What’s it about ?
A future dystopia where biological terrorist attacks have allowed brutal totalitarians (under control of foreign interests) to take over Japan. A high-school student finds himself involved with a group of “terrorists” smuggling a biological weapon out of a lab, and obtains some superpowers by accident. Also, mecha.
If this synopsis sounds suspiciously like Code Geass, well the head writer here worked on that too. But the tone is quite different.
Shu, our protagonist. I hasten to note that he’s very different from Lelouch, especially given his lack of charisma. He’s just a normal boy way out of his depth who feels impotent against the dystopia.
Inori, a pop singer who somehow managed to smuggle a vial of something out of a lab. After a long chase scene, she gets arrested right in front of Shu (after stumbling into his little hideout), but not before giving him the vial, so that he can transmit it to…
Gai, leader of the terrorist cell, and badass enough to take care of a few thugs who had zeroed in on Shu without even breaking a sweat. He’s got an awesome theme tune, too. But the cops catch up with them before he can even start to explain the plot…
We get to see a few more “terrorists” (how the heck did they get their hands on a mecha ?) and some higher-ups in the dystopia, but they don’t get enough screentime yet for me to really get a handle on them.
Production IG are on full form here : this looks gorgeous, the action sequences are fluid, and the opening chase scene’s direction is a thing of wonder. The soundtrack is ace too.
What did I think of it ?
Clearly the highlight of the season. It’s ambitious and has enough budget to pull it off ; the worldbuilding around the dystopia feels genuine (turf conflicts between officials is definitely the way to go to make it halfway credible) ; and moreover it’s just got style. I was slightly disappointed by the nature of the “Guilty Crown” weapon (a giant blade thingie ?), but that’s minor. A more major problem is the protagonist, who needs to shape up and stop whining very quickly if he wants not to be overshadowed by the much more charismatic supporting cast.
Still, this shows a lot of promise, and may well be the best first episode of the season.