Guilty Crown: Complete Series (Giruti Kuraun) (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 7-Sep-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Audio Commentary-US Voice cast commentaries x 4
Episode Introductions-Episode Previews
More…-Guilty Crown 4 – Panel Theater x 2
Featurette-Into the Void : The Creative Vision
More…-Textless Opening and Closing Songs x 6
Trailer-Promotional Videos
TV Spots
Trailer-US Trailer
More…-Reassessment (Series Digest)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 503:12 (Case: 550)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 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 ?
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 Yes, With episode 22 closing credits

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Plot Synopsis

"A King has no friends
. . . only pawns"

     Ten years ago Japan had been devastated by a meteor, followed by the Apocalypse Virus that infects then kills the population. 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 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.

     Shu Ouma (Yuki Kaji / Austin Tindle) is a shy and withdrawn 17 year old student who meets Inori (Ai Kayano / Alexis Tipton), lead vocalist with the band Egoist and a member of the Funeral Parlor, and through her is drawn into Funeral Parlor. Within each individual is a Void, a special weapon which reflects their personality, but Shu’s is very special; he has the ability to access and use the Void of others which makes him a very potent adversary to GHQ or an important recruit for Funeral Parlor. Indeed, Gai is not prepared to let the power Shu possesses out of his control and a tug of war for Shu’s mind and soul commences between Gai and the GHQ forces led by Major Segai (Nobutoshi Canna / John Swasey).

     Guilty Crown (Giruti Kuraun) ran for 22 episodes. The series was originally released in Australia by Madman in two collections: Collection 1 had episodes 1-11, which I reviewed on this site, and Collection 2 with episodes 12-22. I did not review Collection 2 but now Madman have released Guilty Crown – Complete Series with all 22 episodes giving me a chance to catch up with this excellent anime series. My review of Collection 1 can be accessed here so this review will concentrate on episodes 12-22.

     Guilty Crown aired on Japanese TV from October 2011 to March 2013 with a three week gap over Christmas between episode 11 (22/12/2011) and episode 12 (12/1/2012). As noted, the Australian Blu-ray releases were divided equally, 1-11 and 12-22, leaving episode 11 as a real cliff-hanger. However, episode 12 is the real conclusion of the initial story arc; it provides information about the Lost Christmas, the relationship between Gai, Shu and Shu’s sister Mana which goes back to their childhood and the nature of Inori’s powers and it concludes with the death of a major character. It also has the same opening and closing song as 1-11 (which changes with episode 13).

     Episode 13 commences another story arc. Two weeks after the catastrophic events of episode 12 GHQ have placed a barrier around an area of Tokyo, quarantining everyone inside and cutting off all phone and internet communications with the rest of the country. Trapped inside are the students of the high school Shu attends. Shu is joined at his school by Inori and a couple of the surviving Funeral Parlor members, crippled female warrior Ayasa (Kana Hanazawa / Emily Neves) and exuberant Tsugumi (Ayana Taketatsu / Monica Rial) as school president Arisa (Aya Endo / Caitlin Glass) tries to keep the students together and work out what to do. But there are troublemakers prepared to stir up dissention, including bully Nanba (Shuhei Sakaguchi / Josh Grelle), who force the presidency to a vote. To the surprise of most, including himself, Shu is elected president.

     But once in power, with vaccines and supplies limited, Shu is pressured to make decisions about the value of each student, based upon the power of their Voids. Shu’s shy nature and personality balks at such discrimination and he is reluctant to take responsibility but his stand satisfies no one and opposition, some secret, grows within the school. Then a close friend is killed, and Shu becomes hardened and dictatorial, enforcing his orders, which only increases opposition and brings him new enemies. His plan to breakout from the quarantined zone goes ahead, but is a failure due to traitors within his group and the unexpected return of a character thought dead who now reveals his apocalyptic agenda for humankind. And now Shu finds that the fate of the entire world is in his hands.

     These episodes of Guilty Crown, at least the first half dozen, lack the mystic element of the first half of the series and do tend to meander with subplots and characters which add little to the show. The focus of these episodes is the relationship between responsibility and power, and the corruption of power even where the ends could be considered desirable. There is nothing much here that is new, or even that interesting, but with the return of a major character thought dead the tone of the series changes and escalates into considerations about destiny, natural selection, evolution, the destruction of humankind, the creation of a new race from a new Eve and Adam and the influence of Daath, a hidden ultra-secret society. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Also revealed is the interconnection between Shu, Mana, Gai and their respective parents that leads back to the virus itself

     I enjoyed episodes 1-11 of Guilty Crown as they presented a mystery and raised complex ideas about loyalty, friendship and power in an interesting way. On the other hand, I found this second set of episodes a bit prosaic. There is less mystery, and more power plays and political machinations where characters reveal different agendas and allegiances and the beautiful and enigmatic Inori is pretty much sidelined. The episodes do pick up pace and interest in the latter half although the reveal of the character’s hidden agendas feels somewhat sudden. Nevertheless, the battles are colourful and explosive, many of the characters interesting, the climax intense and worthy of what has gone before.

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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. Deep, vibrant blues are also used to good effect. 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 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

     The Blu-ray cover states that audio is a choice of Japanese or English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. This is incorrect: the audio choice is the more usual Funimation 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, cannon fire and the crunch of the fighting. 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 support for the engines, explosions and crash of falling buildings.

     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 prefer 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.

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

Extras

Disc 1

Commentary – Episode 2

     US voice cast members Alexis Tipton, Austin Tindle and Micah Solusod (the voices of Inori, Shu and Gai) sit together and watch the episode. They mostly laugh and chat about nothing 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) 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.

Disc 2

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. 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. 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 on 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.

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.

Disc 3

Commentary – Episode 15

     Commentary by Apphia Yu, Tia Ballard and Jarrod Greene (the voices of Kanon, Hare and Argo). The women dominate the commentary and laugh a lot talking about what they have done in the past and what their Voids might be if it was real life. A bit about voice acting, but very little about the series.

Commentary – Episode 19

     US voice cast members Martha Harms, Caitlin Glass and Corey Cleary-Stoner (the voices of Haruka, Arisa and Souta) watch the episode. They talk about their backgrounds and other anime but do discuss their characters and character arcs. Not as silly as many Funimation commentaries.

Disc 4

Episode Previews (5:20)

     This collects the previews for all episodes together. They can be selected separately or there is a play all option.

Guilty Crown 4 – Panel Theater (8:39)

     More short, roughly drawn cartoons with some characters from the show. The heading of each cartoon is Guil-TEA Clown, by Yuupon. The menu offers 6 parts, although in reality there are two short cartoons in each part except the first so there are 11 “Phases”. There is a “Play all” function.

Reassessment (series digest) (47:33)

     This is a recap of the first half of the series, a bit like a mini-movie. It is well put together, with an added voice-over narration to fill in the gaps and opening and closing songs. Audio is Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 with burnt in white English subtitles.

Textless Opening Song – Version 3 (1:32)

     The new opening song without the credits.

Textless Closing Song – Phase 01 (1:32)

     The old closing song used in episode 12 without the credits.

Textless Closing Song – Version 2 (1:32)

     The new closing song without the credits.

US Trailer (1:06)

     US trailer for the Blu-ray / DVD release.

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 - Complete Series is the same as the Region A US release although that includes DVDs of the series.

Summary

     Guilty Crown – Complete Series is a four Blu-ray set. If you have the previous two individual releases, the Blu-rays in this set are identical technically and extra wise. However, if you do not have the other releases this is a good way to discover this series.

     I enjoyed the first half of Guilty Crown with its mystery, interesting characters and complex ideas about loyalty, friendship and power. I feel the second half lost its way a bit before making up for it by arriving at a thunderous climax with the existence of humanity at stake.

     The video is beautiful, the audio good although the original Japanese audio is only 2.0. There is an extensive 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)
Saturday, December 17, 2016
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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