Anime Reporter bows down once more before Guilty Crown Part 02 (episodes 12 – 22), the apocalyptic, sci-fi phenomenon.
Following on from Part 01 (reviewed here), things have naturally taken a drastic turn following Funeral Parlour’s all-out attack on GHQ. It’s worth noting that the first episode of this collection feels a little bit more like an extended ending to Part 01, while from the second episode onwards, the series takes a different narrative approach and structure. With much of the country terrified at the prospect of another catastrophe, people have taken refuge where they can. Shuu and the remaining members of Funeral Parlour find themselves hiding out in Shuu’s high school along with most of his fellow students. Things take a few dark and unexpected turns when the GHQ becomes desperate, issuing a quarantine order, naming the school and its inhabitants as a threat of infection to the outside world.
When the danger becomes too great, Shuu is forced to take on the responsibility of leadership, revealing his abilities to his classmates and pushing his powers to new limits.
When leadership calls for difficult and even cruel decisions to be made, Shuu discovers just how heavy lies the guilty crown. Having always had a problem understanding and empathising with others, Shuu becomes altogether more distant, struggling to keep his teammates and school friends alive. Making matters much worse, Judgement Day approaches as the final plans of GHQ begin to move forward. The first part of the series dealt with a nation struggling to recover from the virus that nearly wiped it out. Part two shows us that the apocalypse is only warming up and things descend abruptly into a tale of sacrifice and pain.
Shuu’s character, which was woefully lacking in the first half of the season, undergoes significant growth and change. While significant answers about his past and the apocalypse virus are delivered through flashbacks, it’s far more compelling to see Shuu’s ascension from unwilling and resentful punk to a selfless leader, willing to make the hardest choices.
Inori thankfully benefits from a decent shot of characterisation and she’s revealed to be much more important to the plot than the girl we all knew Shuu was going to fall in love with. Her part in the ever approaching apocalyptic plot proves to be vastly more significant than her initial appearances would suggest.
The supporting cast remains fairly intact, with little in the way of great growth or character development. That said, the assembled member of Funeral Parlour prove to be more than likeable and entertaining in their own rights and there are very few moments of drag within the series.
As with the first half of the series, the animation is sterling, intertwining cgi effects amongst the more traditional animation and with stunning use of contrasting light and dark shades.
The tone of the series has shifted into significantly darker territory, taking on elements of psychological instability and truly twisted adversaries to overcome. None more threatening or merciless than the Apocalypse virus itself which soon starts to infect more ferociously than people can defend against.
Guilty Crown Part 02 is a strong development from the jumping off point that was Part 01. Escalating and developing the plot and characters to new high points makes the series feel fresh and bringing it to a magnificent and moving ending.
Guilty Crown Part 2 is available on DVD and Bluray in the UK and Ireland from Manga Entertainment from 28th April 2014.
For more info, check out the official Manga UK Twitter page
and the Guilty Crown website
78% – “A Worthy Successor” – The second half of Guilty Crown manages to excel well beyond the already strong efforts of its beginning.