Life Beyond 8th Grade: Guilty Crown’s Gravest Sin, And a Movie with A Really Long Name

The blog title says it all. Let me break it down:

8th Grade is a reference to “chuu-ni” and in the context of Guilty Crown, that refers to chuunibyou. Chuunibyou, literally 8th grade disease, refers to a, well, trend (now) in regards to a certain kind of mentality that’s pervasive in pop media.

Guilty Crown’s gravest sin… well, that statement is a joke. I think it’s easy to talk down on the show, and not praise it for all the things it did right. FWIW I think it did a lot of stuff right–that’s why so many people watched it to the end. But I’ll leave the white knights and people who wants to thrash against an 8th grader to their work. I mean that’s my biggest issue with dismissing Guilty Crown, it’s like stealing candy from a kid.

Or at least, nobody I think has mentioned the problem I have with Guilty Crown. The problem I have with guilty crown can be summed up in a sentence: it’s a story about someone who struggles with chuunibyou, rather than a story about how cool it is to have your chuunibyou cake and eat it too. I think characters like Okarin, Ed, Leolouch and Light have deep, psychological issues. Shuu? He doesn’t. And as a result he ends up doing things in a way that’s not really fun to watch, and it comes out in the way the story has to write him into these preposterous situations that probably shouldn’t happen given who he is.

The natural reaction I had with this, when I realized this, was just why was Shuu so abnormal in this way? What thematic purpose does it serve? I think it’s in this sense that Guilty Crown is actually redeeming and likable. Well, likable if you have a thing for hating on chuunibyou (for example, hating on fans who take RailDex too far). Unfortunately a normal protagonist doesn’t work with this formula (Bandai/Sunrise formula?), just like how no matter how uplifting Soranowoto was or the interesting issues Fractale explored there are probably a truck load of naysayers and dissatisfied customers. Which is, I guess, just another season of TV anime in the bank and life goes on, etc.

The movie with the really long name is actually billed by its sub-title: The Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below. I wanted to rewrite this post in order to open with “In order to say goodbye to Guilty Crown I went on a journey to NYC” and catch the last screening of it at the NYCIFF, but that sounded too corny. Anyway it’s great to see that film on a big, proper screen. Let’s just say that unless you got some pimp TV setup, your Blu-ray or Blu-ray rip of it will not do it justice. It is just gorgeous to see it the second time, now that I can dispense with paying attention to the stuff in the film that I already know, and instead focus my attention to the animation.

The story of the movie also comes into the clear better the second time around, at least I guess I kind of figured it out before I watch it the second time, and seeing it the second time affirms what I was thinking about. But then it struck me while I was watching Asuna saying goodbye to Shun–she is not only saying goodbye to a stranger she barely knew, but to a part of her youth. Given that she is the Ghibli-esqe protagonist in a Ghibli-esqe film, it’s kind of ironic that she would go on an adventure in order to say goodbye to her version of Howl or Porco or Pazu or whoever. It’s like she is bidding her to-be chuunibyou life, bidding her once-in-a-lifetime adventure goodbye…by going on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. And naturally, the adventure she went on is a forbidden one.

I heartily support this message. I also heartily support this film. But like I said earlier about Soranowoto or Fractale or, heh, Guilty Crown, I don’t know, man. Do you like Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below? Will it sell? Can you eat it?

PS. During the screening of Hoshi o Ou Kodomo, I still felt like as if I was watching “Char and Squid Girl go on an underground adventure.” I guess nothing can cure this.

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5 responses to “Life Beyond 8th Grade: Guilty Crown’s Gravest Sin, And a Movie with A Really Long Name

  • fencedude

    I can’t speak for Hoshi o Ou Kodomo, but yay, a chance to talk about Chuunibyou and how Guilty Crown is both incredibly Chuunibyou, and completely missed the point of the entire concept.

    Combining some aspects of both 2DT’s post and your own, my issue with Guilty Crown is not that it was “Chuunibyou” (I’ve loved a number of shows that are clearly in that category, and Chuunibyou characters like Okarin and Kuroneko are among my favorites), but that its basically, that guy you know who those characters are exaggerations of. Shuu lacked the requisite ridiculousness/panache/insanity that makes characters like that work. Shuu was just some dip who got a magic arm and a submissive pseudo-girlfriend. And was exactly like what your normal idiot who ended up with those things would be. Irritating, insufferable and a completely fuckup.

    Now, an interesting story could have been made with that as a base, but Guilty Crown wasn’t trying to do that. The show needs to be at least a little in on the joke, make it clear that it knows its just a bit ridiculous. Code Geass ran really close to the line a few times, and while it did eventually collapse in on itself, its failings were different from GC’s. I’ve never really seen a show fail in the manner GC did.

  • omo

    And was exactly like what your normal idiot who ended up with those things would be. Irritating, insufferable and a completely fuckup.

    This is why I think GC is great.

  • fencedude

    I can definitely see that having an appeal, and in fact I was trying to watch GC from that point of view, I just decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

    My real problem with it is that that was completely unintentional, if that had been the actual point, I think it would have come across better.

    Sort of like how Symphogear is the most derivative anime ever made, but at no point does it ever pretend it isn’t, and even admits in the show itself where its blatantly stolen things from.

  • omo

    I’m not sure if it is unintentional. I guess the effect was not, but I think they made the characters the way they are for a reason.

  • DarkFireBlade25

    @fencedude I knew that Symphogear had all those retro looking monsters for a reason but I can’t really pin down what they stole and from whom. Care to elaborate?

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