Guilty Crown One-Sided Fanservice

Some people have complained that Guilty Crown failed to live up to their expectations. Well that’s their fault for having any to begin with, right? Okay, so the plot and characters are anywhere from laughable to generic, but it’s pretty, at least. Though there is something that just seems a little… off about it, so far. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

Oh, right…

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not fanservice I dislike; far from it. I love fanservice, but couldn’t they be a bit more egalitarian with it? You’ve got like three sexy dudes, so why not let them take off a shirt or two? Fun fact: noitaminA is (in theory) aimed at an older female audience. Yet that demographic is pretty thoroughly dismissed from the fun bits. All you’ve got are your looks, Guilty Crown, you can’t afford to be picky about this.

Remember Star Driver? That aired about a year ago, and while it may not have been perfect it at least knew how to pander to both sides of the audience. I have yet to see its like since, in that regard. Shows like Kimi to Boku are great and all, but fanservice aimed at women (and gay men) shouldn’t be relegated to niche shows that are so easily dismissed as “gay”. (Ugh, do not get me started on the use of that word in the aniblogosphere.)

KimiBoku and Guilty Crown aren’t all that dissimilar, really. Both are built on cliche after cliche with hardly an innovation in sight, and as such both tend to ring just a little bit hollow. At this point I could not name a character from either. I still like them, though. Guilty Crown has its visuals and soundtrack, and KimiBoku has moe boys. I just kinda wish they’d overlap, a little.

(Here is where we deliberately ignore UraBoku because UGH.)

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  1. Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I hear people talking about Guilty Crown using terms like “cliche” or “generic” or whatever, but I’m not too sure if those cliche and generic complaints really apply in this particular case. At least, I’ve not heard it seriously backed up.

    I suspect it is more in terms of how those characters are written as piece parts behind some kind of atmospheric story that those complaints have real weight. The fact that you can connect a show like Guilty Crown that with Kimiboku already hints at that fundamental similarity, or fundamental failing on one and an intended effect for the other. At least, I think it would be considered as a failing of sorts on GC’s part, since it isn’t really set out to be like that.

    So this is possibly insightful? Possibly?

    • Chronolynx
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think I quite get what your second paragraph is trying to say.

    • Darkfireblade25
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      from what i’m gathering… the first paragraph says that the fanservice is not rly that cliche cuz it is not backed up (w/e that means…).
      and the second paragraph says that if you want to categorize the show in terms of “how those characters are written as piece parts behind some kind of atmospheric story” that one may have a point. Both shows show that aspect but it may or may not be the intended effect. The complaints then will be valid if it isn’t the case since those types of shows are supposed to be made up of them anyway and won’t be valid if the show is made of those kind of characters and it’s not rly supposed to be like that.

      • Darkfireblade25
        Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        edit to sentence: The complaints then will be valid if it isn’t intended since those types of shows are not supposed to be made up of those cliched characters and won’t be valid if it is intended since those shows are supposed to be made of those kind of characters anyway.

  2. Crusader
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Good looking sure, but the core is rotten and I am not sure if everyone is willing to weather Shu’s whining enough to get through it. Then again a large segment of the fandom was well short of lynching Shinji when NGE was airing.

    • Chronolynx
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Male protagonists who are not instantly GAR usually get the short end of the stick in terms of (primarily male) audience reaction. I haven’t quite figured out if it’s because they’re tired of the lack of personality beyond “protect the girl” or if it’s because they have to prove they have a bigger penis.

      • Posted October 25, 2011 at 2:36 am | Permalink

        Then there’s the fact that, at least among most female anime fans that I know personally, it’s not the (often bland) protangonists that are appealing – it’s the dark, sexy antagonists and anti-heroes. They tend to be more fanservice-worthy.

        • Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          Fanservice aside, the lack of any noteworthy personality whatsoever is what really kills a character. Sex appeal is a nice plus, but not necessary for a character to be appealing.

  3. Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    “the plot and characters are anywhere from laughable to generic, but it’s pretty, at least.”

    Those were EXACTLY my expectations from the start. And I got what I expected.

    • Chronolynx
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Hooray for not having expectations! May we never be disappointed.

  4. Jack
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I think the only people I’ve seen comment that the story and characters aren’t shallow, generic, laughable etc etc, are the ones who are six years old, or think Bleach is the height of cinematic storytelling, or both.

    I’m not even sure I agree on the pretty. It’s more it tries to be pretty, but doesn’t seem to quite get there unless it’s depicting one of the girls in this show, and then lavish attention is paid to glorifying them as sex-objects. Now, I have no particular beef with that, just that the rest of the art away from the hotties isn’t quite up to the same level. I’ll also add, as an aside, that the concept art by redjuice for the characters is just downright gorgeous.

    This vapid show that channels more Lindsay Lohan than George Clooney is really not the type of show I expect from Production I.G, and it’s DEFINITELY not the type of show that noitaminA was supposed to be reserved for. :/ Still, it’s sure to be a big hit, because sex sells far more than plot.

  5. Posted October 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    We’d have gotten our male fanservice if Guilty Crown was by Sunrise! They’re the epitome of equal opportunity fanservice!

    • Chronolynx
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Or Bones. They’ve been pretty good about that lately. We can dream, I guess.

  6. Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what’s worse; an anime where girls’ crotches are magnetically attracted to the protag-kun’s face, or a pseudo-serious anime in which there are MECHA and WAR and FIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE and suddenly… jiggling boobs. Well, at least I can avoid one of them more effectively.

    Am I allowed to mention Tiger & Bunny here for egalitarian and not over-the-top, completely annoying fanservice? It’s really not that hard to pull, dear studios.

    I don’t know if the author of KimiBoku is actually a woman, but there’s no way I can shake off the feeling of a woman writing about girly boys for women and it sort of makes me want to weep.

    Well, this is indeed less disappointing than it could be because what are expectations, and how do I cultivate them from season to season?

    • Chronolynx
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Note: KimiBoku is actually shounen (I think we’ve had this convo before). Ah, Tiger and Bunny, how you shall be missed, ye paragons of homoeroticism. What I still don’t get is why Guilty Crown suddenly upped the fanservice quotient in the second ep. Sure, the first episode had what’s-her-name half-naked most of the time, but it was relatively… subdued. Compared to ep 2, at least. What really struck me about this show was how confident the direction was.

      • Posted October 25, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        KimiBoku is actually shounen (I think we’ve had this convo before).

        Wait, really? I am honestly surprised, I didn’t think boys (even 14-year-old ones) would actually identify with those characters, but uh okay.

        It really didn’t feel like GC would go down the fanservice path; it’s terribly timed to boot. Desperate much?

  7. MarigoldRan
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Simoun is probably THE show that successfully combines yuri fanservice with plot, character development, and storytelling.

    The problem with watching good shows is that it ruins your appetite for less-good but similar shows.

    • Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      It’s a good thing. It means you spend your time on the best shows instead of shows that are merely average.

      • Marow
        Posted October 26, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        But if you only spend time on the good shows, they will become your new average, meaning you will not enjoy them as much. In that sense, it’s refreshing to watch a bad/mediocre show, since you will appreciate the good even more.

        • Posted October 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          The thing is, though, if everybody did that (just watching the good shows), the bar for excellence would be set higher and higher and the quality of shows in general would just continue to improve. That’s a simplistic way of putting it, since “quality” is such an amorphous thing, but that’s what I believe would happen in general…

          But I do understand what you’re saying. For the first impressions post, I watched some horrible anime that I wouldn’t have watched otherwise, and it made me kinda overreact to the awesomeness that the better series has. It was like “OH MY GOD YOU ACTUALLY HAVE CHARACTERS THAT ARE CHARACTERS AND NOT WALKING FANSERVICE DEVICES” and “OH MY GOD THE FACES ARE NOT OFF MODEL, WHAT A MIRACLE” – that kind of reaction in general, haha. XD

  8. Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s noitaminA is doing some fanservice for guys and ladies such as myself not particularly inclined toward manly men fanservice. What with No. 6, Shiki and UN-GO, they seem to have been appealing to fujoshi an awful lot lately.

    • Chronolynx
      Posted October 26, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      But UN-Go is shitty.

      • Posted October 26, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Shittiness aside (which I agree with), the fanservice in UnGo seems to be pretty evenly spread between guys and girls, what with Inga being super hot and all. I personally don’t find the male character designs appealing – interesting, definitely, but not sexy. It’s just overall not very good eye candy in terms of sex appeal.

  9. Znail
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    One of the dudes in this show actually wore as skin tight suite as the girls did. I don’t see how equality would somehow involve the guys stripping as none of the girls have so far. Not that I think that equality in fan service is the smartest thing anyway.

    • Chronolynx
      Posted October 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Recall the skimpy outfit singer-girl wears… pretty much the whole two eps. Or the gratuitous shots of girls in skintight suits jiggling their girly bits. And of crazy blond dude we get… a smile, and he’s wearing the same sort of suit as those other girls. Hardly equivalent.

      But please do explain your last point, I am intrigued.

      • Posted October 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        I assume he’s talking about demographic issues. Generally, it’s smarter to target a specific population’s fetishes to cater to, instead of trying to please everybody. It’s why in your stereotypical porn film, the guy’s face and reactions aren’t focused on, because even though women might like to look at male eye candy, male viewers who insert themselves in the position of the man will find it intrusive, like “GAH WHY SHOW THE FACE OF THAT GUY PANTING AWAY EW EW EW”.

        I mean, just look at No. 6 last season. My impression in general was that male viewers went “WTF GAY MEN IN MY SCIFI EW EW EW” while female viewers went (not all of them, of course, but there was a general tendency in the direction of) “Ooohhhh pretty guys being all homoerotic THAT’S HOT”.

        Though it may seem counterintuitive at first, but catering to everybody’s fetishes may instead result in alienating all of them, instead of drawing all of them in.

        Hence we see very specific demographics – shonen, shoujo, josei, seinen – with fanservice that targets the desires of each.

        • Chronolynx
          Posted October 26, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          That argument really only makes sense when the entire purpose of the show is to titillate, which I don’t think applies to Guilty Crown. Maybe. I could be wrong. I’m sure the guys would’ve shut up complaining if No.6 had some panty shots or something.

          • Posted October 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think No. 6’s entire purpose was to cater to the fujoshi either- OH WAIT IT WAS never mind then XD

            You’re right though. If a work is strong enough to stand on its own, the presence or lack of fanservice should have no bearing on how good it is. Puella Magi Madoka Magica, for instance, could be seen as having a lot of fanservice for guys (via the strong yuri under- I mean OVERtones), but my impression is that it’s a show that everyone can enjoy regardless of gender.

            Just having panty shots wouldn’t be enough – the homophobes would have shut up if No. 6 had shown the male leads actually enjoying panty shots and thus reaffirming their heterosexuality. I think one reason why Tiger and Bunny’s homoeroticism, though almost as strong as No. 6’s last season, was the “safe” kind of homoeroticism that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of whether or not you’re homophobic. For example, Kotetsu used to be married, establishing him as interested in women, and therefore it’s “safe” for him to have HoYay with Bunny, because then it’s very easy for homophobes to interpret him as being straight, and the HoYay does not seriously threaten his masculine/heterosexual orientation. In contrast, No. 6 establishes right off the bat that the two guys are really, really, REALLY interested in each other, and the protagonist even explicitly rejects a sexual invitation from a girl who, in a more mainstream series, would be the main love interest. If this show was interested in making this more mainstream, the protagonist would at least have been shown as being aroused/titillated/embarrassed at the thought of having sex with a girl – thus establishing the norm of heterosexuality. And his subsequent interactions with Rat wouldn’t have been as threatening to the male viewer, because “hey, Shion got a nosebleed when thinking about boning a girl, and so his closeness with Rat isn’t sexual at all, so it’s all right”. But No. 6 doesn’t give a fuck about making homophobes who are insecure about their own masculinity/sexuality feel comfortable. It’s more invested in catering to women’s interests and desires, while completely ignoring the viewpoint of males (while generally, in mainstream titles, it’s the opposite). Cue backlash.

            (Disclaimer: All statements about “women”, “men”, “homophobes” etc. are meant as clumsy, sweeping, broad generalizations and should be read as “there is a general tendency for this particular population to”, instead of “every single member of this population feels this way”.)

  10. Posted November 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I had expectations too – I expected it to be a total failure. Very surprised at the great popularity it developed, but it is no wonder considering the fact that it imitates (and exaggerates the worst sides according to my personal tastes) at least 1 great show that is a total crowd favourite – Code Geass… not to mention resemblances to other anime…

    I am sorry for those who have expected something more than fanservice and silly attempts to make something intellectual at times.

  11. Stricken
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Honestly? My opinion, and you can disagree or agree with this, the director knows their target audience. Animes like these are made for specific people in this case it is catering to mostly men, that’s the reason for genre to find what suits you. However, asking “You’ve got like three sexy dudes, so why not let them take off a shirt or two?” is like asking; why doesn’t Spike TV feature some romantic comedies. It’s just two opposite sides of the fence, if you want something with guys taken off their shirts I’m sure there are animes out there like that. Guilty Crown, if you know the director’s previous work, isn’t one of them.

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