Guilty Crown-Collection One (Giruti Kuraun) (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 20-Nov-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Audio Commentary-US Voice cast commentaries x 2
Episode Introductions-Episode Previews
More…-Guilty Crown 4 – Panel Theater
Featurette-Into the Void : The Creative Vision
More…-Textless Opening and Closing Songs x3
Trailer-Promotional Videos
TV Spots
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 251:32
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tetsuro Araki
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yuki Kaji
Austin Tindle
Ai Kayano
Alexis Tipton
Yuichi Nakamura
Micah Solusod
Nobutoshi Canna
John Swasey
Kana Hanazawa
Emily Neves
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Hiroyuki Sawano


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"The right to use my friend as a weapon
That is the Guilty Crown I shall adorn"

     It is the year 2029. Ten years previously Japan had been devastated by a meteor, followed by the Apocalypse Virus and the “Lost Christmas” riots. To safeguard law and order the country was taken over by GHQ, a fascist military organisation which rules with an iron grip and whose forces, equipped with huge mechanised fighting suits called Endlaves, have the authority to terminate anyone they consider to be diseased. Ordinary people have no citizen rights and so resistance movements, including the Funeral Parlor group led by the manipulative Gai (voiced by Yuichi Nakamura / Micah Solusod), emerged to challenge the ruling military.

     As Guilty Crown (Giruti Kuraun) commences, Shu Ouma (Yuki Kaji / Austin Tindle) is a shy and withdrawn 17 year old student. Inori (Ai Kayano / Alexis Tipton), lead vocalist with the band Egoist and a member of the Funeral Parlor, has stolen the Void Genom from GHQ and is attempting to get it to Gai. When she is attacked by soldiers she hides in an abandoned building where Shu stumbles upon her. She asks Shu for help, but he is too afraid and Inori is caught. However the soldiers do not find the Genom which Inori has hidden in Funell, a small round robot, and Shu, feeling guilty, takes it to Gai.

     When Shu meets Gai the soldiers who hold Inori attack; in the course of the conflict Shu has a chance to atone for his earlier failure and he rescues Inori. As they are about to be killed by the Endlaves Inori passes the Void Genom powers to Shu: it seems that every person has a Void and unique weapons within them and the Void Genom allows the possessor the ability to tap into each person’s Void and use the weapon. With this power, Shu protects Inori and defeats the Endlaves. But when Gai offers Shu the chance to join the Funeral Parlor and help to protect the ordinary people he declines. But Gai is not prepared to let the power Shu now possesses out of his control, and a tug of war for Shu’s mind and soul commences between Gai and the GHQ forces, especially Major Segai (Nobutoshi Canna / John Swasey), who has his own agenda. And, to complicate matters, it seems there is a deeper connection between Shu, Gai and Inori, going back to the Lost Christmas.

     Guilty Crown Collection 1 contains the first 11 episodes of the series which aired on Fuji TV in Japan from October to December 2011. This anime postulates another disaster scenario, with meteor strikes, a deadly virus, Japan controlled by a military power, an absence of citizen rights and the rise of revolutionary groups, a bit like Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, season 2 of which I reviewed on this site. So Guilty Crown is nothing unique but the difference is that the main character, Shu, is a very reluctant participant; he is cowardly and shy, has doubts and changes his position on a number of occasions while being manipulated by Gai and Inori as well as Segai. While there is never any doubt about his ultimate decision, this makes Shu an interesting character and the show is strongest when it concentrates on the relationships between Shu, Inori and Gai.

     Inori is another of these anime females with mysterious powers and a mysterious past. The songs Inori sings are critical to the plot of Guilty Crown; they are not only poignant, they also have a power far beyond the music, an ability to circumvent the force of some GHQ weaponry. Inori also initiates Shu to the world of the Void, yet at the end of this first series she remains very much an enigma.

     Guilty Crown certainly has its share of colourful and explosive battle sequences and there is good variety; there are fights in the street, in an underground complex, a large liner at sea and at an airport. Yet, while there are many battles with a range of mechanical units and other weapons involved, the series does not introduce such a wide range of ancillary characters that the action sequences become impersonal; one of the most interesting fighters is the crippled female warrior Ayasa (Kana Hanazawa / Emily Neves), the Funeral Parlor’s top Endlave pilot. Episode 11 ends on a real explosive cliff-hanger where much is turned on its head and a new threat arises. The fact that the first episode of season 2 is called The Lost Christmas hints at more revelations to come.

     Guilty Crown Collection 1 is interesting and complex anime. The battles are varied, loud and explosive, the animation colours beautiful and the series is powerful because it mostly concentrates upon a few main characters who all have their flaws. Season 1 leaves a lot of questions to be answered and hints at far more complex relationships to come in season 2.

     This two Blu-ray set of Guilty Crown Collection 1 includes episodes 1-7 on disc 1 and episodes 8-11plus extras (except for commentaries) on disc 2.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Guilty Crown is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print looks beautiful. Pastel backgrounds that look like watercolour paintings alternate with CGI grungy deserted buildings, no-go areas and battle scenes where the reds and yellows of explosions are vivid. The lines are clean and detailed in close-ups and static shots but some backgrounds are quite soft. Blacks and shadow detail are fine.

     I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is very approximate in either audio track.

     The English subtitles are in American English in a clear white font. The subtitles are burnt in when the Japanese dub is selected so cannot be removed for Japanese speakers. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 or English TrueHD 5.1.

     I prefer to listen to the Japanese audio in anime although this one is a harder choice. The Japanese is only 2.0, but is surround encoded so the rears featured music, explosions, rocket and cannon fire and the crunch of the fighting suits. The sub-woofer supported explosions and falling debris. The English 5.1 dub was crisper, with better separation and more enveloping effects in the surrounds and rears and good sub-woofer supported the engines, explosions and crash of falling buildings. Songs and music feature quite heavily in this anime and they certainly sounded better in 5.1.

     I listened to the first few episodes alternating the audio (it cannot be changed on the fly with the remote – you must go to the set up menu). Dialogue was clear in both, however I still found the English voice cast lacking in intensity compared to the Japanese. It is a difficult call, but in the end I did go with the Japanese dub.

     The score by Hiroyuki Sawano is an integral part of the series. It is impressive and dramatic although at times, especially in some action sequences, the music was very loud in the mix. On the other hand, the songs written by ryo were poignant and very effective.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The audio commentaries are on disc 1. All the other extras are on disc 2.

Commentary – Episode 2

     US voice cast members Alexis Tipton, Austin Tindle and Micah Solusod (the voices of Inori, Shu and Gai respectively) sit together and watch the episode. They mostly laugh and chat about nothing much in particular but do talk a bit about their favourite parts of the show and the music.

Commentary – Episode 4

     US voice cast members Monica Rial, Emily Neves and John Swasey (the voices of Tsugumi, Ayase and Segai respectively) may be watching the episode but they say nothing about the show, laugh a lot and talk about techniques for voicing anime, Texas and conventions.

Episode Previews (5:52)

     Instead of having the preview of the next show at the end of each episode, this extra collects the previews for all episodes together. They can be selected separately or there is a play all option.

Guilty Crown 4 – Panel Theater (7:25)

     These are a series of short, roughly drawn cartoons with some characters from the show, although this has nothing to do with the anime. The heading of each cartoon is Guil-TEA Clown, by Yuupon. The menu offers Parts 1-6, although in reality there are two short cartoons in each part except the last, so in fact there are 11 “Phases”. There is a “Play all” function. Decidedly strange.

Into the Void : The Creative Vision (10:07)

     Footage from the anime series and from the New York Comic Con 2011. Three of the series’ producers, Ryo Ohyama, Koji Yamamoto and George Wada, sit together and answer (in Japanese) questions posed in a text screen, talking about the inspirations for the series, the challenges of producing an anime that was not based on a manga and the North American fans’ reaction. Worth a look.

Textless Opening Song – Version 1 (3:58)

     The version of opening song used in episode 1 without the credits.

Textless Opening Song – Version 2 (1:33)

     The opening song for the other episodes without the credits.

Textless Closing Song – phase 01 (1:32)

     One version of the closing song without the credits. I should point out that the animation under the closing credits differs in each episode.

Promotional Videos (3:16)

     Japanese promotions for both the anime and merchandising – burnt in English subtitles.

TV Spots (1:51)

     Three TV spots for the series.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our local release of Guilty Crown is the same as the Region B UK version. The Region A US release has identical technical specifications and extras as well, but comes with DVDs of the series.

Summary

     I enjoyed Guilty Crown a lot. It has its share of colourful and explosive battle sequences and the series raises some complex ideas about loyalty, friendship and power while the main characters are flawed and interesting. Episode 11 ends on a cliff-hanger which leaves a lot of questions to be answered and hints at far more complex relationships to come. Bring on Series 2.

     The video is beautiful, the audio good although the original Japanese audio is only 2.0. There is a range of extras and we get what is available in other regions.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, February 10, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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