Sunday, April 22, 2012

Guilty Crown Review

I was delayed with finishing this series due to exams but now that I've seen it all I can finally write this review. First off I'd like to say that this series has been by far the most entertaining and pleasing anime of 2012 I have seen so far (technically 2011 released but 2012 as of part 2 ending). It isn't my favorite anime of all time but its in my top 10 list if that says anything. I will be reviewing this in terms of its story, character, music, animation, and entertainment. I will hide the spoilers with buttons so click on them at your own risk. Most importantly this is going to be my opinion and perspective of Guilty Crown so don't judge the anime fully according to my word as everyone will have a different take on it. The first couple of sections will just be basic reviewing, for those who want to hear my take on the series as a full can just skip to the last part, it will contain spoiler links.


Overall - 9.5/10


Story - 9/10

Guilty Crown is an science fiction action anime themed towards post-apocalyptic with bits of mecha, school and romance. The story is somewhat cliche as it follows the "weak character becoming a hero" storyline but it's pulled off well, and I mean it. Throughout the 1st part (or up to ep.12) the anime will progress a little slow in the storyline as it mainly is introductions of other characters and development, organizations, plot setups, showcasing how bad ass voids are, or just covering details of the story to make more sense. The 2nd part of the story (from ep.13 to end) picks up more faster and is what I like to consider the perfect progression. It ended pretty decent but I will cover that in detail later. One thing I like about GC is that they don't just follow a single character and a party but It also shows whats going on with the other significant characters such as opposing organizations to simply understand both ends. Confusing story? not really. Boring? not at all, the story is probably one of the reasons I like this anime because it just plays out so well in all different angles and the possibilities that it keeps you curious as to what might happen. An anime with a plot you can expect is not the best anime but Guilty Crown is not something you can easily expect.

Characters - 9/10

There are many characters in Guilty Crown in which are either main characters, antagonists, or side characters but whichever they are, they will all be significant to the story and have enough show time to have you remembering their name or making them one of your favorite characters. The main characters consists of Shu and Inori with the help of the undertakers (Gai, Tsugumi, Ayase, Argo, Ogumo, etc). Of the opposing side, the GHQ will have Daryl and Segai who will be quite likable despite which side they are on. The character relationships with each other are quite interesting and fun but sometimes can be a huge piss off. Not just the relationships are made well but the character development is one of GC's highlights. Throughout the anime you will start to love and hate each character, it changes as the episodes go but in the end you will know why you made your choices. Lastly GC has a good variety of different character personalities which fit perfectly to their respective characters.

Animation - 10/10

The animations are very smooth and clean. Having watched the anime in 480p, 720p and 1080p, I could see that the visuals were still impressive in each setting. Guilty Crown will constantly stay smooth and detailed while rarely have lazy animations. If you manage to look at the backgrounds and such you'd be surprised how detailed some things are, but of course its easy to get sidetracked by awesome fights and explosions. I cannot hate any of the character designs and such because they are made awesomely by Redjuice himself.

Music - 10/10

One of the reasons why I loved this series as a whole. The composition for Guilty Crown is beautiful and touching. It easily captivates you and the timing and selection is perfect for nearly every scene. Having the music makes a huge difference on certain moments as sometimes it can really get emotional or send chills. I recommend getting the OST and listening to the tracks, they are just flawless. The opening and ending done by supercell is more than I could ask since they are my favorite band. They surprised me once again but this time with newest members Koeda and Chelly who both have beautiful vocals. Guilty Crown would not be as good as it is now if it weren't for the music.

Entertainment - 9/10

There isn't much to cover here as the series is entertaining from start to finish. Many people might complain about this in terms of how things turned out at certain parts but to me it turned out great. The voice actors chosen for GC were great too. There wasn't enough moe factor to hate on it and they still had some comedy. I was more entertained with the whole story and how it progressed which kept me addicted to this series and kept me wanting to watch more. There may have been a point where I felt I should just take a break on this series but it was mainly due to the fact that I felt one simple mistake in the plot would ruin it completely since it has been great up to point with no fatal errors.


Why I loved Guilty Crown as a whole? *Spoilers below*

GC was not afraid of killing off characters to further improve the plot. This would piss off some fans but in a sense it was part of the story and would create that dramatic and dark element that made the whole post-apocalyptic/survival theme. The plot was played realistically throughout the anime. Another thing is that having Shu, a weak kid grow to become that of a hero, was perfect. In the way that he adapted to the circumstances of becoming "king" and also realized his rights and wrongs, making him a tragic yet refined character. Inori even has a touching speech in the 2nd last episode saying that Shu suffered, doubted and made mistakes, feeling ashamed of his ugliness. What made him who he was, was because he was human. Despite how much power he had and what he could've have done he still was the same person he was before he had gotten the void genome. This was all part of the realization, much to that of Gurren Lagann's Simon, just perfect if you ask me. The character relationships and development were also well put, having friends turn against Shu because of how he changed but it was only because he was trying to save everyone. I loved this concept as it created a mood to match that of the depressing setting. In a place where resources are low, people are in danger, and nobody is coming to rescue made them act according to their situation. Guilty Crown had some really emotional scenes which had all the perfect elements to make up something beautiful. The touching scenes being Gai's final scene, Hare's last words, Inori's response to Gai's "What did Shu give you?", and what Inori meant to Shu. These scenes were exceptionally touching and emotional to the point where I almost cried @#$%ing man tears. I wasn't hit this hard since clannad after story ;-;. Inori's character was simply beautiful, the way she talked and how she acted made her seem more mechanical than human. She even acted the part being more like a weapon when in Gai's side but just as she said in the end, Shu gave her feelings. Basically they both made each other feel human. It was a bit funny at first too seeing that Inori would have been the one giving Shu advice and would just try to convince him to do the job for Gai but only to later find out that they needed each other. Same with Gai who helped Shu become stronger after he was recruited in the Undertakers only to end up later fighting the very man who had given him his strength to stand where he was. It was much of a cliche apprentice vs. master but Gai would realize how much Shu himself has changed and what he has accomplished since he was gone. Gai originally wanted to help those who were infected and Shu was now capable of doing so. I was not disappointed when Inori died, I thought the series would have ended even better if Shu had died with her seeing that his final words to Inori were "lets go together" but I guess Inori somehow managed to save him. The scene with him blind and sitting at the bench seeing Inori was quite touching as well but he should've became the next Godoka really. I guess overall why I liked Guilty Crown was because it was just beautiful from start to finish. The plot was genius and every other aspect was pure quality. Honestly the only people who disliked Guilty Crown and its ending are romance fans who complained how Inori had to die and for other irrelevant romance couplings that didn't progress. They must've mistook this for some Kimi Ni Todoke and thought everything would end in some happy fairy tale. Well sorry to break it to you but this is Guilty Crown set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo and welcome to Last Christmas...

Additional question regarding Guilty Crown *spoilers*

I have one question regarding Guilty Crown and that was the final ending. Gai stated in the end that in order for Mana to be completely destroyed she would have to complete her mission of Last Christmas. In the ending, Mana is seen turning back into Inori in which Shu then uses the rest of his void genome to cure the world's virus and sacrifice himself and her. In this very moment it becomes the opposite of Last Christmas. I am not sure if Mana had already done her task turning the people into crystals or if it still wasn't over until Inori had died. Inori is basically a vessel that holds Mana within her making her the trigger for the next Last Christmas. So my question is if Inori was able to control the final result of Last Christmas and not harm anyone but fulfill the deed to be able to fully rest? I have been thinking about it because when Shu and Inori have their final time together while the shards absorb, Inori gives to him the cat's cradle string in which he becomes saved by Inori but at the cost of his sight since Inori had lost hers. Now if you payed attention to the first episode you would have noticed that Inori asks Shu to take the cat's cradle but he doesn't due to the fact that when he gets close he sees a flashback of Mana and Last Christmas. Now if you put all this together, Mana and Inori are the same person at the end as Inori is the vessel used to trigger Last Christmas but she ends up saving Shu in exchange of giving her current condition. So Last Christmas was never triggered at that point, or completed. What i'm getting at is that since Shu took Inori's condition and that he also could have Inori within him (not explained at the ending as it could just be his imagination similar to how Fate Stay Night's ending had Saber say she just wanted to rest for a bit and think about being with Shirou) that the possibilities are that Shu could become the next Lost Christmas if it were to happen. Endings that question me are always a good thing but If they had just had him die a hero then I wouldn't be writing this long ass paragraph :(

Monday, April 09, 2012

Valkyria Chronicles 3 - Imca cosplay update 2

So there is about 2 months left and I honestly haven't gotten much progress in making the costume due to my 2nd year college course kicking me hard in the ass. But what I have been doing the past month or so was searching for supplies and getting everything prepared. I tend to be lazy sometimes on my free days; sleeping in, playing PS3, or on the laptop but I definitely have a plan this year compared to the last. So I did start with working on the barrel end of the Var which is probably the hardest part to start with the weapon but will make it easier for me to scale the rest.

Nothing too great but at least I'm getting somewhere xD. I have to fix the inside and then start adding vinyl.
 
A Dremel is extremely handy especially for foam, curves, and edges. Not mandatory but saves time!

Using the paper template, I cut out the specific parts I needed for the barrel out of foam and then went ahead to do the other side and so on. Even though I only had a template of one orientation, my SolidWorks drawing was able to help me make all additional pieces to create the angled parts and such. I cut the holes using an x-acto knife and smoothed them out with a dremel. I layered the inside of the foam with cardboard as it supports the foam to be more hard, and flat. I also layered the other pieces that I felt were a bit bendy and then glued everything together with a hot glue gun. This is currently where i'm standing at right now but it gets a little difficult here since I have to work on the inside of the barrel before finishing up touches and moving on the next part.


While I was out, I got some Vinyl fabric which I will be using to overlay on top of the foam. Vinyl is beneficial as it will usually come in the solid color you are looking for (NOT ALWAYS THE CASE), not be damaged by weather conditions, and provide a smooth look depending on the texture. Its a lot less tedious than doing the traditional multiple layers of coating and then painting but the disadvantages are that they are quite limited in selection and unmerciful to your wallet. You tend to be a lot more careful with vinyl since wasted pieces are kicks to the face. I also tend to resort to finding my vinyl fabric locally rather than online since the pricing isn't all that "cheaper" as I thought it would be and the shipping costs tend to be overkill especially for Canadians. Anyways here they are:


Dark grey which will be the main color of my weapon and some of my clothing parts. Even though the foam comes in a grey that is slightly lighter than this, leaving the foam for color would create an unclean look. This dark grey costs about $6.99 per yard (`A`)
 
Royal blue vinyl, the main color of Imca's armor and on half the parts of the var. It was difficult finding vinyl with this kind of blue and especially a flat and solid look so I was in good fortune finding this at one of the fabric shops downtown. $11.00 per yard but worth it since other places were selling blues I didn't need and at $15-25 per yard ┐('~`;)┌

Black vinyl for the armor,clothing parts and a few spots on the var. Got this at $10.00 a meter at fabric land as black vinyls tend to be more expensive due to it being a popular color, so this is actually a good find. Black is easy to find but not always in a smooth and flat look.  

Since they only sell vinyls in either per yard or meter, its always good to buy more than what you actually need rather than less to cut it off cheap. Also when you use vinyl, try to Tetris as much of the fabric as possible so you don't leave big gaps that waste the vinyl. Most importantly try to be consistent with the vinyls as having multiple vinyls and all different looks and textures will effect your costume greatly.In addition to the vinyl fabrics, I picked up some boots and a wig since I do not have the amount of hair to do Imca as well as my hair being a mix of wavy and straight so that would be tiresome waking up extra early to managed everyday.


Rubber work boots that are slightly big in the back leg region but nothing I can't fix. I will likely be foaming this up also for most part. Price wasn't expensive or as cheap so It's hard to find male military style boots that are knee high and not $80 cosplay shoes.

This is the wig I bought off ebay from someone in China. Shipping took a good month which is why you should always order in advanced especially from China in general. The wig is originally Rin Okumura's from Ao No Exorcist but it's the only wig that came close to Imca's color and style so It will take a bit of adjustments and styling. Not sure how I'll be able to pull off the tail in the back and the ahoge but I'll think of something.