When this anime was first announced, I called it: having read the synopsis, I thought it sounded ridiculous (non-cuttable hair... most pointless/innocuous curse ever?), and it seemed just a new excuse for a run-of-the-mill action seinen (which feels totally like a shonen) with a pretension of high stakes and mature content. Then the show started airing, and it proved me right.
First, I'll say that the premise is not original: guy with a strange fetish (Kiri) gets 'mysterious', fetish-fulfilling girl (Iwai) out of confinement and protects her from those who get in the way of their relationship (Authors) for their own goals (in this case, killing the girl apparently grants wishes). Without looking back further, that's pretty much the recent Sankarea, except that this show is more action-oriented and a tad less inane.
I didn't exactly suffer to get through Dansai Bunri - even in its mediocrity, it has enough momentum not to become a chore. Still, you are not going to get anything special from this show. The storyline doesn't really get further than what the premise suggests: separate arcs of the male lead fighting this or that random villain who loses their shit and/or wants to murder the main loli. And he does this... WITH A PAIR OF SCISSORS!
...... CURSED SCISSORS!
"Hahah... That's cute"
He also becomes her daily hairdresser since the hair respawns at night like an RPG cave troll. And that's about it. Some enemies end up as allies, others fade into the background forever, and the less fortunate are killed off by other Authors. There's no major, lasting conflicts with especially remarkable villains, nor is there enough backdrop to the whole setting of Authors and Killing Goods to keep things engaging in that regard. There are hints at a major organization plotting against the protagonist duo (Gossip), but once both it and the person in charge are introduced, interest is also lost here because, really, they put no effort in actually making the organization seem interesting or at least threatening.
Check it out, these guys are trouble: you can tell because they smirk, drink moose piss and their glasses reflect all light.
The finale is more of the same, except with even more stupid exploitation than usual. It basically hints at a potential second season where Kiri will just keep meeting deranged individuals and defeating them. Bleh.
On the other hand, we have the budding relationship between Kiri and Iwai, which never really develops considerably. Sure, at some point they seem to recognize each other as something like lovers, but that never materializes in any form other than hair-licking action (if you didn't watch the show and are feeling dumbfounded, know that I'm not done yet with this!), so in the end it feels like nothing's changed: 13 episodes later, they act around each other in about the same way as they did in the beginning.
So that being said, all that's left to make up for the lack of proper plot progression in all fronts would be compelling action. I'm not going to lie, some of the battle scenes are pretty smooth and display cool movements (and a sufficient amount of blood), but they are also short and, since there's no real tension to be had in a show as predictable as this, they feel more like small anechdotes than blood-pumping, decisive deathmatches. The painful amount of melodrama and miss-or-miss humor decorating Dansai Bunri at all moments further makes my eyes roll away from the faux-excitement of the fighting. The Killing Goods' powers are not all that unique/quirky, or compelling to watch, anyway.
Fear the power of science!
But undoubtedly the most laughable aspect is how the show takes itself so seriously without realizing it doesn't even have a proper basis for that to work. Every character is insane in a way or another, which is portrayed in very overblown ways for the sake of childish shock factor... and this directly translates into a wide selection of obscure fetishes which are supposed to make you go ''OMGZ THIZ SHOW IZ SO MESSED UP AND KEWL!!1!", but ultimately what it achieves is making me laugh to tears while covering my face in utter embarrassment.
Here are some examples for shits and giggles (missing quite a few):
Hair-cutting fetish! The main attraction of this show!
Syringe fetish (+yuri incest action)! A must for all self-conscious dark seinen!
Asphyxia fetish! You should try it out too, all the cool kids are doing it!
Whip-licking play! Spanking included in the pack!
Foot fetish! This is the normal one in comparison!
Hair-licking fetish! YUM~! (But a kiss in the mouth is too hardcore)
Happy sudden rape! The girl seems to like it so it's a-okay!
Loli pantsu! What would we do without our barely legal fanservice?
Oh, and add to this the silly sadistic murderers, because no story is complete without at least two of these. Truly a lovely bunch!
Which brings me to the characters.
Kiri is your typical, average shonen-ish lead who has a special power not many possess, and his objective in the story is to use it to protect Iwai and their peaceful everyday life together. Another valid description could be ''fucking boring'', because that's about all he has to offer personality-wise (well, he's also a professional hair licker, that's gotta count for something, right?).
Iwai is also average, except worse. Her main quirk is her evergrowing, uncuttable hair, and the fact the action revolves around her death and life. And with that as a plot device, she's just rendered as a figure to be protected and rarely does she show any initiative of her own. The creator simply gambled that the readers/viewers would be enchanted by her loli ''cuteness'' and sympathise with her simple, generic sob backdrop story, and thus her character never truly develops past that.
The rest of the cast is, as aforementioned, comprised of one-dimensional pricks with their own insane quirks (2deep4me), and of course each of them gets a conveniently placed, hyper-short backstory to supposedly justify the fact they're all a bunch of evil deviants. And honestly, other than perhaps the little Byouinzaka sister, who actually gets a minimal amount of development, all these are just poor attempts at making me relate with near-rapists or delusional murderers that only deserve a shot in the forehead.
I bet you could saw one or two dozens of them trees with those teeth, but the rest isn't worth much.
When it comes to the technical values, the show is accomplished enough. The color scheme is gritty, varied and vibrant, shading is used considerably well and, again, the animation is decent, especially for action scenes.
However, I really don't like the character designs: those square-ish heads, the way the different facial expressions are drawn, those humongous eyes even by manganime standards... it all honestly feels more amateurish than unique. And Iwai is loli enough to make you feel awkward about her thinking of a relationship with Kiri rather than about the next Barbie she's going to buy.
Background music, sound effects and voice acting are unremarkable, but sufficient. They do help a lot to the ''show taking itself too seriously'' effect I was mentioning earlier, though. The opening theme is quite good.
Overall, this covers nearly all fetishes imaginable so it's a good hentai is a mediocre seinen, more appropriate for teens, which loves to think it's heavy and dark in content because it has blood and sexually messed up individuals. The story goes nowhere, the characters are dull and overblown, and the action is not good enough to make up for everything else. It's easy to watch as brainless entertainment but little else, really.
Not recommended unless you like your icecreams with delicious hair strands.