Blu-ray Review: Guilty Crown – Part 1

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Guilty Crown is Manga Entertainment’s latest release, but what did we think of their Blu-ray version of it? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of Guilty Crown – Part 1.

Synopsis:

Shu’s entire world was shattered after a meteorite crashed into Japan, unleashing the lethal Apocalypse Virus. The chaos and anarchy born of the outbreak cost Shu his family and reduced him to a timid, fearful shell of the boy he’d once been. His life took another unexpected turn after a chance encounter with the stunning pop star, Inori. This mysterious beauty introduced Shu to the King’s Right Hand: a genetic mutation that allows him to reach into hearts of mortals and turn them into weapons.

Shu finds himself caught in the crossfire between those who desperately seek his newfound strength. On one side lurks a clandestine government agency, and on the other, Inori and the spirited band of rebels known as Funeral Parlor. The choice is Shu’s to make – and the world is his to change.

Our View:

Guilty Crown has a lot to offer the viewer and that’s before you even look at the highly detailed presentation of the series. On the surface Guilty Crown may seem like your standard “run of the mill” anime that sees a high-school student thrown into the bowls of war after a chance encounter, but dig deeper and you’ll find a character driven story that progresses over time with love, desperation and betrayal being the highlights of the show, with some kick-ass fights thrown in the middle. Guilty Crown has it all, and this is only the first half of the series.

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Avoiding the rather ‘uninformative’ (but action packed)opening, which sees an unknown girl escaping from military forces and carrying a mysterious shaped object, Guilty Crown’s true story begins with Shu Ouma, a high-school student who is socially inept and tends to hide away in a rundown building.  During his attempt to live an ordinary life Shu encounters Inori Yuzuriha, an internet pop sensation whose later revealed as the girl who was being chased by the GHQ. After a collection of chance encounters, and explosive battles, Shu ends up acquiring the item stolen by Inori, the item itself being the Void Genome which ultimately grants him ‘The Power of Kings’ a unique tool that allows the user (in this case Shu) to use anyones true desire as a weapon. With this new found ability Shu ends up becoming enrolled in Inori’s dangerous life-style whether he intended too or not.

You see Inori Yuzuriha is a member of the anti-GHQ group known as Funeral Parlor, which is lead by Gai Tsutsugami , and it’s their dream to see everyone infected with the Apocalypse Virus (and those who aren’t) treated fairly as well as for GHQ’s secret research to be stopped. It’s probably worth mentioning that The Apocalypse Virus is an after effect of the Lost Christmas disaster that occurred several years prior to the start of the series, a disaster that caused many people to die and a crystalized virus to appear to the public. It’s a topic that is mentioned throughout the series, but has a rather dragged out explanation over several episodes.  Initially Gai was going to obtain the Void Genome and use its power, but since Shu is now in possession his plans have been altered and so a story of self-discovering and purpose begins, with Shu and his new found ability being the centre of attention.

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This first instalment of Guilty Crown acts as a build-up of things to come, as even though a lot is covered there is still plenty more to come. During these 11 episodes we see Shu become accustomed to his new powers (in some comical ways), a love triangle bloom between the main protagonists and a variety of dark secrets explored within GHQ. Put simply Guilty Crown provides entertainment, visually and emotionally, but more importantly it manages the right balance of entertainment throughout and surprisingly manages to throw in a beach segment without it feeling out of place.

Extras:

Guilty Crown’s story (and stunning animation) isn’t the only part of this release that receives high praise either, as the amount of extra features included is exceptional, with majority of the “note-worthy” extras located on the second blu-ray disc.

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As you can see familiar extras, such as the text less opening and closing segments, are included but additions such as the original Japanese Promotional Videos and a 10 minute Q&A Session with the Japanese Production team is a real added bonus. The real surprising addition is the Next Episode previews, however considering they are not included as part of the episodes themselves it’s understandable why they would be here. All of the extras are provided in Japanese with English subtitles (excluding the English Cast Commentary).

Disc 1:

  • Episode 2 Commentary with Alexis Tipton (Inori), Austin Tindle (Shu) & Micah Solusod (Gai)
  • Episode 4 Commentary with Monica Rial (Tsugumi), Emily Neves (Ayase) & John Swasey (Segai)

Disc 2:

  • Episode Previews (1 to 11, Japanese English Subtitles)
  • Guilty Crown Planet Theatre (8 Minutes) (Japanese, English Subtitles)
  • Into the Void: The Creative Vision (10 Minutes)
  • Text less opening (Version 1 & Version 2)
  • Text less closing
  • Japanese Promotional Videos (3 minutes)
  • Japanese TV Spots (2 Minutes)

As mentioned Disc 2 contains all of the ‘entertainment’ in terms of extra features, as the two English Cast Commentaries (which are located on Disc 1) act more as spoilers rather than an insight into dubbing, so I’d recommend avoiding the commentaries until ‘after’ this first instalment has been watched, otherwise some surprises will not be surprises any more.

The most entertainment from the extras is found from the Guilty Crown Planet Theatre and the Q&A Session with the Japanese Production Team. The Guilty Crown Planet Theatre contains 6 mini-storys, all of which contain characters from the series in chibi form and in comical circumstances. The Q&A on the other hand provides an nice insight into how the series was produced and adapted into a TV Anime.

Specs:

Media: 1 x BD50, 1x BD25
Region: B
Running Time: 2:40:04 (Disc 1), 1:31:28 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio:  Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English),  Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Overall the story see’s Shu Ouma evolve from a traditional high-school student to the main part of an anti-government group known as Funeral Palor, whereby his unique ability of using someones desire as a weapon results in varying different ways of taking on the opponent. Along the way friendships are broken and new bonds are created but at the end of the day it leaves an enticing and visually entertaining series for the viewer, especially for those who enjoy futuristic Sci-fi storys with a bit of mechs and comedy thrown in for good measure.

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Unexpectedly Guilty Crown – Part 1 is a high quality release from Manga Entertainment UK.The story is entertaining which is further enhanced with the native HD picture quality and even the English Dub features some new voice actors that make it a much more enjoyable experience.  Audio wise both English and Japanese Audio tracks are provided, but the subtitles are locked to the Japanese audio track, so those wishing to watch the series raw will have to look elsewhere. While a Japanese audio track is provided I found the English Dub to be more entertaining, mainly due to its cinematic approach to 5.1 Surround Sound – something which really shown through during intense scenes.

It seems this UK Blu-ray release is a ‘near’ perfect release by Manga Entertainment, however that being said there are some minor flaws with this release, and this comes down to the menu and the exclusion of next-episode previews. These issues are not serious but its worth pointing them out. For instance the menu layout is easy to navigate but can difficult to read depending on the brightness (and size) of your screen, furthermore the audio can only be changed (during playback) via the Pop-Up Menu, which annoyingly creates “beeping” noises louder than the audio track – which results in discussions being missed. Another, slight annoyance, is that next-episode previews are not included as part of the episode, but instead an extra feature on disc 2. This is most likely because FUNimation didn’t dub the next episode previews (or resource materials weren’t available) but it feels (at times) like an incomplete presentation – since nearly all anime series include a next-episode preview nowadays.

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Overall This UK Release of Guilty Crown contains everything you could want from an anime series. The story is entertaining, the visuals are of exceptionally stunning detail, which are made better thanks to the native High Definition quality and combine all of this with a strong line-up of English Voice actors and an impressive collection of extra features makes Guilty Crown – Part 1 one of the must own Blu-ray releases of the year. If you enjoy a good sci-fi styled story that mixes intense battles, deceit and a steadily progressing story then Guilty Crown – Part 1 is for you, but even if you don’t then I still highly recommend giving it a try, as you’ll most likely be surprised.

Score: review-stars-5

Guilty Crown – Part 1 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 18th November 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

5 Responses to Blu-ray Review: Guilty Crown – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Guilty Crown – Part 1 (Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack) – REGION LOCKED | AnimeBlurayUK

  2. Pingback: Guilty Crown – Part 1 (Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack) – REGION LOCKED | AnimeBlurayUK

  3. Tom says:

    This is an excellent review. Of course, the storyline is not entirely original, but Guilty Crown is so visually stunning, and I love the soundtrack too. I’m looking forward to seeing part two.

  4. willsilva12 says:

    Are the Guilty Crown Planet Theatre in English Dub aswell as sub?

    • Scott says:

      The Guilty Crown planet theatre episodes (or mini-episodes as i call them) are only available in Japanese with English Subtitles.

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