A boy involving in change..
"The right to use my friend as a weapon. That is the sinful crown I shall adorn.
I accept this 'guilt.'"
In the year 2029
, the mysterious Apocalypse Virus spreads and plunges all of Japan into a state of emergency in a period of chaos known as Lost Christmas. Eventually, an international organization known as the GHQ intervenes with martial law and restores order to Japan at the expense of its independence.
Ten years later in 2039, Shu Ouma, an asocial 17-year-old high school student who often keeps to himself in school, meets Inori Yuzuriha, lead singer for Egoist, when visiting one of his favorite places on his way home from school. Shu is a big fan of Inori, who has taken the internet world by storm, and is surprised to meet her in person. However, he soon discovers the other side of her: Inori is a member of the Funeral Parlor
, a resistance group that aims to liberate Japan from the clutches of the GHQ.
From that point on, Shu takes part in the actions of Funeral Parlor and the "king's mark" appears on his right hand. This mark bestows upon him the "power of kings," the ability to reach inside someone else's body and extract and materialize a weapon, or "Void," from it.
Directed by Tetsuro Araki
, with a story written by Hiroyuki Yoshino
(with the help of Ichiro Okouchi
), music by Hiroyuki Sawano
, and character designs by redjuice and further music composed by Ryo, both of them members of the popular J-pop band Supercell
, Guilty Crown
is a work by Production I.G
that aired on the Noitamina
simulcast the series, with a DVD and Blu-Ray release in August 2013.
A manga adaptation based on only the first 12 episodes with elements of the later half is published by Square Enix
's Gangan Comics in their Monthly Shonen Gangan label (November 2011 - December 2013), and a Nitro+
-produced PC game spinoff
titled Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas
, with a story written by Jin Haganeya
, who is also part of the show's writing team, and released in 2012. There is also another novel written in April 2012 called, Guilty Crown: Princess of Deadpool
, alongside a second manga from July 2012 - May 2014 focusing on Ayase Shinomiya called, Guilty Crown: Dancing Endlaves
The first twelve episodes are more or less roughly comparable
to the likes of Neon Genesis Evangelion
. When Loop 7, the area where most of the events take place, gets locked down, comparisons to Infinite Ryvius
and Devil Survivor
start to become common for a while and, in the end, the series goes right back to Eva
territory for its conclusion.
For the list of Wham Episodes
, go to here
No relation to Guilty Gear
. Except that both series have an awesome soundtrack
Guilty Crown contains examples of the following tropes:
- Absolute Cleavage: Just look at a couple of Inori's outfits, especially the red one she wears for a while.
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The Student Council basically becomes the de facto government for the school once it's quarantined from the rest of the city. As of Episode 14, Shu is appointed their president.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Shu's mother, Haruka◊ Ouma◊. Justified, as she's revealed to be his step-mother.
- Accidental Pervert: Shu meant to only draw out Kanon's Void, but he was stalled halfway through with his hand on her chest, leaving him in a rather compromising position and destroying his reputation.
- Adam and Eve Plot: What Da'ath had intended for Mana and whomever she chose to be her "Adam".
- All Love Is Unrequited:
- Shu and Souta have crushes on Inori, who is extremely vague on her feelings with the former but is eventually falling in love with him and is indifferent and oblivious to the latter. Hare is in love with Shu, who is conscious of her feelings but at the time was going through an epic Heroic BSOD that prevents him responding to this information in any sane or meaningful manner. Ayase and Arisa have crushes on Gai, who doesn't reciprocate the former's affections and is almost certainly playing the latter for her Void.
- Gai, on the other hand, seems to be in love with the Inori-lookalike from Shu's past, who turns out to be Shu's older sister Mana, but she's in love with Shu (though this might have more to do with the Apocalypse Virus infecting her than this being what she actually feels). They end up Together in Death.
- all lowercase letters: The episode titles.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Shu. Some viewers interpreted many of his actions based on having an unspecified social disorder.
- America Saves the Day: Averted in Episode 18. A US naval platoon is not only deployed to Tokyo in order to wipe out the virus by destroying the city but they're the ones that get wiped off the map by a Leucocyte blast.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Daath, a secret organisation devoted to manipulating the world from the shadows, ushering in the evolutionary rebirth of mankind, and making sure that Shu Ouma doesn't boink his sister.
- Anguished Declaration of Love:
- Souta is about to declare his feelings to Inori in Episode 8 one for Shu to show up to extract his Void and all but says his own feelings towards her, causing the Funeral Parlor members that were watching from cover to feel a little awkward.
- Hare to Shu in Episodes 10 and 15.
- Anyone Can Die: No exceptions. Most people die from the Apocalypse Virus, which in itself isn't a pleasant way of dying. Gai and Mana are Mercy Killed in Episode 12 by Shu, and Hare is killed in Episode 15.
- Apocalypse Maiden: Mana/Inori.
- Applied Phlebotinum: A Void is Phlebotinum and it is the personality given form. This can range from Inori's BFS to shears that severs lives to a literal fridge.
- Armour Is Useless: Inori takes on GHQ personnel in a Stripperific outfit with nothing but a 9mm pistol. She fights and kills countless GHQ grunts armed with assault rifles and full-body-armour.
- Then again, she is an artificial human. Perhaps unnatural, bullets-between-eyes accuracy is all part of the package.
- Artistic License – Biology: Since the series is part Bio Punk this is to be expected. Vaccines don't have to be administered weekly. Biannually is just about the most extreme level within the realm of reality. Possibly justified by the Apocalypse Virus being very abnormal.
- Artistic License – Physics: The Leucocyte Kill Sat at the end of Episode 5 is shown to have dented part of the oceannote .
- Assimilation Plot: Daath's ultimate reason for instigating the Apocalypse.
- A-Team Firing: Every last one of GHQ's personnel. Also Daryl Yan, who missed two men from the firing range of less than ten meters in a room with limited space to move.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Shu and Ayase in Episode 13 after kicking ass.
- Gai. No matter how you look at it, Gai is badass. He takes this to a bit further in Episode 12, where he runs around, while holding his own Void in his hands, when he should've collapsed due to not having his heart inside him. Oh, and he survived having a Kill Sat dropped on top of him. Unscathed. While another person right next to him got fatally injured.
- Dan Eagleman, motherfucker.
- Hm? The kid that just ran screaming at that Humongous Mecha to save the girl he liked before he got his superpowers? Yes, that was Shu.
- Badass Grandpa: Arisa's grandfather of all people.
- Badass Longcoat: The second opening shows Shu wearing one. Gai wears one as well, most of the time he's with other Funeral Parlor members.
- Beach Episode: Episode 8.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: In the first episode, Inori is shot, caught in explosions, kicked in the face, and is shown to be bleeding on more than one occasion. Her ridiculous outfit doesn't get a single tear, her hair remains absolutely perfect, and being kicked in the face leaves not a single visible trace.
- The Beautiful Elite
- Beehive Barrier: Daryl's Void is a gun that creates one.
- Betty and Veronica:
- Seemingly, Shu and Gai for Inori. As of Episode 10, Inori is implied to have developed feelings for Shu.
- However, Inori's feelings may have begun as early as Episode 4, when she goes against Gai's orders for the first time.
- Arguably, Hare (Betty) and Inori (Veronica) for Shu as well with possibly Ayase as the Third-Option Love Interest.
- BFS: Inori's Void.
- BFG: Ogumo's gun, which is as big as a person and appears to be some sort of heavy machine-gun/missile launcher combination.
- Bittersweet Ending: Inori sacrifices herself for Shu, who is now blind and has a robotic arm. But the Apocalypse Virus is removed from existence, and Mana finally dies.
- Bland-Name Product: Dr. Ginger.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Daryl Yan.
- Body Horror: The Apocalypse Virus involves large parts of your body turning to crystal.
- Bolivian Army Ending: While evacuating the GHQ, Rowan performs a Heroic Sacrifice by shoving Daryl into an elevator and staying behind to hold off the UN troops. The last we see of him is the elevator door closing and the sound of gunfire.
- Boy Meets Girl: There are hints, however, that Shu has already met Inori before. It turns out to be his older sister, Mana.
- Broken Masquerade: Breaks all over the place up to Episode 10, but breaks completely in Episode 13... and Episode 14 stomps on the remains.
- Brother-Sister Incest: One-sided. Mana, the pink-haired girl in Shu's flashbacks, is actually his older sister. While shown to be a sweet elder sibling to Shu at first, it's quickly revealed that Mana wants her own little brother to look at her "with adult eyes." Still, possibly subverted, as this may be just be the worst effect of the virus on Mana's mind.
- Brown Note: Inori can cure the Apocalypse Virus by singing. The crystal resonance sound itself is more of a Brown Note, activating the Apocalypse Virus.
- Came Back Wrong: Zig-zagged. After Gai comes back in the bad guys's side, he continually claims that his evil actions are just an extension of the original plan, although his general demeanor is notably not-quite-as-sane as before. It turns out that he was just trying to get Shu to stop him and, by extension, stop Mana and the Daath's plan.
- Cannon Fodder: The enemy Endlaves seem to serve no other purpose than to be blown up to show off a character's strength.
- Captain Ersatz: Noted In-Universe: Gai is relatable to Shu and Mana is relatable to Inori. The second opening takes this one step further—while their hands are reaching out in the church, Shu turns into Gai and Inori turns into Mana.
- Cataclysm Backstory: Lost Christmas.
- Cerebus Rollercoaster: Beginning with Episode 9.
- The Chosen One/The Unchosen One: Played with. At first it seems that Gai was supposed to get the Void Genome and Shu got it instead by accident. Turns out that the Void Genome was intended for Shu all along. Also, Mana chose Shu over Gai, but Shu chooses Inori over Mana.
- Clark Kenting: Shu and Inori in the first arc.
- Closed Circle: Loop 7 gets locked when contamination breaks out, due to an absurd amount of crystalline Apocalypse Virus contaminating the area. GHQ (and, later, the Japanese government) claims that all of the people within the circle are "contaminated", but that's not the real background. This "official word" is an entire fabrication of the events of Episodes 10-12, and the person in charge of the Japanese Government just so happens to be the one who attempted to marry Inori in Episode 12. Episodes 13 and 14 make the situation worse: there are posts along the walls that will prevent anyone from passing through, and they are put on automated "kill on sight", even if there were "agreements" to pass through.
- Credits Running Sequence: The ending has Inori walking in place as other characters move by.
- Colony Drop: Leukocyte 1 threatens to crash into Tokyo in Episode 6. It's intercepted by a Wave Motion Sword.
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Played with—after his first day with the Funeral Parlor, Shu decides that whilst they're cool, he's not, and he's pretty okay with that.
- Couch Gag: The first ending credits always show the foreground characters in the actual outfits they wore during the episode, as well as reflecting their relationships.
- Conviction by Contradiction: Inori's Void is a sword. Hardly holds together as part of the Pacifist she is (her mellow temper and submissiveness, the lyrics in her songs, etc), foreshadowing her soul to be a replica of Mana's.
- Note, however, that her 'pacifism' does not extend to not shooting GHQ personnel in the face, or not beating up her schoolmates when they try to mess with her.
- Crapsack World: More or less like a certain show it seemed to be the Spiritual Successor to.
- Dark Reprise: kr0ne and bios-delta are this to bios. Also, Playing the Heart Strings.
- Darker and Edgier/Cerebus Syndrome: After Episode 12...
- Decon-Recon Switch: Initially seems to be a Code Geass esque Grey and Gray Morality world, but GHQ ends up actually being evil, and Shu decides his loyalty only six episodes in.
- Defeat Means Friendship: A Deconstruction with dramatic effect, and a recurring theme. Over time, Shu has to learn that he cannot trust anyone, even those who he already made friends with. Episode 3 ends with Shu doing the wrong idea of trusting the enemy and Episode 5 forces him to rethink his relationship with Inori, both of whom he befriended after their secrets were revealed.
- Design Student's Orgasm: Void usage involves ribbons of Unmoving Plaid flying all over the place, Inori's Void especially.
- Determinator: Gai, in spades. He has several disadvantages going for him such as being previously injured from a mission gone wrong, the Apocalypse Virus taking its toll on his body, and being slashed across the torso due to protecting Shu. Despite all this, he pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment with Ayase to help Shu defeat Shuichiro and rescue Inori, though it all just ends as him being Together in Death with Mana, the love of his life.
- Despair Event Horizon: You know it's the end for her when the ever proud, dignified Arisa finally becomes desperate enough to offer her body to a random goon who's been lusting after her for a chance to escape.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Neither Shu or Daryl gets theirs, as Inori dies while Tsugumi becomes a teacher, with Daryl's survival being left ambiguous.
- Disabled Love Interest: Ayase - painfully obvious in Gai's case, constantly hinted on but never followed on with Shu.
- Disney Death: Gai in Episode 5 after the GHQ attacks his location with their Leukocyte. The preview to Episode 6 shows that he's alive.
- Distant Finale: The very last few minutes of the final episode take place "a few years later". Considering the characters look the same, it can't be more than 2 or 3 years later.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Inori moaning whenever Shu pulls his BFS out of her. Awesome and funny at the same time.
- Also, the expression on Inori's face while a "wedding ring" is being put on her finger by Shuichiro.
- Really, nearly everyone who gets a Void pulled out of them puts on a face that the viewer can easily put out of context.
- Episode 14, when the student council decides to see what Tsugumi's Void is. They pin her down so she can't run away and Hare comforts her by saying that that "it only hurts for a second".
- Episode 15 takes it even further when Shu forcibly extracts Inori's Void after Hare dies. She tries to stop him but he pins her down and does it anyway.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Shu towards Inori. Ayase and Hare are gender-flipped versions towards Gai and Shu, respectively.
- Doomed by Canon: Most likely, Scrooge and Carol.
"But know this well, your story is one in the past. Its ending has already been decided. Tragedy is unavoidable. Lost Christmas will come to pass. Therefore — your choice is meaningless."
- Dramatic Chase Opening/Pursued Protagonist: The series starts off with Inori being pursued.
- Dodge the Bullet: Gai.
- Dueling Hackers: Tsumugi vs Kenji.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Double subverted. Shu wants to help Inori when she gets captured, and though he doesn't feel capable, he ends up going back for her.
- Eagle Land: Dan Eagleman. Bonus points for actually having "eagle" in his family name.
- Emotionless Girl: At first, Inori seems to be this, but she's starting to gain emotions due Shu's influence on her and her growing love for him. In Episode 15, she starts to show fear during Shu's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Then again, having your Void forcefully removed by one of your love interests should make anyone show at least traces of fear.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: One of the terrorists is a girl in a wheelchair.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Once Keido becomes President of Japan, Daryl, of all people, is shown to be more than a little uncomfortable with his policies.
- In Episode 17, even Yahiro, the guy who came up with the Void ranking system, starts getting uncomfortable at how much of a Jerkass Shu is becoming.
- Everyone Can See It: All over the place. Gai, Segai, and Ayase easily deduce that Shu has feelings for Inori with the first two using this fact against Shu, Tsugumi and Shu can tell Ayase's not-so-subtle feelings for Gai, and Ayase teases Shu that everyone in Funeral Parlor has noticed that Gai and Inori share a room together two or three times a month and assume that there's something between them. In reality she's been giving him blood transfusions.
- Everyone Is Related:
- Shu's flashbacks seem to hint that he knew Inori and Gai when they were children. Turns out that the Inori look-alike is actually Shu's older sister Mana, who Inori was created to resemble and become Mana's host body, and Gai was his childhood best friend "Triton".
- In Episode 19, it's revealed that Haruka and Keido are siblings, thus making Keido Shu's step-uncle.
- Evolving Credits
- Expy: More particularly...
- Fantastic Drug: Norma Gene. The only details we have about it so far, though, are that it's genetic and that it's injected.
- Fantastic Racism: Ironically inverted. When Souta and a few other students that have Voids with... limited powers hear about a possible Void-ranking system that hadn't even been implemented, they become so offended and afraid that this would be invoked, they run off to prove their worth. When Shu tries to pull a What the Hell, Hero?, Souta angrily accuses Shu of being guilty of this trope. It takes them being caught in the heat of battle to realize just how right Yahiro was about the limitations of their Voids.
- Filming For Easy Dub: Well, it's more like "Writing for Easy Dub": as the series goes on, it becomes increasingly apparent that the creators meant for the show to be easily dubbed into English. Most of the time whenever two characters meet for the first time, one of them will insist on being called by their first name. Even if this doesn't happen everyone calls everyone by their first name regardless. Another notable quirk of the Japanese dialogue is (barring a few exceptions) a distinct lack of Japanese Honorifics, which is doubly noticeable given that this show takes place in a near-future Japan instead of a fictional location or non-Japanese environment.
- First Name Basis: Unusually for a Japanese-produced show, there's a lot of this. See Filming For Easy Dub above.
- Shu calls his mother Haruka. Partly justified since she isn't his biological mother.
- GHQ's suspicions are partially reaffirmed (that Shu's more involved with Funeral Parlor than he claims) since they figure no Ordinary High-School Student would address the leader of a terrorist group by his first name.
- Five-Bad Band: The GHQ officers.
- Five Rounds Rapid: In the final episode, Arisa uses her Void to try and hold off a squad of UN soldiers, who just stand around and continue shooting her Void shield with assault rifles. The battle is taking place on a catwalk, so flanking is not an option, and it is also subverted in that their guns are actually doing damage to the shield, but it's very time consuming. They also did not appear to bring any heavier weaponry with them, relying only on Endlave support.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum: Tsugumi's Void turns out to be exceptionally useful, but only in its debut episode.
- It shows its use again in Episode 21 when the Undertakers make their final assault against Gai and Mana.
- For the Evulz: GHQ's pointless massacre in Episode 1 and 2, and an open-air execution or two later on. Both were counter-productive insofar as they did nothing to endear the organisation to the natives, but the first was particularly egregious given that they could've spent their time and effort actually searching for the Void Genome instead.
- Four Is Death A contrived example, 256 (Four to the Fourth Power) Leukocytes.
- More straight forward example when Yuu says that Lost Christmas is the Earth's Fourth Apocalypse.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- Watch the opening of Episode 6 onward carefully, particularly the part where Inori approaches her mirror image.
- Not only that, if you freeze frame during the main opening where Shu is running through a crystal-filled space with his friends depicted in them, you'll see a waving Ayase STANDING UP. And the animators even showed her with a front and back shot, too (keep mashing that pause/play button).
- Pay attention in Episode 20, as Haruka is running to get Kurosu. If you look carefully as she passes the park, you'll see Yahiro and Jun from ten years ago.
- From Bad to Worse:
- Episode 9 onwards. Episode 11 serves as a brief Hope Spot before it gets even worse.
- This seems to have become a recurring element in every episode after Episode 12. Especially Episodes 15 and 17.
- Gainaxing: Ayase, whenever her remotely controlled mecha is hit hard.
- Gainax Ending: Pretty much all of the final episode is incredibly symbolic and bizarre, but the actual ending, a Time Skip to the protagonists celebrating Hare's birthday, leaves pretty much 0 questions answered about what happened after the events of the story, save that Tsugumi became a teacher.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Yeah, the Void Genome? That thing that can be used to pull a BFS out of a girl's chest and a magic shield/gun/kaleidoscope from an Axe Crazy brat's gut? That's been outright stated to be a genetic weapon. There's also apparently a recreational genetic drug called Norma Gene and the Apocalypse Virus is unlikely to be entirely natural.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Seems to be Gai's current goal. The Voids are revealed to be various fragments of Mana that were scattered during the first Last Christmas, so bringing them all together is the only way to return her to full form.
- The Government: GHQ.
- Gratuitous English:
- The eyecatches feature "The boy acquires a special ability fights with the enemy with the essence of the person made a material as the weapon."
- The opening song, "My Dearest", rapidly switches between English and Japanese with the lines, "So everything that makes me whole, ima kimi ni sasageyou. I'm yours."
- Most of the songs in the OST, to the point of hilarity.
- Gratuitous German: Believe or not, but some songs of the soundtrack are sung in German. Most prominently "bios", which plays during Shu's asskicking moments in Episode 1 and 4. While the pronunciation is so bad that even native speakers didn't recognize their language without reading the lyrics written in the booklet, the grammar and spelling is almost perfect. The lyrics even allude to the relationship between Shu and his sister Mana, and also to the whole Lost Christmas incident.
- Gravity Master: Kenji Kido's Void is a gun that projects an anti-gravity field.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: GHQ personnel are guilty, at one time or another, of at least half of the offences against common sense we have on this trope's list.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Weaponized for Voids are basically a person's heart in a form of a weapon. However...
- Heroic BSOD:
- He's Back: Gai returns in Episode 17, taking everyone by surprise, though mainly Shu and Inori. Also doubles as an Oh, Crap moment when he reveals he's not on Shu's side and he's always been the "king". Even more of an Oh, Crap moment when he subsequently proceeds to cut Shu's right arm off and takes the Void Genome for himself.
- Hidden Depths: A person's Void seems to allude to some not-readily-apparent character trait.
- Holographic Terminal: These seem pretty common in 2039, used for everything from military computers to personal cellphones.
- Hope Spot: The last few minutes of Episode 11. A lot of Episode 12, as well.
- Hot for Student: Shu's father was his stepmother's professor.
- Humongous Mecha: The Endlaves.
- Imaginary Love Triangle: Zigzagged. Due to an implicated scene between Gai and Inori, as well as Ayase teasing the nature of their relationship to Shu, Shu is left under the impression that Gai and Inori are in a sexual relationship. Turns out this isn't the case, but the truth is a little more complicated. However, due to slight hints of Gai's jealousy towards Shu's and Inori's growing closeness, it may very well be a love triangle. In the end, the only girl Gai wants is Mana, Shu's older sister and the girl who Inori resembles. Still, see Love Dodecahedron below.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: All GHQ personnel. Especially the professional soldiers.
- Incest Subtext: With all the references to Neon Genesis Evangelion, this was probably inevitable. Our chief offenders are Shu and Inori, as the latter is an Artificial Human based on the former's sister.
- The Inner Reveal: Shu does this with his friends in Episode 11. The ensuing montage of him using their Voids is completely epic.
- Meta-usage. Episode 13 shapes up to be an epilogue, with Shu even saying in his internal monologue, "It's all over now isn't it." Then the second opening kicks in.
- Hare believes that Shu will be a "kind king". After her death, he deems that kindness is pointless.
- Subverted in that case. He eventually does become the kind king that Hare wanted him to be. Albeit, his kindness is his will to do everything for his friends, no matter the cost to himself. That includes absorbing Souta's virus, thus infecting himself.
- Commented upon by the American forces dispatched to wipe Loop Seven off the map in a UN effort to eliminate the Apocolypse Virus. Ten years ago they had been dispatched to the very same area in order to provide relief.
- It Began with a Twist of Fate: Had Shu gone straight home instead of to his usual hangout, he wouldn't have encountered Inori and set of the chain of events that would result in his gaining the incredibly powerful Void Genome.
- Karma Houdini: Arisa.
- Kick the Dog: Daryl Yan is a constant offender of this in earlier episodes.
- Killed Off for Real: Gai and Hare, though the former is brought Back from the Dead by the end of Episode 16.
- Kill 'em All:
- GHQ's ultimate solution to the Apocalypse Virus problem... according to Gai, anyway.
- The United Nations finally gets tired of trying to fix Japan after find out Keido has been covering things up and votes to save themselves the trouble and just exterminate Japan.
- Kill Sat: GHQ's "Leukocyte".
- In Episode 18, it's revealed that GHQ has 256 Leukocytes in orbit.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- In return for treating all the students like crap, Shu is quickly and promptly ousted by Arisa once the students no longer need his power to help them escape the quarantine zone.
- And for betraying Shu after he helped them escape the quarantine zone, the students are killed by Gai's Endlaves and the UN bombers.
- Looks Like Shes Enjoying It: Some people reaction to having their Void pulled out makes it unclear whether the experience is excruciatingly painful or orgasmic.
- Love Dodecahedron: The audience is first introduced to the Shu/Inori/Gai Imaginary Love Triangle, where Shu is in love with Inori but thinks she's in a relationship with Gai. Things start to get complicated when it's shown that Shu's classmate Hare is in love with him, his other classmate Souta has unrequited feelings for Inori, and the Student Council President Arisa and Funeral Parlor's Ayase both have a crush on Gai. It all goes to hell when it's shown that Shu's older sister Mana is the girl Gai is doing everything for, but Mana herself is shown to have loved Shu not-so-platonically, though this could be just an effect of the Apocalypse Virus on her mind, and Gai and Mana end up Together in Death. As of Episode 13, Ayase is hinted to be Shu's Third-Option Love Interest, but this is never explored past that point. There is also a clear crush from Kanon on Yahiro (whose attitude or even knowledge of it is never even implied) and some Ship Tease between Daryl and Tsugumi which also amounts to nothing.
- Made of Explodium: Relating the Cannon Fodder entry above, Endlaves have the tendency to explode if you so much as breathe on them too hard. There's one scene in particular where two of them explode violently just by bumping into each other.
- There's one strange example in Episode 19, where Segai drives a truck straight through a wall, only for it to spontaneously explode the moment it hits another wall.
- Magic Meteor: The true origin of the Apocalypse Virus.
- Male Gaze: A generous amount is sprinkled in.
- A Mech by Any Other Name: Endlave.
- Memento Macguffin/Tragic Keepsake: The cross necklace that Gai carries, which belonged to Shu's older sister Mana.
- Mercy Kill:
- Gai shoots Kyo in Episode 6 after she is mortally wounded.
- Shu pulls this on Jun in Episode 9, and on Gai and Mana in Episode 12.
- Monster Sob Story: Daryl. Seeing him in Episode 8 sitting at a table alone, waiting for his father in front of his birthday cake and then being told he would not be attending (cue next scene where said father talks bad about him) feels really bad. Episode 10 really piles it on when he catches his father having an affair with his assistant.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Good job, Souta! Due to your excellent plan to prove to Shu that "F"-rank Void users aren't useless, you get Hare pointlessly killed, and as a result, it convinced Shu that low rank Void users aren't worth saving!
- Good job, Yahiro! Your Void ranking system idea is the indirect cause of Souta and the "F"-rank Void users attempting to prove themselves, Hare getting killed, and Shu's Start of Darkness!
- Good job, Arisa! Your plan to usurp Shu not only left everyone completely defenseless when GHQ showed up after you thought the battle was over, but also gave someone that clearly Came Back Wrong the chance to steal the Void Genome!
- No-One Could Have Survived That: Gai has already managed to survive several attempts on his life. In Episode 5, Leukocyte 1 blasts down at Gai, and he survived with only moderate injuries. Again in Episode 12, at the end, where Gai rushes to kill Mana, only to be impaled with several crystalline spikes, all going straight through him. He did die from this, but not so much he couldn't be brought back to life later.
- Pet the Dog: In Episode 18, after Shu's gone through his second Despair Event Horizon, Shu gives up some of his food to a young child.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: A rather unsubtle example in Episode 11. In order to get to Haneda Airport while under fire, Shu has to use the skills of all the other film club members' Voids once each.
- Powers in the First Episode: Last two minutes of the first episode, to be exact. Extra points for the Theme Music Power-Up.
- Prophecies Are Always Right Hare and Kanon's horoscopes are on the spot. Hare's says that a vase with tiger stripes is her lucky charm in love. Immediately said object appears which leads to a train trip with Shu (with admittedly less than lucky results). Kanon's says what she is looking for can be found in an aquarium, and later in the episode we find out Yahiro's hiding place is surrounded by fish tanks.
- Red Baron: "Daryl The Butcher".
- Replacement Goldfish: Inori is implied to be one for Shu's older sister Mana.
- La Résistance: Funeral Parlor.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Shu goes on one after Hare is killed by the Anti Bodies. The entire scene seems to be a remake of Rebuild of Evangelion's battle between EVA-01 and Zeruel. It's not a nice sight, especially considering it started with the biggest Tear Jerker in the show so far.
- Robot Buddy: Funell, which follows Inori around and is capable of shooting out strings, much like a Tachikoma.
- Rule of Three: There were three successfully created Genomes that hold the "Power of Kings", including the one that Shu possesses. The first one was stolen by Gai, Yu/Daath possesses the second, and Shu used the third to replace his original.
- Sacrificial Lion:
- Satellite Love Interest:
- Shu and Inori come off as this for the entirety of the anime due to The Dulcinea Effect.
- Subverted, as Inori is implied to have been Shu's Living Emotional Crutch all along.
- Played straight however with Tsugumi and Daryl.
- Kanon's crush on Yahiro is about the only characterization she gets.
- Say My Name: Shu to Gai in Episode 11, combined with Skyward Scream.
- Scarf of Asskicking: Shu after Hare's death.
- Shirtless Scene: Gai in Episode 5.
- Shoot the Dog: Shu does this Jun in the climax of Episode 9, at Jun's request, using Yahiro's Void. He later does this to Gai and Mana in Episode 12.
- Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: GHQ personnel apparently don't understand that they don't need to be close to melee-range to use their weapons...
- Funell is basically a Haro with wheels and another paint-job.
- Gai shows up as Shu's lawyer, his cover name: Mason.
- Aside from the obvious one, the scene where Shu pulled a weapon out of Inori's chest calls back several different shows.
- Another Gundam-reference is actually present, as unusual as it might be for Gundam. See how the Apocalypse Virus turns people into crystals and kills them? Then remember how the ELS killed people. Exactly: By turning them into crystals. And in both cases the subject seems to feel tremendous pain from the conversion.
- Scenery Porn: The backgrounds, scenery, and lighting are very beautiful and detailed.
- Ship Tease: Tsugumi's encounter with Daryl is laden with this and continues on in following episodes.
- Shown Their Work: The chess game between Shibungi and Segai is actually the seventh game from the 1971 candidates final between Bobby Fischer and Tigran Petrosian.
- Sibling Triangle: Gai/"Triton" is in love with Shu's older sister Mana, who in turn is in love with... Shu. To be fair, Mana only started expressing "romantic" interest in Shu once she started getting infected by the Apocalypse Virus and this may not have been her true desires. Either way, Gai and the real, uninfected Mana end up Together in Death.
- Spinoff: In the form of a PC game from the writer of Demonbane.
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- Fyu-Neru/Funell and Endrave/Endlave.
- Funimation's subs have gone with Funell and Endlave.
- As is always the case: Guy/Gai. Gai is the official spelling.
- Spiritual Successor: General consensus is this series was a partial one to Code Geass, particularly during the first few episodes before other influences became more apparent, given that it started with the same "resistance group taking on oppressive entity" setting. While Shu and Lelouch have very different personalities and interests, they are both 17-year old youths accompanied by mysterious girls (Inori and C.C. respectively, who also differ from each other) and capable of using mysterious powers. Curiously, both Geass and Crown share the same writing duo mentioned above (though their positions and responsibilities have been switched around), despite having different directors and production studios.
- Most of the first episode felt like one massive Code Geass Shout-Out, from the massacre to gaining the new power at the very last minute.
- Gai's securing of funds plays out almost exactly like Lelouch's did.
- Another reference to Code Geass would be Hare, since everything about her screams "Shirley 2.0." She even dies in Shu's arms and triggers a massive Heroic BSOD.
- Both of the powers the main characters get in Guilty Crown and Code Geass (the Void Genome and Geass, respectively) are described as the "power of the king", and both are introduced with a creed that sounds somewhat like a curse.
- Both GHQ and Brittania operate under the same social philosophy; GHQ claims "natural selection" and Brittania claims "survival of the fittest," which are basically the same concept.
- Start of Darkness: Episode 20 shows how Keido slowly becomes bitter over Kurosu's abilities to the point where he murders him and aligns himself with Daath.
- Steel Ear Drums: In Episode 5, Inori, Shu, and Ayase are practicing on a firing range, and none of appear to be wearing any sort of hearing protection whatsoever, yet they don't seem to be adversely affected from the noise a rapidly firing handgun at close range makes.
- Stripperiffic: Inori's school uniform doesn't seem very odd, but the outfits she wears when singing and working for Funeral Parlor show a lot of skin.
- Superpower Lottery: In full effect with the Voids that Shu extracts from people, which range from a Humongous Mecha-slicing BFS to a particularly small and unremarkable pair of pliers to a walk-in refrigerator. In fact, Voids that are actually usable as weapons appear to be a pretty bad sign, psychologically-speaking.
- This is actually made a plot point when Shu gets his BSOD after Hare's death and decides that less-powerful Voids are "trash". Shu's supporters even call a new girl "lucky" when they find out she has an 'A-rank' Void.
- Synchronization: Between Endlaves and their pilots.
- Taken for Granite: The Apocalypse Virus causes the gradual crystallization of the infected.
- Tempting Fate: Happens a lot in this series, but in Episode 14 Shu clearly states, "It won't get any worse than this." Oh Shu, how wrong you were...
- Theme Music Power-Up: Whenever Shu draws a Void and saves the day.
- Theme Tune Cameo: "Euterpe" several times, and also the first ending theme "Departures ~あなたにおくるアイの歌~" as Inori's main song.
- There Is Another: There are two Void Genomes floating around out there besides Shu's. The holder of the second one finally appears in Episode 11.
- Theres No Kill Like Overkill:
- Episode 2 has Gai using beam reflectors to annihilate a rather pompous military coup, with the help of Shu using a beam cannon fired at the reflectors. The situation quickly ramps up to Beam Spam and turns everything into Explodium.
- Episode 5 has the military using a satellite laser to fire down on Gai. It doesn't just take out the location they were firing at; it removed everything within at least a five-kilometer radius. Whoa.
- Episode 12 has Gai being impaled with several quite pointy crystalline spikes.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: While it wasn't enough to save him (or even accomplish what he was trying to), Arisa' grandfather manages to look unbelievely awesome after doing that to kill one of her bodyguards after her Face-Heel Turn. He follows this by slashing up the rest of them and very nearly manages to kill her too before being shot dead at the last moment, inches away from her. Mind you, he appears to be around 80 years old. His only comment? "I seem to have grown soft."
- Title Drop: While the title is never used during the show, the tagline for the logo (which is the quote at the top of this page) does have the phrase "sinful crown". The title does, however, form part of the lyrics for the insert song "Ready to Go".
- The first episode of the English dub translates one of Inori's lines as "That is the power of the guilty crown released by the bond between two hearts."
- To Absent Friends: In the ending, Shu and his friends gather to celebrate Hare's birthday despite the fact she is dead. They even have a cake with her name written on it, and leave one seat empty.
- Together in Death: Gai and Mana. Twice.
- Too Dumb to Live: Multiple counts, almost all of them on the part of GHQ's professional soldiers. The rifle-armed guards in Episode 6, for instance. They saw one of their squad-mates being killed by a pistol-wielding rebel. If they were already within pistol range, why did they jog closer before before returning fire? Perhaps because they are genre savvy enough to realize that they needed to be closer to have any chance of hitting their target?
- The Prison facility's security personnel in Episode 5. Despite being on high alert in anticipation of a rebel attack, they waited until after they were actually under (aerial) attack to activate their anti-air defences.
- Took a Level in Badass: Shu in almost every episode.
- The Topic of Cancer: The symptoms of the Apocalypse Virus are explicitly referred to as "cancerous", and constant comparisons to cancer are made. Needless to say, it is quite horrible.
- Transformation Is a Free Action: Played with. Shu's first one took two minutes and everyone just stood there doing nothing, apparently out of sheer surprise, but a couple of episodes later, GHQ has factored him into their plans against the Funeral Parlour and Major Segai has to kill a sniper trying to blast him mid-transformation because he wanted to watch it happen.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: The Apocalypse Virus outbreak occurred in 2029, thus setting up the rest of the story.
- Unprovoked Pervert Payback: In one episode, Shu is alone in a room wearing only a towel when Ayase suddenly enters and scares him, causing him to drop the towel (but he tries to cover himself). Ayase proceeds to scream and slap him, even though she was the one who barged in without knocking.
- Unreliable Narrator: Not in the series itself, but the insert song "Ready to Go" (the one that was playing during Gai's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the thug in Episode 1). The song is sung from the perspective of presumably a Japanese resistance member who believes that the Apocalypse Virus was a bioweapon deployed by an enemy nation in a surprise attack to cripple Japan and leave it ripe for foreign domination. The truth is far worse.
- Unusual User Interface:
- The holographic interface Tsugumi uses. She controls it with her full body (including bumping stuff with her butt) and includes strange controls like something which looks like some kind of puzzle game (well, maybe it is a puzzle game she plays along the way while managing a combat operation).
- It appears to track motion via the lights on the suit and includes force feedback—when she "bumps stuff with her butt" it bumps back.
- Variable Terminal Velocity: Final episode. Buildings collapse according to the Rule of Drama and not gravity with some pieces that break off completely pretty much floating in mid air and falling at the same rate as other pieces supported by the foundation.
- The Virus: The so-called Apocalypse Virus.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: While the GHQ's methods may seem harsh, they point out that they were necessary to quell the chaos of the Apocalypse Virus, and that the people they target are those who refuse to be inoculated against it.
- Wham Line:
- Episode 10: Congratulations, Gai Tsutsugami. You are in Heaven.
- Episode 15:
Shu: I was wrong... Kindness is pointless. We have to separate the good from the trash. I'm going to become king.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The epilogue of the series only focuses on Shu and his friends, leaving out the fates of many secondary characters, such as Daryl.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Shu does this to Souta when Souta and other "F"-ranked Void users go out on their own to find more vaccine and prove their worth. However, they get spotted by the Anti-Bodies and Hare is killed trying to save them. Shu basically tells Souta it's all his fault and beats the crap out of him.
- Argo calls out Shu in Episode 16 when he realizes he's gone off the deep end.
- Shu and Yahiro both call each other out in Episode 17 for different reasons; Yahiro feels that Shu is going to far with his treatment towards the student body and frowns upon Shu's "special treatment" towards Inori, as it would look badly by everyone else, while Shu calls out Yahiro on using him the entire time to fulfill his plans through him.
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Some Endlaves have these, particularly Steiner.
- Xanatos Gambit: Shu's running a simple one by the end of the Episode 4. He can gather intel and get his jollies by living the exciting and glamorous life of a terrorist with Gai. As soon as things go south, he can nigh instantly call in Government, who will presumably give him, or be bargained with to give him, the VIP treatment for handing them Funeral Parlor on a silver platter.
- Or so he thinks. Turns out that the pen is a targeting beacon for the Leukocyte that would have have fried Shu along with everyone else within five kilometers had he actually used it.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Even though the Endlaves are basically remote controlled unmanned vehicles, when they get damaged or destroyed, the pilots connected to them either die or suffer severe injuries if they don't sever the link in time.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: According to GHQ, Funeral Parlor is a group of ruthless terrorists who keep murdering innocent people and want to make the country a warzone. According to Funeral Parlor, GHQ is an oppressive foreign regime that's in place more to research the virus than they are to contain it. They're both right.