"Can you change a destiny that has already been written for you?"
Enter "Kurokami", a series that shows the struggle of two individuals, as they attempt to change their own path that others say can not be changed.
The center of the plot revolves around "the Dopleliner System". What this means is there exists three versions of the same person (2 subs and 1 root). Should any one of these three come in plain sight of the other, they will perish, and only the root will live, and thus will consume the energy force of them known as tera. Our main heroes are Kuro (a Tera Guardian trying to stop the Doppleliner system and defeat her brother) and Keita (an ordinary boy who unwillingly ends up becoming her partner). What interested me the most about the anime, is the way that the actual battles take place. It almost feels like you are watching a more mature version of Pokemon at times. Each Tera Guardian can form a pack with a human, and thus use their power in conjunction with their own. So fights take place with the two helping each other--ie: the Tera Guardian fights, and the humans remain on the sidelines channeling their powers to their partner. The fighting scenes are also quite good, because despite the characters featuring "power/energy" moves, the fighting scenes themselves feel very street brawling oriented, and stylized. It overall does a good job of mixing the super powers with more authentic looking moves. Now regarding the way the actual storyline progresses, here is where I feel Kurokami tends to miss the mark. There are enough plot threads going on, and many of them do evolve throughout the series. However, they end up happening few and far between. A lot of episodes play the role of fillers, and some fight scenes that take place seem unnecessary. This can make the plot a bit tedious to follow, as it can sometimes take many episodes for something simple to be made clear. Still, making your way through the anime just to see the last few episodes really makes things worth while, as the final episodes are exciting and fast paced, though I did find it a bit odd that episode 23 ends up being a re-cap of all the others, but through a slightly different perspective. Where this anime really shines through is with its actual ending. Everything concludes nicely, and feels very satisfying at the end. And some events even end up being a bit unexpected. As a whole the story is good, there is plenty of action and plot twists to keep things exciting. But due to the storyline tending to drag on, does hinder it as a whole, but nothing too drastic.
As far as offensive material goes, Kurokami does have a few scenes which contain gory elements where blood spurts and/or is smeared on the ground. These scenes don't happen very frequently, in fact only the first few episodes really have them, with it only happening occasionally after that. Some battles even end with little to no blood spilled at all.
The arts style to this is dark and moody, but not really in a creepy kind of way. The backgrounds come off pretty well detailed, with nice looking city designs and foliage areas. Even so, the overall color schemes tend to make the series look a bit washed out. The character design is good, all of them are well proportioned and have a good sense of style to each one of the cast. The super moves (also known as "Exceeds") are flashy and colorful, with each character’s move set differing from one another. The fight scenes are by far the best part in the animation. Character moves are animated smoothly, with every punch and kick shown off with just the right amount of impact.
For me this was the weakest point in the series. The voice acting in both the English and Japanese version is very well done, I still feel the Japanese audio is better by far in the long run. However, a majority of the soundtrack seems to favor one style of genre in music...rock! The opening and ending themes change twice through out the series. The opening animations both play rock style music tracks, while the ending theme (surprisingly) plays soft lite hearted melodies sung by Yousei Teikoku. The background music it plays also consists of rock music. I can see where they are going with this, and while I don’t care for heavy rock music, I can at least appreciate it for this anime. If you like this type of genre in music then you will love the soundtrack, but if you’re like me and don’t care for it, then you will most likely turn the volume down during some of the scenes.
The characters are hit and miss. I will go on record of saying that Kuro is one of the coolest female heroines to come along in an anime as of late. She has a sweet and funny personality, yet holds back a lot of sorrow in here life--she is quite the layered individual. Of all the characters in the series, Keita is probably going to be the one that is hardest to tolerate...especially during the beginning. He tends to complain a lot, and is unwilling to help anyone towards the beginning, and will most likely annoy many viewers. To his credit though, he does end up changing as the story progresses, and at least becomes more tolerable in the end. The supporting cast is also the same, some characters such as Excel, Reishin and Daichi do a good job off adding to the storyline. However, there are a number of supporting characters that just don’t make the cut. Many of them don’t really seem to have much impact on what is going on, and thus make some feel unnecessary to the storyline. They’re not a bad cast by any means, some of them just don’t seem to have a staple purpose in the anime. As a whole though, the main characters themselves do end up doing their parts well for the stories’ purpose, and in that regards it is done right.
Despite some of its flaws, Kurokami is a good anime. If you can make it through some of the fillers, and don’t mind the story dragging on somewhat, then I think you will find this a deep enough series to check out. There is enough action and plot in this to keep both the Seinen fans and casual viewers satisfied. And as it stands, it’s a series I think anime fans should give a try.