Shikabane Hime: Kuro

Alt title: Corpse Princess: Kuro

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mahius's avatar By on Nov 13, 2015

Corpse Princess 2 AKA Shikibane Hime - Kuro, is a 12 episode ecchi, supernatural action anime about monks, monsters and undead corpse women. I had watched the first season a good while back and it wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t like it’s reliance on this sequel, it left an incomplete story. Within the first few episode of this I was very confused and annoyed by a few things, would this change as I watched more of it? That said I watched season 1 a long time ago, back when I had different tastes and tolerances. Before I even started writing these reviews. I’ll also do the usual spiel on my dislike for ecchi, harem and pointless pervy fan-service, so please take this into account while reading my review.

Animation

The animation quality wasn’t too bad, I managed to watch it in 720p and I think it might even be available in the full 1080p. Though honestly at times the fidelity feels much less, the lines are a bit too blurred and the colours occasionally feel off. And it just looks very shoddy and broken in some scenes. This was most noticeable in episode 2, the shoddiness when Makina is sent flying by Hokuto. Perhaps the animation is actually up-scaled 480p. At other times the animation looks as it should do for its time. It’s a shame this inconsistency lets it down.

The animation style is very generic. It looks a lot like many other anime. The characters also look too familiar to other characters and each other. At times I got confused between who was who. This is not a good choice of design. Keisei Kagami looks like a Bleach character, and I say this as someone who has never watched Bleach or had anything to do with it. There’s very little to redeem the style other than the interesting use of shadows and the strange designs of the monsters. Sure a lot of characters wear monk robes and the like, but that’s to be expected given the setting. It’s also quite gory, which makes sense given the large amount of corpses and violence. One of the small flaws of the design is that chest sizes are inconsistent, on the same character they seem normal at times and a bit bigger at other times. This ties in with a major annoyance of mine… you guessed it…

Unfortunately this anime has an awful lot of fan-service and perverted bullshit, with no context or justification for any of it. It’s clearly aimed at teenagers, there’s pretty much no actual nudity (i.e. you don’t see any nipples) which is a plus. But damn is it awful for having this ecchi aspect to it. It’s an anime about monks and undead girls fighting monsters. I’d understand if the characters clothes got ripped in a fight or something, but the monks themselves are perverts. Whatever happened to ‘no worldly desires’? I swear I could do be a better monk than these fools. The undead girls just look like slutty girls, any character trying to perv over them is essentially a necrophiliac. And things like ‘doujinshi’ is referenced. Doujinshi is essentially pornographic manga, if I recall correctly. The outro is a clear example of this needed perversion and worst of all, this anime reminds me of an abysmal anime I once watched, with similar themes. What point is there to this pervy nonsense, especially in the context of monks and corpses? It’s just a tad more disgusting than usual.

Sound

The music in this anime isn’t too bad, but I must comment on the laziness. While this is indeed a standalone second season, the intro/outro remain exactly the same as the first season (when I first started watching it, I thought I was watching the wrong season). There’s usually a change and if I’m honest, the music feels a bit stale, even though it’s been a long time since I’ve last heard it. Perhaps the music just isn’t to my taste which is why I might feel this way? The music in the anime itself is suitable, but I didn’t notice it too much, it didn’t stand out too much besides trying to make a few scenes a bit creepier with appropriate tunes. However, the music that I did notice sounded a bit too cheesy.

This anime is available in both English and Japanese. Since I’d watched the first season in English, I watched this in English too and I noticed how familiar a lot of the voice actors were. Not always a good thing, since I’m really starting to recognise American voice actors who are very overused. They seem to handle the heavily Japanese terminology rather well, but otherwise, I’d recommend watching this one in Japanese perhaps. I am no expert in voices, but it seemed here that the Japanese voices are more tolerable and a tad better than the English voices. A quick note, Shikibane means corpse and Hime means princess, just so you know for later on in this review.

Ugh, so many voices… Makina Hoshimura is voiced by Luci Christian, best known for Nagisa in Clannad, Miyako Miyamura in Ef: A Tale of…, Mishiho Maeno in Mnemosyne, Medusa in Soul Eater and Nakiami in Xam’d: Lost Memories, she was also Mite the Fool in Tower of Druaga, the last anime I watched. Ouri Kagami is voiced by Aaron Dismuke, known for playing Alphonse Elric in FMA and few other notable roles. Akasha Shishidou is voiced by Josh Grelle

Characters

There are just so many characters, so I’ll try to keep it brief for each of them. That last paragraph I wrote drained my soul.

The male lead character is Ouri Kagami, the adopted brother (he was an orphan) of the late Keisei Kagami, the both of whom grew up in an orphanage. Until his highschool years, he was oblivious to his brother’s real job as a monk, being the contracted monk for the Shikibane Hime named Makina. This guy is the trope dumb, oblivious, useless and too kind protagonist. He’s pretty much the same as the protagonist from the last anime I watched and in this case, he treats these corpse girls as if they were human. This is an issue and the other monks try to teach him the error of his ways. Since his brother has died, Makina is in need of a new contracted monk and he is given the position temporarily. He has been training for the role. He seems to be the best acquainted with the talking black cat.

The female lead of this anime is the undead girl Makina Hoshimura, a Shikibane Hime who wields two guns, usually SMGs. Having lost her contracted monk at the end of the last season, she gone a bit out of control and the order of monks wants to get rid of her before she she fully loses herself. Her only option to stay is to let go of Keisei and take up Ouri as her contracted monk. She refuses to do this, since she is a bit too attached to Keisei and thinks of Ouri as the useless kid he is. She and her family were murdered by the Seven Stars, Shikibane who are probably the strongest in the land. Her deep desire for revenge against them allowed her to resurrect as a Shikibane. This girl has an attitude problem, all she feels is rage and anger.

Takamasa Sougi is a teacher monk, whose father was once the strongest monk of his generation. However, he was completely unaware of the world of Shikibane and the like until he met Itsuki Yamagami, a Shikibane who immediately made him her contracted monk, when he was just a clueless high-schooler. Itsuki died in a traffic accident when she was also going to highschool and ended up becoming a Shikibane as she regretted not being able to experience a lot in her relatively short life. She dual wields pistols.

Rika Aragami is a big-breated and scantily clad doctor, who is actually also a contracted monk. Her Shikibane is the mischievous child Saki Amase who wield a big hammer. Not much to say, other than Rika did her monk studies alongside Keisei, they were essentially classmates.

Kanechika Umehara, the teacher monk and his Shikibane Hime Flesh Backbone (yes that is apparently her name) are probably the worst characters of the bunch. Keisei was the pervert in season 1, but now that he’s dead, this dude has replaced him. He is shameless in his perverted escapades, he will try and peek at the Shikibane Hime taking a bath, even though they are undead. Definitely a necrophiliac. Flesh is also a very slutty Shikibane, she died on a plane trip to Akihabara (Otaku center in Tokyo and all of Japan). She is a massive otaku and seems to be foreign and seems to wear skimpy cosplay. She shamelessly flirts and even buys Doujinshi (porn manga). Yes, this slut is also a pervert and tries to make Ouri out to be a perv too. She’s that trope character who loves fondling breasts. How on earth did these two become a monk and a Shikibane respectively? Actually to answer the latter, her desire for pervy fan-service BS was too high. These two alone are making me wish I’d never watched this anime.

Then there’s the Seven Stars, Shikibane who were always evil, even before they died. Their leader is the most powerful Shikibane Hokuto, a powerful heterochromatic child who was raised in isolation and without human contact in order to be sacrificed. She hates touching humans and anything that reminds her of the world she was brought into just to be killed. She only understands and interacts people by murdering them. The one called Hazuma controls insects and is very manipulative, he seems to be the mastermind behind the seven stars since Hokuto doesn’t have any aspirations. The seven stars are an interesting cast of villians, they have intriguing backgrounds.

There is one human among them, Akasha Shishidou, known as the traitor monk. This man was once friends with Keisei and once had a Shikibane Hime. He killed his own Shikibane Hime and has a powerful technique known as a Zadan technique. Even he has a n interesting history and explanation as to why he does what he does.

Nozomi Kagusa is a girl in Ouri’s class in high school who has always had a crush on him. And this is where my recent escapades reduce my tolerance for yet another aspect of this anime (Toradora novels - a story about dumb folks who are oblivious to the infatuations of equally dumb and shy fools). Nozomi is ‘that’ character. Of course she doesn’t have the tits to tell Ouri how she feels and of course Ouri can never figure out how she feels. Towards the middle, this character is made even worse as they end up doing things that make no sense and are not the sort of thing this character would do.

Story

So here’s the deal. After people have died, if they have extreme regrets or desires in life, they will come back as Shikibane/corpses, they usually turn into monsters and attack people, etc. The Kougon Sect has the power to turn a select few of these into Shikibane Hime, for this they can only be female and within a certain age range (which explains the name Hime - means princess). These Shikibane Hime must be bonded to a monk, who becomes their partner and is known as a contracted monk, they must also protect their monk. The monk gives the Shikibane Hime something called Ruun (power) on a regular basis, which they need in order to fight and also to heal. The Shikibane Hime must kill 108 Shikibane monsters in order to pass on and go to heaven. Of course, monks never leave Shikibane since they don’t have worldly desires and many Shikibane desire revenge on the world. Zadan techniques are very powerful monk techniques, which very few can learn and utilise. Those that do have Zadan technique, usually have a single one, it’s like an ultimate move in a way.

In the previous season, Ouji finds out about this whole Shikibane business as his brother turns out to be a contracted monk for a girl by the name of Makina. Stuff happens, occasionally Makina takes Ruum from Ouji and Ouji always tries to defend Shikibane and to him they are the same as humans. Shit goes down, the seven stars appear, Keisei dies, one of the other Shikibane Hime dies, and they go berserk without their monk and have to be put down. And yeah… Ouji has been put in a temporary contract with Makina and the Kougon sect have their hands full trying to deal with the Seven Stars.

The plot here is very shoddy and flawed. The previous season sequel-baiting and relying on this season was nonsense enough, but a lot of silly things happen. One thing that was rather obvious was that Ouri runs past Nozomi in a forest while looking for Makina and doesn’t see her at all, not even after the big fight. Is the guy blind? There’s a whole lot of unreasonable jumping to conclusions, which doesn’t suit monks at all, one would expect them to think before they act/speak. The romance goes nowhere as expected, people only realise the 'love' after one of them has died. Too late now! I hate it when they shoe-horn in a bad attempt at romance in these sorts of anime. At times the plot is very predictable, it’s obvious what would happen. There is also the convenience of certain unlikely events too. This is disappointing. Of course the fan-service doesn’t help either. I unfortunately found it difficult to pay attention to the events of this anime at times.

It’s not all completely bad though. The plot is faced paced and to the point, there is very little filler. Most of it is relevant and there are a good many twists and turns, it’s not completely predictable. It even goes so far as to explain how Shikibane Hime came to be and why only girls of a certain age can become one. There’s a lot of surprising background given. The secrets are revealed and the action is also decent at times. I will also give it props for having guts to depict some very unpleasant and messed up stuff: murdering children, cannibalism, genocide, torture and so much more. Of course those things on their own aren’t a good thing, but the way in which it is used makes it an advantage of this anime.

But… after all the good things, there is one big failure of the narrative. It is incomplete, the story is left open-ended as a result of the convenience that plagues this plot and this is a major disappointment. At least it’s not as sequel-baity as other anime. It tries its best to wrap things up as best as possible. This wouldn’t be an issue if it had perhaps one more episode or even just 5 minutes to settle what starts at the very end.

Conclusion

This anime had so much promise. It could have been good and there was a lot of things it did well, unfortunately it is drowned in its flaws. Who is this for? I recommend this to people who don’t mind the ecchi and those who don’t mind the issues with the characters and story. Give the first season a try if you like the combination of action, gore and fan-service. Forget about the story, since its only half-good. It doesn’t matter too much what I thought of it now, overall I’m disappointed in it due to the plot and pointless fan-service, but that’s just my personal taste. This isn’t an anime for everyone and I feel as teenage boys are the primary demographic due to the ‘unholy’ trinity this anime features (no pun intended). Story is essential to get right for an anime to be deemed good and this got fairly close, but not enough. I feel like my rating is a bit too generous but as I've tried to mention, overall ratings aren't good at representing media like anime, as there's a lot that can't be discerned from a simple number. So judge by the individual parts and the recommendation/primary audience. Is this the sort of anime for you?

Family-friendliness Rating: 4/5 Grotesque images, disturbing content and mature themes (lower is better)

Overall Rating: 5.5/10 (higher is better)

7/10 story
4/10 animation
6/10 sound
7/10 characters
5.5/10 overall
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mikeyvxt's avatar By on Sep 3, 2016

TL;DR - There was potential, but it's totally sabotaged by poor voice acting and P.O.S. characters.

*** REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS, AND IS A REVIEW OF BOTH SHIKABANE HIME: AKA AND SHIKABANE HIME: KURO ***

Story ( 2.5/5 )

The story misses the mark for me. Parts of it are just fine - the idea of corpses is just fine, and the idea of priests using other corpses to fight said corpses is also cool. The part that absolutely dies for me is that:

  1. They hardly go into any in-depth detail about any of the characters, meaning you can't really become attached to them, relate to them, or understand why they're acting the way they are.
  2. There's not really much of an ending. I know this is based off of a manga so they probably weren't able to cover the entirety of the manga series in just 24 episodes, but seriously... what a bad place to end this 2nd season!

Characters seem shallow because you have no idea what the hell is going on with them, and for the life of me, I cannot even understand the main villains. They're so f*cking dumb. "Oh hur, corpses cling to these attachments, but we're just natural." WTF KINDA REASON IS THAT?! Or the "betrayer priest" guy. One fucking moment, they make it out as if he actually cares about people while he's being bullied by his villain friends and then literally seconds later he's tearing up a bunch of priests at a temple. GAAH?!

Animation ( 2.5/5 )

Animation is actually pretty decent, would rate a 3/5. However, I'm docking half a point because of this peculiar thing: I didn't notice it happen more than once, but it looks like for a single scene, for a single character, they asked a different artist from a different studio to help draw. Observe the attached examples below to see what I mean. For the most part, the animation style of this show is somewhat on the pretty and detailed side. But then for this one brief scene in one episode, literally it turns hardcore shounen-style. Uh?! Heh?!

Um...?

LOL

Sound ( 1.5/5 )

OP and EDs are nothing to write home about. Nothing notable, not that great to listen to. The part that kills the sound score for me is the atrocious voice acting. Holy crap, the main character sounds like a pre-pubescent piece of shit! Couple that with horrible acting and an overall useless character, you've now got a guy who makes it in my list of most hated MCs ever! It is seriously so frustrating how useless the MC is. None of the other characters make this any better either! Normal dialog is fine, but holy crap, it's like none of the voice actors or actresses know how to sound genuinely angry or surprised about anything. It's high-school-attempt-at-a-movie bad!

Characters ( 1/5 )

Let me reiterate the points above: they don't cover a ton of back story, so a lot of the characters are totally ridiculous and make absolutely no sense. Subsequently, you can't become attached to them, you can't relate to them, and honestly you don't give a rat's ass what happens to them. Stack on top the horrible voice acting, and you've got a bunch of characters that ruin any potential this show could have had.

Overall ( < 2/5 )

There's so much bah in this review that that's all I'm going to say to sum things up. I'm literally so mad while writing this review. It's frustrating

5/10 story
5/10 animation
3/10 sound
2/10 characters
3.8/10 overall
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Epimondas's avatar By on Mar 30, 2016

In some ways the sequal season is more exciting as forshadowed by the hidden powers and true background of Ouri (spelled Oori in the subbed anime).  The problem there is, they never seem to know exactly how to complete that aspect.  

***Potential Spoiler*** (Open) We never get a clear picture about what his true background is such as who his mother is though we know what type of person she was and we are not given anything about a father.  (Closed)***Potential Spoiler***

This kind of spoils the whole premise that the second season essentially establishes and gets us as viewers excited about yet they never quite do anything remarkable with it but most importantly anything that feels quite complete.  I for one, kind of felt like i was left hanging by this more than the last fight cliffhanger part.  Little girl combatants dressed in school girl outfits is actually even more prevailent in this season than the previous one so that part is more ridiculous.  The explanation given behind it not only doesn't feel quite sufficient but actually feels pretty flat and in a sense as if it was created at the last second.  One reason it does not actually work sufficiently is the age ranges of the girls involved does not quite fit the so called convenient explanation behind it.  LOL.  I have to wonder, did the writer actually watch the show?  Or did they hire a new writer that had no idea what had happened previously and it shows?  I am not sure what happened there but it is a major fail.  Quality wise and traditional story telling English composition rules wise, this story pretty much unravels about twice as much and twice as fast as from season one.  Yet like the  movie "Black Dog" in that it totally fails as a well written, logical, cohesive, and fit together story, it is still remarkably fun to watch.

If they did a better job of exploring that hidden power and explaining it rather than waffling on what it was and if he even has it, this might rate much higher and be a much better show despite the shortfalls, but as it stands, it only adds to the apparent lack of motivation to make this a complete well thought out show it could have been and I suppose settle for something merely adequate and entertaining.

While I have seen no overt adult situation references there is plenty of violence and more concerning, difficult dramatic situations that might make you pause on letting children too young watch it.  It has a larger psychological impact than just your average run of the mill violent semi action horror shows.  So be advised about that when considering to let your children watch it.

6.5/10 story
7.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
6.8/10 overall
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LibertyX's avatar By on Jan 7, 2015

The second season of Shikabane hime:kuro,the story occurred 6 month after the main event of Shikabane hime:Aka and after the dead of Makina contractor monk Keisei.As for Makina to full fill her contractor dying wish that to accept his younger brother as her temporary new contractor monk for prevent him to slowly to generate to become a Shikabane,at this second season it reveal the truth behind Shikabane as the legend said for the Shikabane's that manage to killed 108 corpse they will going to heaven however that legend was only a fake made by the monk organization for all the Shikabane HIme that answer has been reveal all here in this season two and also about Ouri kagami,a boy who is claim to be Keisei younger brother,the boy that always attractive to death will be told that whose's really Ouri are and the origin of Ouri that leaves alot of question at the Shikabane Hime:Aka,for Shikabane HIme:Kuro,the plot was a bit interesting the development of the story from the beginning episode till the end of episode are kinda abit slow,like at the beginning episode is only reveal some importance story about Ouri and the Shikabane Hime only at the middle of the whole episode it will introduces new Shikabane hime and his contractor monk and some fighting from the Shichisei and the organization monk,but still in the end of episode ended with a disappointed..
The Art,same as the season one Shikabane hime:Aka,they is no much changing about the environment,character design and back ground all still the same,even the colours are still using a gloomy type base colour which is mostly dark....but still the fighting scene onto this one was awesome,like the fighting scene from both side the organization monk and the Shichisei was good and some part about the corpse are well draw....
The sound,well,there's not much change about it,OP/ED still the same,catchy sound but still it was good to listen...
Overall,everything was perfect from episode 1,with all the story behind the Shikabane hime has been reveal,the secret of it,about Ouri birth,the fake legend that well made by it and the fighting from two organization all of it was really make me hype about this animation and i was hoping a perfect ending for both of them and then here come the worst part,the last episode my make it a cliffhanger again for that my exciting was flush away but still in overall this anime was awesome....

8/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall
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ghavo's avatar By on Jul 25, 2012

After watching the last episode of Shikabane Hime: Kuro, I was a bit disappointed.  They have built a great backdrop of story and characters of Makina and Ouri, but did not end in any satisfying way.  Basically, they did not end the series.  Almost as if they left the series as “the Battle Continues…”thing.  Very disappointing.

I would still recommend the series because it was very satisfying overall theme and anime was top notch.  It just had a disappointing ending.  I watch both dubbed and subtitled.  As usual, subtitle was better.  I can see one more season to wrap up the loose ends.

8/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
9/10 characters
6/10 overall
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