Corpse Princess: Kuro – Part Two (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
September 30, 2010 by Dennis Amith
Action-packed, entertaining and from beginning to end! Expect more characters, more battles, more fan service with the second season of “Corpse Princess”!
Image courtesy of © Yoshiichi Akihito/Square Enix. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Corpse Princess: Kuro – Part Two
DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (300 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0 Stereo
COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Originally created by Yoshiichi Akahito
Directed by Masahiko Murata
Screenplay by Shou Aikawa
Music by Norihito Sumitomo
Character Design by Chikashi Kubota, Kikuko Sadakata
Art Director: Hiroki Matsumoto
Art Design by Yohei Kodama
Sound Director: Masafumi Mima
Director of Photography: Toyonori Yamada
Anime Production: GAINAX
Featuring the following voice talent:
Tatsuya Hasome/Aaron Dismuke as Ouri Kagami
Keiji Fujiwara/J. Michael Tatum as Keisei Tagami
Nana Akiyama/Luci Christian as Makina Hoshimura
Chika Fujimura/Brina Palencia as Hokuto (Shichisei)
Fuyuka Oura/Claire Harp as Mizuki Inuhiko
Hidenori Nakamura/Kent Williams as Sougen Takamine
Kiyotaka Furushima/Chris Cason as Rinsen Shirae
Masayuki Shouji/Sean Teague as Sumitori
Michi Niino/Todd Haberkorn as Ena (Shichisei/Seven Stars)
Miki Maruyama/Tia Ballard as Nozomi Kasuga
Mitsuru Miyamoto/Josh Grelle as Akasha Shishidou
Nobutoshi Canna/Anthony Bowling as Honda
Takaya Hashi/T.A. Taylor as Isaka (Shichisei)
Tooru Nara/Micah Solusod as Hiroshige Ushijima
Toru Ohkawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Hazama (Shichisei/Seven Stars)
Yui Horie/Stephanie Young as Riko
Yuuki Hayashi/Bob Carter as Kowaku (Shichisei/Seven Stars)
Makina Hoshino is already dead, but she can’t let go of this twisted world. She burned to death along with her entire family in a fire started by freaks that wouldn’t stay buried. Makina knows she doesn’t belong among the living, but that won’t stop her from unleashing the full fury of her twin MAC-11 machine guns on the rotting remains of those who refuse to die.
She’s hell-bent on filling every empty grave she can find with the monsters that should be six feet under. Makina is a Shikabane Hime – a Corpse Princess – and it’s her job to finish off the undead leftovers haunting the dark corners of a city that used to be safe.
In 2005, mangaka Yoshiichi Akahito began his manga series “Shikabane Hime ” (Corpse Princess). In 2008, an anime adaptation by GAINAX was created with the first 13 episodes are known as “Corpse Princess: Aka” and the second half of the series (episodes 14-26) are known as “Corpse Princess: Kuro”.
The series is directed by Masahiko Murata (“Naruto Shippuden”, “MazinKaiser”, “Jinki: Extend”) and a screenplay by Shou Aikawa (“Wrath of the Ninja”, “Ghost Slayers Ayashi”, “Gad Guard”, “Casshan: Robot Hunter”). Joining both Murata and Aikawa are character designers Chikashi Kubota (“Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, “One Piece – Movie 6”) and Kikuko Sadakata (“Gurren Lagann”, Princess Resurrection”, “Mayo Elle Otokonoko”) and music created by Norihito Sumitomo.
“Corpse Princess – Aka” (season one) revolves around a young teen named Ouri Kagami. One night, he found a dead girl at his home, not know what caused her death, he hears people approaching the room and he hides. He then sees his brother Keisei going up to the girl who is named Makina Hoshimura and instantly bringing her back to life (while incurring injuries to his own self).
Ouri is not sure what happened but maybe the girl was not dead afterall.
Each time Ouri is out and about, he ends up being in the same locations where this girl is fighting. She doesn’t know why he is there and he doesn’t understand how she is always dead or near-dead and yet manages to come alive.
We learn that the Makina is a living corpse (a shikabane hime) and Keisei is a contracted priest bound to her. Both are working for an anti-corpse group known as the Kougun sect. Makina must kill 108 corpses for her to go into heaven, otherwise, if she is not bound to a priest, she would become a monster. A Shikabane. Keisei’s role is that each time Makina is hurt, when near hear, she can feed off his life force and easily heal her wounds. Her goal is to kill
But most of all, Makina wants revenge on a violent corpse group known as the Seven Stars. The people responsible for killing her family and killing her.
As both Keisei and Makina fight and destroy the many corpse they encounter, Ouri ends up being at these locations where they are fighting because a mysterious cat is feeding him information of their whereabouts. For Ouri, he is more of a hindrance because he does not want Keisei getting himself killed over a girl and he doesn’t like how Makina putting herself in danger.
And right now is not the right time for Ouri to get involved because the Seven Stars are back and are wanting to kill even more humans.
In “Corpse Princess: Kuro” (season two), Ouri now trains to become Makina’s contracted monk, problem is, Makina has no interest in accepting Ouri. As for the Seven Stars, they have their eyes set on Makina as they feel, she has a special ability that they want to exploit.
Meanwhile, Ouri learns more about the bond between a contracted monk and his shikabane hime but most importantly, why a human monk should never ever fall for his shikabane hime.
But most importantly, the life of Ouri and his true mysterious background is revealed.
“Corpse Princess” features the following characters:
- Ouri Kagami – A high school boy who was raised at his Keisei Tagami’s Temple. He has no relations to Kesei Tagami but because he was raised with orphans thanks to Keisei, he seems him not only as a brother but like a father. Meanwhile, Keisei has been able to see a dead cat who speaks to him and gives him information to where corpses are located. Ouri has now replaced Keisei as Makina’s contracted monk.
- Keisei Tagami – A Buddhist priest working for the anti-corpse organization known as the Kougon Sect. Keisei was an orphan when he grew up and he was raised by Makina Hoshimura’s father. When the family was murdered, he has committed himself to becoming Makina’s contracted priest and making sure she can meet her goal of going to heaven but also helping her avenge her family.
- Makina Hoshimura – A shikabane hime who is a contracted “living corpse”. Her goal is to kill 108 corpses so she can gain entrance to heaven. She is bound to Keisei (her contracted priest) and because of Keisei’s relation to her family, she is committed in getting revenge on the Seven Stars, seven corpses who killed her and her family. She cares deeply about Keisei but since his death, she is not willing to accept Ouri as her new contracted monk.
- Rika Aragami – A female contracted monk and one of the ten great holy families. She is the contracted monk of Saki Amase.
- Saki Amase – A shikabane hime who is a 10-year-old who wields a huge hammer. She is also quite stubborn.
- Takamasa Sogi – A contracted monk of Itsuki Yamagami. He cares deeply for Itsuki to the point of loving her despite knowing that she is no longer human.
- Itsuki Yagami – Takamasa’s shikabane hime. Unlike others, she and Takamasa have a deep connection and knows that she is not human and can’t bare for Takamasa to see her true self.
- Shuji Isaki – The contracted monk of Minai Ruo. Very arrogant and doesn’t care about anyone.
- Minai Ruo – Isaki’s shikabane hime. When her bond with her contracted monk broke, Ouri got to see what happens when to a shikabane hime without her contracted monk.
- Sougen Takamine – The contracted monk of Kamika Tomoroki and former mentor of Keisei Tagami.
- Kamika Tomoroki – Takamine’s shikabane hime. Always serious about her job and the strongest shikabane hime with incredible will-power.
- Kanechika Umehara – The contracted monk of Flesh Backbone and also a pervert.
- Flesh Backbone – A foreigner/otaku who was on her way to Akihabara before she was killed and is now Kanechika Umehara’s shikabane hime. A true otaku.
“Corpse Princess: Kuro – Part Two” features episodes 14-26 on two DVDs. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:
- EPISODE 14 – Path of Light – Ouri undergoes priest training, meanwhile a priest wants Makina dead.
- EPISODE 15 – My Enemy – The Seven Stars make their attack at the HQ of the monks in order to get closer to Makina, while the other contracted monks and their shikabane hime fight against them to prevent them from killing her.
- EPISODE 16 – Beloved Aberration – Makina does not want Ouri to be her contacted monk. Meanwhile, Takamasa wants to teach Ouri a lesson of why one should not get too close to their shikibane hime.
- EPISODE 17 – Itsuki’s Form – The history of Itsuki and Takamasa’s earlier days as part of the team and what happened to a good friend of Takamasa.
- EPISODE 18 – Nature and Regrets – Keisei may have turned to a shikabane and now Sadahiro is sent to destory it.
- EPISODE 19 – Monster Named Happiness – Ouri and Makina fight against Ena of the Seven Priests. Meanwhile, something happens to Kagusa.
- EPISODE 20 – Mundane Wish – Ouri finds out what had happened to Kagusa, meanwhile Makina fights against another member of the Seven Stars.
- EPISODE 21 – My Mother Was Defiled – The fate of Kasuga Nozomi. The kougonshuu reveal to Ouri of his background and what he truly is.
- EPISODE 22 – The Value of Living – Ouri learns the truth of his mother. Meanwhile, the Kougon Sect unleashes their deadly plan on the city.
- EPISODE 23 – To the Other Side of Hell – The plan of the Seven Stars and Traitor Monks is revealed.
- EPISODE 24 – One Hundred and Eight Lies – The truth of the shikabane hime’s power is revealed and also we learn the true fate of a shikabane hime who accomplishes her 108 kills.
- EPISODE 25 – Beyond the Dead – The battle between Makina and Hokuto and the future of the contracted monks and their shikabane hime.
- EPISODE 26 – Even So, As a Person – NOTE: The following special episode was not aired on TV but only featured on the Japanese and US DVD release. This special episode focuses on how Minai Ruo became a shikabane hime and how Shuji Isaki became her contracted monk.
“Corpse Princess: Kuro” is presented in widescreen format. Animation is well done and a good amount of detail put into the action sequences, especially with Makina and Keisei’s scenes. Artistic backgrounds are well done and for the most part, GAINAX has done a great job with the overall look of the anime series. Blacks are nice and deep, there are good lighting effects and for the most part, I wouldn’t be surprised if this series receives the Blu-ray treatment. I have not seen Yoshiichi Akahito’s original work but I’ve read that Chikashi Kubota and Kikuko Sadakata were faithful in recreating these character designs for the anime series.
I found “Corpse Princess: Kuro” to have more animation and the fact that there are so many characters now involved in this second season, a lot of focus was put into the actual fighting scenes and the animation of the characters and monsters.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Corpse Princess” is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Japanese 2.0. The anime series does feature a lot of action and the audio is more front and surround channel driven in the English dubbed soundtrack. There was a good use of LFE during the more explosive scenes. But overall, dialogue and music comes clear through the front channels. My preference for this anime series was the Japanese soundtrack, as the voice acting was well done. The English dub is fine but I felt that Aaron Dismuke voice acting makes Ouri seem a bit too whiny while the more emotional parts that require crying, are not as well done. Veterans J. Michael Tatum (Keisei), especially Luci Christian did a good job as Makina. But overall, both audio tracks are very good.
Subtitles are in English.
“Corpse Princess: Kuro – Part Two” comes with the following special features:
- Episode 24 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director J. Michael Tatum (Keisei), Brina Palencia (Hokuto) and Josh Grelle (Akasha).
- Textless Opening Song
- Textless Closing Song #1
- Textless Closing Song #2
- Trailers – Trailers for upcoming or previous released titles from FUNimation Entertainment.
The concept of “Corpse Princess” is quite intriguing and I felt that the first half of the series did a great job in establishing the main three characters, establishing the importance of the bond between the contracted priest and the shikabane hime. But also, establishing the story of why Keisei and Makina were so close and who the Seven Stars are and why they must be eliminated. This time around for “Corpse Princess: Kuro”, we get more characters, character building storylines and if there was something that you see more of in the second half is possibly the attention of more endowed characters.
I felt with “Corpse Princess: Aka”, there was more focus on Keisei, Ouri and Makina and watching her take down monsters. But with the other contracted monks and shikabane hime having a more active role, personally it made the series much more exciting. Although, I’m sure it may have been nerve-wracking if you watched this series in Japan, because missing one episode literally can throw the continuity way off for the series and it’s one of those series that you need to watch every episode to know the context of the story and more about these supporting characters.
And also, I liked how there was less Ouri. The first season focused too much on him and he came off as a character that whines too much. Fortunately, by “Corpse Princess: Kuro”, he is more tolerable. he is taking action and responsibility and started to see his character in a better light. It also helps that he is often paired with other supporting characters as well.
I felt that GAINAX has done a wonderful job in animating this series, artistic backgrounds are well-done and for the most part, the series was enjoyable, action-packed and even a bit dark and violent at times (Note: This is definitely not a series to have the younger children watch).
The overall DVD was very good and I really enjoyed the first half of the series and look forward to watching the second. I can only hope that FUNimation Entertainment considers “Corpse Princess” for a Blu-ray release in the near future. It’s important to note that both parts: “Corpse Princess: Aka” and “Corpse Princess: Kuro” are being released simultaneously, so no long waiting time in order for one to get into the complete series.
I actually enjoyed “Corpse Princess” from beginning to end. The anime series ended in a good note and hopefully someday soon, GAINAX will continue to explore the series and what takes place after the events of “Corpse Princess: Kuro”. I felt the DVD’s inclusion of the 26th stand-alone episode was nice but it’s important for people to know that the final episode on this volume is more of a bonus and is not expected to be the final episode. Think of it as a side-project OVA featuring the characters of contracted monk Shuji Isaki and shikabane hime Minai Ruo.
But overall, another entertaining anime series and if you are looking for an action-packed, well-animated, well-written series, definitely give both seasons of “Corpse Princess” a chance! An anime series that is definitely recommended!
NOTE: We are reviewing the discs only and can not comment on the actual packaging of the release and if there are any extra additional content that comes packaged with the release.
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