Miscellaneous · Seasonals

12 Days of Christmas: A Serenade for Guilty Crown (aka the post everyone saw coming)

Ride on, bitches!
Ride on, bitches!

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

– Murphy’s Law

Disastrous. Catastrophic. Misogynistic. Terribad. God’s gift to Scamp. There are several ways to describe the absurdly high-budgeted, utter failure that is known as Guilty Crown. It’s hard to even imagine how a series as bad as Guilty Crown was even made. Every twist, every absurd backstory,  every hilariously inappropriate shot at the female cast’s breasts, absolutely everything works to make Guilty Crown possibly the biggest commercial catastrophe in years. It was the perfect storm of nonsense plot, cardboard characters, skimpy outfits, near-rape, and Dan Eagleman, which made Guilty Crown one of the most memorable and, simultaneously, worst shows in years. Aside from the visuals and soundtrack (both of which are beyond excellent), Guilty Crown had zero storytelling merit whatsoever and much of show’s content (those damn Zionists!) borders on the offensive to extremely offensive.

And you know what? I actually miss Guilty Crown.

Now, I know that sounds hard to believe, especially if you haven’t seen my perturbed, loving wax on the completely disastrous festival of carnage that is known as this show. After all, calling Guilty Crown a highly aggressive trainwreck would be a savage insult to all aggressive trainwrecks around the world: nothing built on makes any sense, plot points arise straight from thin air, and the characters, bar one, are all for the most part unlikable, unrelatable, and poorly developed. All solutions can be conjured with a whip of the pithy protagonist Shu’s hand and, even more so than that, the entire flick reeks of desperation and hollow soulessness, screaming at the viewer for love and attention. Everything is contrived and nothing feels genuine; the series is built out of plaster walls and cardboard props, lacking any sort of depth and standing out as an unnatural forest of plastic. For these savage crimes against humanity, I can offer the show no defense.

I freely confess that I believe in neither guilty pleasures nor a scale built purely on subjectivity; too many times do we confuse guilt with shame, and at others we become deluded in pleasure, blind by an appreciation for something niche and failing to understand that subjectivity isn’t something as simple as stating whether or not something was fun. I see subjectivity as an important, but highly misunderstood mechanism, far harder to grasp than objectivity. To fully know your subjective scale is to completely know yourself, and to delve deeper into why one loves and hates the things that he grows close to. For this reason, both subjective and objective scales are as useful as each other: to deny objective scales is to deny the existence of art, and to deny subjectivity is to become a souless robot bereft of personality or empathy.

I don’t see entertainment as an outlet for pleasure, but rather for stimulation. To stimulate the body, mind, or feelings of the watcher is to be entertaining and more often than not, the greatest series can do all three. I don’t believe in hating a series for solely for the sake of hating it (a weakness that we all succumb to every once in a while), but what I do believe in is the power of the Jester, that is, the power to grin in sympathetic enjoyment at life’s most difficult moments and to celebrate the common bond of our fallible humanity. Learning to enjoy something’s flaws is far more difficult than hating them; learning not to simply mock, but to enjoy, fully understanding and— at the same time — celebrating its flaws. Lesser comics use comedy for degradation, while the greatest of our time have continually used it for the opposite, celebrating the most awkward and even painful of moments.

Guilty Crown isn’t a merely train that went off the rails; hell, Guilty Crown doesn’t even have rails in the first place. Guilty Crown is a banged up Camaro going 150mph stuffed with thirty-seven children with C4 strapped to their chests and ready to blow. It’s only redeeming feature is that it’s irredeemable, and that in itself is something to behold. Episode 18 itself is a triumph: a majestic cyclone of pure, unadulterated gold which I encourage everyone to watch at least once, and everything that can go wrong, eventually does. It’s gloriously bad and entertaining for reasons that the creators did not intend, but it’s exactly this which gives Guilty Crown so much flavor. It’s a chaotic, vile, but delicious whirlwind, and I feel neither guilt nor shame from enjoying it.

To experience the joy of watching something awful and to celebrate its flaws is ultimately coming to understand the spirit of terribad.

Stray Snippets

  • As expected, a post on Guilty Crown is filled with bullshit. 
  • As much as one may loathe the show, Guilty Crown is probably the first anime in years to completely unite the anime blogosphere. Now that’s something worth celebrating.
  • As a hot-blooded American male, I can only raise a proud salute in honor of Dan Eagleman. His totally realistic fixation on firearms, violence, and good ol’ American football makes him an exemplary American that I wish all anime could replicate.
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11 thoughts on “12 Days of Christmas: A Serenade for Guilty Crown (aka the post everyone saw coming)

  1. Yes. This is basically the spirit through which I enjoy many bad and good anime. The common refrain for when people consume a ton of stuff is that they become more jaded; however, I find that for me, I am better able to hone in on what I can enjoy in a work (if there is, indeed, something for me to enjoy). Guilty Crown was a trainwreck, yes, but it is glorious in how far into the realm of the tasteless it goes. The sheer audacity of being that bad is wonderful to behold.

    1. Too many times do people forget that there’s a joy and challenge in watching something bad. In my eyes, an absolute failure is always worth celebrating so long as there’s some sort of feeling to be inspired (which in Guilty Crown’s case, was laughter). This is why I believe that the worst of shows are those that induce only apathy or lull the viewer to sleep out of boredom. It’s entertaining for all the wrong reasons, but that’s why the enjoyment you get from watching is so unbelievably genuine.

      Over 20 years ago, an infamous cult classic by the name of Troll 2 was being produced by an all Italian-speaking group of writers and directors, hiring only the most inexperienced of local actors to star in their movie. It was a disaster. However, two decades later, a child actor who starred in the film, going by the name of Michael Stephenson, would look back and admit that being in the worst movie ever was actually pretty damn cool. Michael would later go on to direct one of my favorite documentaries of all time, Best Worst Movie, a touching doc exploring the phenomenon of Troll 2 and it’s still ongoing impact on the fans, actors, and producers after 20 years time.

      I can only hope that the same happens to Guilty Crown 20 years from now.

    1. I still can’t fathom how Ayase didn’t get working leg braces if the world of Guilty Crown is advanced enough to give Shu a fully working prosthetic mechanical arm at the end.

      Whelp!

  2. You should watch the OVA. It has a dog.

    and the characters, bar one, are all for the most part unlikable, unrelatable, and poorly developed
    I hope you mean Tsugumi or Ayase, dude.

    1. It’s really sad when the 11-minute OVA teaser to a prequel spin-off visual novel titled “Lost Christmas” was far better than the 22 episodes of the original series!

      And yeah, I did mean Ayase. She’s the most human character of the cast of Guilty Crown, and know that’s not saying much, but hey!

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