much more like Suzaku’s, really – he’s the ace, Gai is the flamboyant, over the top mastermind.

      That said, you raise a good point: Code Geass was good (while it was good) because it was “The Lelouch Show.” Guilty Crown has to overcome the fact that it doesn’t have a protagonist with that raw amount of charisma.

  4. I haven’t really thought much about the characters because right now they’re still little more than a pile of tropes and references. Now I like references more than anyone I think, but I somehow feel that this show isn’t remembering love for the sources as much as cannibalizing them for silver bullets to appeal to viewers.

    Right now, this show still interests me in that mecha battles will come in some form, some way later on, and that the character designs are appealing. The story itself and the characters themselves aren’t.

    It’s amusing how the idol singer transfer student straight out of Macross Frontier card gets played in the second episode.

    I want all the characters to die cruel deaths, not because I hate them, but because I think this’d be interesting for this show.

  5. Huntsman says:

    Interesting post and comments.

    While the lack of someone like Lelouch in the protagonist seat is the most obvious difference, I think Guilty Crown is also lacking a lot of characterization in general, even if we just compare the first two episodes of Code Geass to their equivalents in this show. Take Suzaku, for instance, who doesn’t seem to be directly represented in this show, but we knew a bit more about him and his contrast/conflict with Lelouch than what we know about, say, either Shur or Gai.

    The structure of both series is similar, at least episodically, and some of the same tricks are certainly being shared…but the contents are different enough once you try to go through the details.

    Ironically enough, next year’s Code Geass Gaiden (directed by Kazuki Akane, of all people) will probably be significantly different from both Guilty Crown and the original Code Geass series, in ways that will either make most of these comparisons not applicable or at least far more complicated.

    For one thing, we know the main character (Akito) is apparently not going to act like Lelouch but he’s certainly not a confused, coward youth like Shu either. What little we know indicates he is already a soldier. And the girl, Layla, may be whatever and probably not another C.C. either, but I also don’t think she’ll be as irritating as Inori the mindless doll.

  6. Pingback: Fall 2011 Week Three (Never Exercise Extensive Triteness) | My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull

  7. foshizzel says:

    Very nice post and I have to agree on some of the characters being less interesting than others, Inori is very dull! She only says what three to four lines in this episode? Sure she sings and looks pretty but that’s about all oh and fan service of course. But like you said as soon as the other girls like Tsugumi got their five minutes of screen time I up and forgot about Inori too due to her boring personality…

    There was one character I wanted to see besides Inori that was Ayase because of that original cover art, because I use a wheelchair too but that’s just one thing I wanted to learn more about her assuming it’s an injury or something else. But sadly even that character will just be a random fan service character but this series does have plenty of other girls to drool over xD

    Main guy is boring too! He is just going with the flow I suppose and I get the same Eureka Seven/Geass and everything else from this series ah well twenty two episodes to work with maybe we will get something “original” out of this.

  8. I find all these comments here pretty interesting, but instead of comparing Guilty Crown to other shows, we should just sit down and enjoy it 🙂 I mean, when CodeGeass came out people on MAL were comparing it to GundamSeed and LOTGH all the time and now after some years people accept CodeGeass as an anime on its own. Just saying.

    • That would be kind of dull too, not to watch a show within such an interesting tradition. Comparing new shows to memorable ones is a lot of fun.

      When the new show becomes its own thing, then everybody wins. For now, the jury deliberated.

      • I’m with GL but more importantly, this is making something out of the show. Besides this, I have nothing to say about it, but this is something to say which interests me, as one who loves tracing influences and involvement of creators. It gives me worth that the show isn’t offering on its surface.

    • schneider says:

      A big part of mecha fandom is connecting new shows to newer ones. All mecha anime essentially stand on the shoulders of its predecessors.

      Nothing bad in being derivative, either.

  9. Xard says:

    Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)14:28 No.56095012

    >Interviews/Q&A w/ producers from FujiTV, >- Production IG and Aniplex
    >- Inori’s main drawing point is her armpits.
    >- Suits are reminiscent of Eva, they asked redjuice to make sexy characters.
    >- Supercell’s doing Egoist’s music throughout, OST’s coming out next year.
    >- Main inspirations were GiTS and the Eden of the East. Has similarities to Code Geass because of some of same staff, but GC is trying to be more like GiTS+Eden. Director is trying to make this his personal GiTS.
    >- Been in development for 2 years.

    it’s shit like all anime

    • animekritik says:

      I’m kind of reminded of dog breeds. You know that there are very different breeds around, sometimes radically so (chihuahua, sharpei, doberman) but if you start mixing them with each other you eventually end up with the same animal: the quintessential mutt. Now, the analogy breaks down here, because mutts tend to be lovely animals (though they may not look as striking as purebreds) whereas I’m not sure you can say the same about mutt anime.

  10. Vendredi says:

    I have to say it’s probably the first anime that has cast the U.N., or some U.N.-like entity, as the bad guys. I really can’t think of anything else that has done it before.

  11. More than Code Geass and Eureka SeveN, the more meaningful and/or relevant comparison to draw with this show is with Fractale. After ep 03 you’ll find that this makes a lot more sense.

  12. zeishi says:

    Kewl, I ought to blog about their similarities and differences also. I am currently watching Code Geass, and watching it makes me remember Guilty Crown. They really both have similarities starting off with the rebellion thing. And with Death Note too, Kira and Zero have similarities with their goal of achieving a peaceful world with the use of power. I haven’t watched Eureka Seven yet so I just have three anime series to compare. 😀

  13. Pingback: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 « memoirs of an angel

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