A direct continuation of Shikabane Hime: Aka, taking place six months after Tagami Keisei's death at the hands of the Shichisei (Seven Stars), a group of elite Shikabane who act on more than just regrets. As per Keisei's dying wish, Kagami Ouri formed a temporary contract with Makina to save her from degenerating into a Shikabane. Since then, Ouri's been training to become a proper monk so that he can remain contracted to Makina and help her fight against the Shichisei -- the ones who originally killed Makina, the entire Hoshimura family, and now Keisei. However, the traitorous monk Shishidou Akasha has sided with the Shichisei in an attempt to destroy all Shikabane Hime and the entire monk organization that uses them -- Kougon Sect.
I'm not sure why they decided to make Kuro into a second season, rather than just episodes 14-25 of Aka. Then again, who am I to doubt the genius of those who decided to make a story about sexy, gun-wielding, zombie chicks. For those who haven't watched Aka, go watch it. Those who have will find that not much has changed. There is a lot more ecchi/fanservice, because we obviously didn't get enough of our necrophilia fixation in season one. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate ecchi humour just as much as the next guy, but I can't help but feel they're sending the wrong
kind of message to younger audiences.
I think my score is rather generous for a script I could have written in 7th grade. I mean I'm just at a loss because of how simple and illogical the story is. Certain characters gain sudden god-like powers that are often unexplained, and then defeat the villains. Oori and friends also discover a "shocking' conspiracy that puts even Area 51 to shame. I know its unfair to ask logic from a show based on the living dead, but we deserve better.
Was this show broadcasted in HD? Honestly, I couldn't tell. The animation was average at best, so those who have been spoiled by high-end animations will find it irritating. However, I thought the fights were fairly well drawn. It could be just my imagination, but I thought the animation was slightly improved from Aka.
This is my favourite part of Kuro; the entire reason I decided to stick with this show. The OP and ED really gets you in the mood for watching undead babes open a jar of ass-kick on zombies (no sarcasm here). The sound of Makina's double uzis is just music to my ears, even during the 500th time they play it.
While its good to have dynamic characters and lots of conflict between them, its not so good when they act in such illogical ways that you can't help but give your screen the finger. It also makes little sense to give a huge amount of depth to certain supporting characters, but almost none to some of the more important ones. They wasted too much time in Aka in developing the characters, and its come back to bite em in the crotch this time around.
I'll try my best to keep my Yamagami Itsuki fantasies to myself, but I do feel the need to point out Makina's wardrobe malfunction. It is painfully obvious in the OP that she is not wearing any underwear, I mean how much more work would it take to draw in some clothing down there?
Despite its shortcomings I feel that many of you will enjoy Kuro, as I have. Temper your expectations and you will find this show a great way to waste 13 hours of your precious life.
Have you ever just sat back, or laid down, and started to marathon an entire series because it's either unique or interesting? This was my case with the Shikabane Hime series
I was a little disappointed that the real "plot" and "story" started a bit late. However I love how the helped with the building up drama for the climax of season 1 and the start of the second season. Now what I found interesting and a little disappointing too is that they changed quite a lot of things from the original source. This was very noticeable from the beginning of the season 1 and
the start of season 2 . If you've finished the manga (or what's available raw and translated) before you watched the anime, then you will be able to tell the differences immediately because it's "in your face" type changes. Season 2 was pretty much just a continuation of the events going on after Keisei's death. Now what I didn't like obviously, again, was the changes. In addition to that, the events right at the beginning of Keisei's death became very predictable and not just because I finished the manga but because I've seen a lot of similar titles, I knew what was going to happen naturally. Ouri, which didn't surprise me, made a contract with Makina to save her. The true villains appear with and form their evil and somewhat convoluted plot. New characters are finally introduced and everyone needs to get stronger and work together to save the day. So it was sort of like, after season 1 I just put two and two together which totally took away a lot of the joy for me. The good thing is, even though it was predictable I still had an amazing time watching it. Seeing the truth and backstories behind both Makina and Ouri really helped enhance my attitude. After seeing what happened to Makina in the past, I was like "Awww girl, you better whoop the seven stars asses and get your long deserved revenge." Ouri's story was pretty upsetting but also interesting because I think, as far as main characters go in Shikabane, his backstory wasn't really... "deep" Lastly, and the biggest thing which kept me from giving the story a full 8 was the ending... now I don't want to spoil it, I can't spoil it, but just these following words will help you understand, God damn it Gainax. Overall, story 7.6/10 really interesting title to look into.
Art & animation 7.0
Pretty decent animation and artwork for the shows time. I wasn't too keen on most of the "special effects" and the overall quality the animators used during Shikabane battles. They felt a bit bland and unexciting. In addition to that I felt like the battles were very "repetitive." For example, I really wanted to get super excited when I see Shikabane get REKT by Makina (or other Shikabane hime but for now I'll focus on Makina. ) However a majority of her fights were Makina getting rekt by a shikabane, using hacks to get unlimited ammo and shoot her ineffective bullets at the shikabane. Finally, the "I'm a main character I can't die" comes in to play and she kills the shikabane. So the art and the animation, I felt wasn't the best, especially considering the time of the shows release. Overall, I didn't care too much for it.
sound wasn't any thing special. The background music was pretty bland, I didn't have a favorite song other than the opening. I wasn't too impressed with the voice actors. After finishing the second season, I decided to check and see what other roles the characters voice actors played in and was surprised to find that for the most part, they are inexperienced. Shikabane Hime was either first big role. When I first heard Hasome doing the voice of Ouri I was like "man did they just find some random person out on the streets." Makina on the other hand, because she had a "serious" personality, Nana spoke in a monotone-ish voice for her and I actually didn't like it too much. Like she does have the potential to train her voice more and land even better roles however, for Shikabane, I just wasn't feeling it. Overall I wasn't too impressed with the soundtrack.
I didn't care too much for many of the characters both new and re-introduced for season 2. I think Ouri was too generic of a main character to impress me. Typical weak high school student who gets involved in something he shouldn't be involved in. Doesn't experience any real growth until like the middle of the series, he was just awful. I personally think that Makina would have been great solo. I think she's one of the best and severely underrated strong female main characters in anime. Then again, there are literally like hundred-thousands to millions, of strong female leads who go unrecognized. Moving on, a good majority the side characters are forgettable, like Ouri's high-school mates. I felt like they were around just so Ouri had some interactions, so he didn't seem like the lonely type. I mean, to contradict what I said just a little, even though they don't play such a big role, they do help both Makina & Ouri with character growth towards the final episodes. Overall I wasn't to impressed with the cast of bland characters. The backstories were nice but didn't make up for my overall feeling towards them. My overall feeling for the characters is that they were "okay." There were lots of interesting characters to be found in Shikabane and I think that's more than enough.
Needless to say, the reoccurring sense of enjoyment I had watching was off and on. But for the most part it was on and stayed on until fights felt repetitive or something tragic would happen. Overall, I believe Shikabane is pretty good, it's not the best when it comes to characters but the story is without a doubt one of the best and most redeeming thing that delivers in the entire series. I enjoyed my time watching it. 8.1/10
The concept behind the show is decent. The difference between an attachment to the world, which is what drives the Corpses, and the more fundamental concept of one's underlying Nature, was good. The constant reminder that the Shikabane Himes are not human beings was a good source of conflict in all the priests' relationships with the himes. Tthe plot never did much with these themes though. Other than one twist at the end, the story was predictable and pretty much a standard monster-fighting show.
The main characters were well designed, the action was pretty good, and it managed to be creepy fairly often. Nothing
amazing and I know I've heard plenty of complaints regarding the inconsistent quality, but it took nothing away from the show.
Great soundtrack. One of the best I've encountered in a while. A must have for anyone who like sad instrumental stuff.
The only decent character was the Betrayer Priest, who was a terrific noble villain with the best backstory in the show. Oori was weak and whiny, even in his one climatic ordeal. The little strength he displays at the end had no build up. Makina was annoying; she was just a violent angry chick who did whatever the hell she wanted without consequences. Hokuto was an extremely 1 dimensional villain--powerful and insane. That's fine for a #2, but after 24 eps, the REAL villain really ought to be coherent.
Shows like this are fun because you can watch the hero grow stronger and see how far he's come in the final showdown. Oori really never became anyone interesting though. The demonic cat and insinuations regarding his past gave me some high expectations, but it turned out to be a pretty big letdown.
The show, with its powerful themes, great soundtrack, and promising lead, gives you some big expectations that it doesn't deliver on AT ALL. If you're a guy who wants to watch cute zombie girls with big breasts jump around killing things go for it. But anyone with any kind of standards for plot and character will be disappointed.
Shikabane Hime is kickass. The art is great, the animation is pretty awesome, and the story is well thought-out and structured.
The thing I love best, BEST, BEEEEEEEEST about this is:
Being a female, the fanservice can get extremely tiring in anime sometimes. Shikabane Hime is one of the few anime I've ever seen where the female characters kick so much ass and do it without all of the annoying fanservice. I haven't seen a single panty shot and the angled views that usually show the "goods" aren't excessive. Most of the angled shots are for the action scenes, and purely that. The only full-on fanservice
I've seen in this anime has been the catgirl (whom I consider to be a joke) or entirely in the endings. (The closing theme song endings)
I love the characters. Makina especially. She has this... manly factor that radiates off of her which is rare in female anime characters. Her eyebrows are slightly thick and she's completely serious about her battles. She punches the shit out of things with a gruff voice, and isn't there to be sexy or feminine. She's there to do her job. That's what I love best about this.
Now, there is a factor that stops this from becoming one of my all-time favorites. A huge problem. The -biggest- problem, and the problem that destroys the entire second season (or the whole show) in its entirety.
Like Soul Eater, yup... that dreaded ending.
I've heard lots of things about the ending, from it being a DVD special (which actually goes back to the first season, Aka) and hopes of there possibly being another season.
If Kuro ended the way it did and there is a 3rd season, or maybe even a last episode, I will be completely fine and satisfied with it.
Otherwise? It ends completely abruptly, with many plot holes left open, so much that there -has- to be a third season to explain it all! My problem with this is, it's been over a year already and there has been no hints whatsoever of a third season.
I hear the manga is still going, and I have to check that out, but until then, my overall rating for this anime is a 9 -- disregarding the ending and pretending it had a real one, or a 2 with the ending finishing it off as a series.