Kuromukuro

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Poio's avatar
Jun 4, 2016

As always when reading my review one needs to understand the genre and target audience for the show. As far as mecha anime goes, this is not "Heavy Object", it's also not "Gundam". That is not to say the story is something new, it most certainly is not. What makes this better than average would be the use of the "person in a strange world" tag. Theme that's been exploited and sucked dry in the movie business has somehow eluded anime on a greater scale thus far. Not that we lack japanese teenagers sent into random fantasy worlds, but I must admit ignorance to a recent anime with a 17-th century samurai brought back into modern Japan.

Minor spoilers ahead. As always this is just my ranting and if you believe I am wrong, then it must be true.

Watch if:

- mecha is fine with robots that look like humans being driven "stick" and somehow still making complex, human-like movements (and not falling on their heads).

- you're not expecting a very elaborate plot or setting (if you're prone to "Meh, I saw something similar" you might as well skip this show)

- you're ok with the show switching gears between ridiculous and serious every 5 minutes

- you do not want to watch another Gundam clone (it will prove to have a refreshing vibe if you are tired of watching Gundam that is guaranteed)

Don't watch if:

- mecha needs to be at least a tiny bit realistic ("Heavy Object" is recommended for you)

- you can't stand cliche, overused comedy gags and inconsistency

- you're expecting a show centered around battle and tactics rather then the hero who always magically "saves the day"

Much of the above might sound harsher than it really is (that goes both ways). All in all I gave this a pretty high rating, and with only 9 episodes out it might still disappoint in some ways. However, it's not the story that makes it stand out for me, so not much can go wrong there.

Story 6/10

We will have our usual "one good robot for the MC + fodder for minor characters" deal here. As always the enemies will have multiple unique units like the MC's and as usual they are connected in some way. On a less common note the conflict is not internal like in the Gundam series, but rather an outside enemy is engaged (much like"Aldnoah Zero"). Also uncommon is the fact the units are piloted in pairs, though the "chosen one" tag is fixed in place, as far as choosing the pilot goes.

The FUN part about the story is actually that (at least for the first 9/26eps) we get to see some of the Samurai's adjustment to modern times, in addition to some questions being asked to reflect on. The age of samurai is over, but when someone is needed to sacrifice their well-being for a greater cause of humanities survival, are there still people left with the mindset? Sadly most of the gadgets of the modern world are treated as means for comedy and the explanations the poor guy gets are mostly useless. It is still fun to watch, though it could have been so much more. This is why it lost so many points on story for, really, not the obvious generic plot which I would not care for one bit.

Animation 8/10

Let's start with what is bad. The launch of the units is. It's horrible. Would have been better if they just suddenly appeared than get shot out of the 1960's-animated, seizure-inducing tunnel.

The robots are pretty good (as far as robots and CGI goes, upper tier), and the CGI doesn't hurt your eyes especially with weapons and gunfire. Characters are well animated and even tend to have multiple facial expressions instead of emojis over their heads.

It's not perfect, but it's above average. In my book, for mecha - if you can actually watch it and not feel like this is a pre-screener with "CGI-placement spots" waiting to be filled, it's good enough.

Sound 8/10

It has explosions. VA is good, watch "Big Order" if you want to see how badly it could otherwise have broken a show. I honestly didn't care for the OP or ED, but I rarely do. Not that it was bad, I just didn't listen or watch at all so you can make up your own mind on that front. There was nothing off about sound and, once again, for this genre that's plenty.

Characters 9/10

So far so good. We have a female who actually reflects on her own actions and understands she did something stupid (that's about 1/1000 chance? In anime, obviously). There's the samurai who is acting apropriately stuck-up and stupid, though maybe a bit too refined for someone who never heard of toilet paper. You should not be looking for any historical accuracy in regards to his psyche though, like with the rest of the show science has no real place here. The show will try to tackle some serious issues like a child being asked to kill and moral choices etc. etc. but it is too afraid to really explore any of it. Whenever things might start to get real comedy jumps in instantly to save the day. Not to mention people surviving explosions with your usual "dirt-on-face" (I'm looking at you, scooter-riding baka-combi). 

Main point here is that you can relate to some if not most of the cast as human beings. It sounds so simple, but it's something very unusual for this genre and what makes it a little bitdifferent, without also being too heavy for most (aka "Bokurano").

If you are a casual Mecha fan you will probably love it. If you are a mecha veteran there s a high chance you will like it or at least find it refreshing in some ways. If you don't like robots turn off your PC before it bites you and stop reading ;)

Cheers.

6/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
PurplePeopleEater's avatar
May 15, 2016

So far this anime doesn't seem to be grabbing a lot of viewers but the first six episodes have been good. Yes it's a mecha anime, but it has some nice twists and from my experience, is decently differenet from others. Of course, I myself didn't start watching till six episodes were out and I was dying for something to watch. That was mainly because the description/summary on here and on the site I watch the anime on were pretty terrible at explaining anything or grabbing my attention. Well, I hate summarizing stories but I will try here. 

It starts out with a rather ditzy air head high schooler who's mother works in this big research facility. The facility is built around two "artifacts" and despite a lot of research, no one knows much about these giant items. One day while the girl Yukina is visiting the research facility to see her mom, large things fall from the sky and one falls near the facility. Yukina touches one of the artifacts at that time and it reacts, unfolding to reveal a naked man who mistakes her for his princess. It turns out that Yukinna is able to activate the "artifact" mech with the man to fight the other mechs or "demons" that fall from the sky just has her lost father once predicted. 

Well I'm not sure that is any better than any of the summaries I have read but anyway, moving on. 

It's a bit hard to tell if this show will be able to continue strongly. Then again, any show less than 24 episodes doesn't have much hope in my opinion. That's not why I question how well this one will do. This is one of those animes that seems to want to put a little bit of everything in. There is a hint of school life and possible romance, some comedy, action, sci-fi, mechas, demons, person in a strange world, possibly supernatural elements (although it's too soon to tell), history, samurai, etc. Perhaps I'm being pessimistic since I've been disappointed by so many shows the past two seasons, but this could end up being a downfall. On the other hand, maybe it won't. 

One of my favorite things about this anime is the person in a strange world part. There are many ways of presenting this idea but the way this anime does it is the way I like. It's unknown whether or not the lead male comes from the past or another similar world (suggested in the sixth episode sort of) but he certainly isn't aqquainted with out modern world. Even though this is an action anime and all, there is a decent amount of focus on his confusion with the rules and objects of modern society. This is also a focus of much of the comedy. I don't like it when they have someone in an unfamilliar place and the character barely reacts to it. 

I can't say I'm a huge fan of the stupid main character thing. Is it just me or is it becoming more common for the main character to be the worst or be really dumb? Maybe it was always like that, but it feels like it's getting worse. Actually neither the lead female or lead male are portrayed as being especially good at anything which is slightly annoying. 

Well for now I give this anime an 9 overall, although I like to give high ratings at the beginning if the show has any promise, so if it doesn't follow through, my rating might drop much lower. We will just have to wait and see.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
9/10 overall
fragrantsnow's avatar
May 12, 2016

This anime is only 5 episodes along at the point I'm writing this, but so far Kuromukuro is one of the anime I get most exited about watching new episodes for this season.  It's really entertaining.

So far the story is interesting.  I don't want to spoil much but ~spoil alert~ there are some cool connections between demons and mechas and samurai.  I may be a bit biased because I like anime with samurai and historical references but I thought that  the idea of mechas being demons and also some sort of thing for samurai to use was a cool exuse/reason to bring mechas into the plot.  I don't care if it's a little rediculous or far fetched, there always has to be SOME weird reason for mechas to appear, right? I haven't watched a mecha anime in a while, so it's fun to see sword fighting mechas and also pretty funny in a way.   IDK about you but I think sword fighting mechas are AWESOME and if you don't this might not be your thing.

The characters are good too.  At first I didn't like the MC Yukina because she just seemed too helpless and aggravating and useless but I have come around a bit.  The samurai I like alot.  I also think Yukina's mother is a vry interesting character with a multi faceted personality.  Actually, both of her parents are i ntriguing, especially her dead dad.  He looks like a dick in the flashbacks even though he doesnt say anything mean so I think there's going to be something fishy there.  There's also a monk uncle and a little sister, who are very well rounded likable minor characters who have roles in the plot.

Overall I enjoy watching this show.  I dont think it's ~the best~ but It's good and I always look forward to new episodes and watch them before others.

7/10 story
8/10 animation
5/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall
Epimondas's avatar
Jul 17, 2016

I would love to tell you this anime stands head and shoulders above the rest, but it is pretty much a mecha anime that is filled with cliches.  The story is not so uncommon among anime and a few mecha tales, like I think Guren Lagen has some similarities.  Ken is a rather boring belliigent middle aged man who tells everyone he is actually 18, but he doesn't look it, act it, nor does his suggested level of training and experience correspond to his claims.  He is a flat one dimensional character who only ever seems concered with killing ogres or talking about them.  His only concern for Yukina is that he needs her to pilot it.  Consequently it is his fault she gets stuck into that role in the first place after this so called kind guy hero (yawn), kidnaps her.  I not only never get a feel for Ken or empathy or understanding nor the urge to root for him but I often feel like I want to hit him when he appears on screen.  That Ryouto guy has the right idea.  The animation looks pretty good though not quite at peak levels and they blend a bit of the older large heads and eyes style a bit with more realistically proportioned heads and faces within the same anime.  Sound is ok but I can not help but notice a distinct lack of background noises whenever they are all outdoors.  

The story is a bit cliched and one I have seen more or less in several other anime like Eureka Seven and Aquarion.  Yukina seems like a nice cute girl but she is also unable to deal with it all. Sadly for her, it really does feel like she is just being used through out most of the series.  Her sister and best friend come off as more likeable and well rounded characters.  Her uncle has a bit of say and influence yet he tends to go missing from the series for long periods of time.  Her mother is shown to be overworked and over stressed so what happens to her daughter, pushes her much closer to a breaking point that can clearly be seen with how delirious she gets whenever her daughter is in danger because of her mecha pilot role.  The best characters are not the main characters but select supporting and minor characters. Yukina has plenty of range of emotions shown in her facial expressions (good animation and art work there), but it also shows her as a sharp contrast in just how childish, young, and immature she is like when she throws little hissy fits and runs off into the woods.  It is a bit of a put off to make viewers realize how unfit, young, immature, and irresponsible she is for the duties thrust upon her.  Here we get several cliche shots like "school girl in a school girl outfit fighting in a war".  There's a new idea (rolls eyes) NOT.  Her relationship with Ken just feels unnatural as in it did not bud naturally or in a reasonable believable manner especially given how it started.

Honestly, as often as I have seen such a set up, it's almost a given it appears in nearly every anime.  Ok maybe not quite, but so often that it easily creates the impression it is in most animes.  It is almost as frequent as a cowboy hat in westerns.  It is mildly entertaining but that is really about as highly as I can rate it.  I mean why not something different now and then like a tank instead of a mecha or suit or knight rider car.  You would think they would realize how reused some of these tired old cliched repetitive ideas are and how boring it gets seeing so little new in such genres.  A few shows like Heavy Object and The Irregular at Magic High, relegated a much lesser background role for mecha, which was kind of refreshing and new to the genre.  Again like MOST, mecha anime, there is only one that can beat the enemy and is more powerful than all the others, though in some cases its a handful rather than one.  It would take too long to count out how many mecha animes have done that.  

Noting a few dramatic scenes, like a death scene involving explosives, age limit might fall to about 10.  Though that depends on whether you think certain levels of violence are acceptable such as described in the previous sentence.

4/10 story
7.8/10 animation
6/10 sound
5.5/10 characters
6.3/10 overall
KuroOkami's avatar
Jul 4, 2017

Is this a great work of fiction? To go down in history as original and ground-braking? Not in the slightest. What it is, is a cliche-filled mecha/alien/reverse stranger-in-a-strange-land anime that bounces back and forth between trying to be serious and in the next instant totally ridiculous.

So imagine if you will, you are an average teenage girl in high school. Not particularly extrordinary in any way. Average grades, few friends, you know... just average. Well, Yukina Shirahane might be average if she didn't have a crazy missing researcher father, a successful smart and important always busy mother, and an essentric monk uncle. To top it all off, Yukina accidentally triggers a cube-like device in the secret UN lab her mother is in charge of, only to release a samurai, Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma (Ken), who was in cryostasis for the last 450 years, escapes the lab, mistakes her for his long lost princess, and kidnaps her and puts her inside the Black Relic, which turns out to be a giant stolen alien fighting robot so advanced that 450 years later, we still barely understand it's technology. Once inside, Yukina is implanted with a device that makes her completing link so that Ken can pilot the Black Relic, otherwise known as Kuromukuro.

Miraculously, as if triggered by Ken's awakening, a highly advanced race of aliens, the Efy Dolgh, aka Ogres, with unique fighting mechs of their own, have returned to earth after 450 years to find the missing pieces, "key stone and pivot stones", of a device that will create a wormhole inorder for the Efy Dolgh's massive attack fleet to take over the Earth and all it's inhabitance. Ken, with Yukina's help, must take up his fight from 450 years ago and keep the Ogres from subjegating all mankind.

STORY:
The story of Kuromukuro is mildly refreshing with it's reverse stranger in a strange land feel, but the ridiculous comedy they throw in every other scene so that the story does not because too dark/real/adult/good (insert your appropriate word of choice) really kills it in my opinion. Just when the plot starts to address something real (morality, revenge, obligation, romance), here comes the cliche comedy momment (cosplaying best friend, male classmate loving Yukina from afar, obsessed video-blogging classmate) to "save the day."

ANIMATION:
Animation is about average for the mecha genre. Clean backgrounds, heavily out-lined (not nearly as bad as "Attack on Titan") people, and giant mecha that often move more realistically that the humans do.

SOUND:
I watched the dubbed version. (Yes, I watch dubbed, get over it.) The VA is decent and the sound track and effects add to the overall performance. Nothing awe-insiring, but above average to good. The OP and ED are both upbeat rock-based themes, the OP being a bit more story-like and expressive than just a bunch of random pictures or clips.

CHARACTERS:
From Kennosuke, the out-of-time samurai protagonist, Yukina, the shy heroine force into increadible circustances, Sophie, the ice-queen child prodigy who seems more of a robot at times than the mechs, Tom Borden, all guts no brains ex-US Army soldier and pilot of one of the mechs, Marina Unami, the young adult female counselor/nurse with the fan service exagerated figure, or even Zelleager Myundef Vishrai (Zell), the mysterious demon lookalike alien that helps mankind from the shadows, all the characters are a bit cliche, but at least they seem consistant and true to form. And even as cliche as they are, are different yet complete enough to seem interesting and relateable.

OVERALL:
Kuromukuro is a decent entry in the mecha genre. It's a fairly complete yet-contained story spanning 26 episodes or 2 seasons and latest reports are that it's not coming back for another season. Which is probably a good thing since the main cast is now spread around various locations across the galaxy rather than contained to the single city of the rest of the series. It's different enough to keep it interesting for the veteran completionist otaku, but not a must-see for any particular reason.

6.5/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
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