Funimation // 2009 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roman Martel (Retired) // October 15th, 2010
You know what they say about a monk and his corpse princess, right?
After a solid conclusion to Part One, I was curious to see where the Corpse Princess story was headed. The set up was simple, Ouri found himself directly connected to the purple haired, uzi slinging demon slayer Makina Hoshimura. Of course to do this, he must train to be a contracted monk. At the same time Makina must be purified so that her bond with Ouri can be cemented.
But the forces of evil are still around. The deadly Traitor Monk and the undead monsters known as The Seven Stars are preparing their ultimate plan to wipe out the shikabane hime and the monks. This will make the world safe for the undead and justify the Traitor Monk's behavior, at least in his twisted mind.
So we get a slow build up to the finale. Ouri trains, meets other monks and shikabane hime. Along the way one of The Seven Stars will show up and do some horrible thing. Ouri and Makina will battle with them. These battles tend to span episodes giving plenty of time for characters to make speeches and try to brutally kill each other.
However, a couple things just don't quite click in this portion of the series. First off, the contracted monk Keisei was a good source of humor in the first half. His natural interaction with Ouri and Makina added a dimension to the show that is missing in this half. Instead the we get a new goofy monk and lots and lots more fan service. The first season gave us plenty, but things go over the top here, with a character named Flesh. Yeah you read that right. She's busting out all over, wears cat ears and always manages to pose in a way that almost exposes some portion of her anatomy. She feels like she's from a completely different show. This kind of thing happens in anime but that doesn't make scenes with Flesh seem anything more than pandering.
Flesh may have been brought in because the story this time around just doesn't really work. Basically Ouri has to learn about his past, bond with Makina and resolve the traitor monk storyline. All these things happen, but it gets stretched out over 13 episodes, with talky scenes that end up repeating facts we already know. Some of this may be helpful when you watch one episode a week. But watching it in concentrated doses, you find yourself waiting for the exposition to end and get back to the story. This makes Part Two move much slower than it should, especially as it nears the climax.
In a final odd twist, the last episode is a bizarre one shot story. It deals with two supporting characters who met their fate around six episodes into the first series. It was interesting and put a new dynamic on those two, but why was it the last episode? Instead the penultimate episode ends with a bit of a cliff hanger. Makina is in the middle of a violent battle with her nemesis when...end credits. We don't know how the fight is resolved or anything. I'm guess its seeding for a sequel. But I was perplexed. Three minutes earlier, Makina and Ouri discuss their future. This would have been a perfect ending for this second series, but I guess they figured this is an action show and we need to end in blood. It just made the whole thing feel anticlimactic.
But you know, I was still entertained by most of the show. The action is good and the characters are interesting and fun. When the story was moving forward I was hooked. After the first series it was interesting to see where the characters ended up and how the traitor monk played into it all. I just wish a little more care had gone into the execution.
The English dub remains solid with lots of good performances by the cast. In this one Josh Grelle, who voices the Traitor Monk, really gets to shine, especially as more and more of his backstory is revealed. The English 5.1 is still solid with some good bass when the shikabane start rampaging. The Japanese stereo mix works just as well if you prefer your anime in the native tongue. Subtitles continue to work fine.
The extras are a mirror of the previous set, with textless opening and ending credits and trailers. There is a commentary track on episode 24 featuring J. Michael Tatum, the English voice director for the episode. Joining him are Brina Palencia, who played the deadliest of the Seven Stars, and Traitor Monk, Josh Grelle. It's just as light hearted as the first combining joking and some behind the scenes info. This time you learn a bit about method acting when you are playing a demon or an evil monk.
Not a great conclusion, but still entertaining. Not Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentary
* Textless Opening/Close