Judge Roman Martel learned long ago—if you meet a gun slinging school girl in a dark alley, back away nice and slow.
Our review of Corpse Princess: Part Two, published October 15th, 2010, is also available.
Ah, sweet anime, the only place you can see a purple haired school girl blow away an undead menace with uzis.
I've been out of the anime loop for a number of years and its nice to see that some things haven't changed: rampaging monsters can only be destroyed by schoolgirls in short skirts. Sailor Moon's legacy lives on.
Of course each anime has to have its own spin on things and Corpse Princess is no different. In this series, when a person dies obsessing about a regret they may come back to life as a undead monster called a shikabane. These creatures have supernatural powers and can not be killed by ordinary means. It takes a deadly shikabane hime, or corpse princess, to do the job. These gals are also undead and have powers of their own. The shikabane hime targets the monsters brain using the most destructive weapons she can find. Our lead Makina Hoshimura uses a pair of uzis and her short skirt. Allied with them are contracted monks. These gents have their own powers including healing the shikabane hime if their dead bodies get too thrashed. The monks are bonded to the hime, so if the contracted monk is killed the hime herself dies or, worse, turns into an undead monster.
What follows is tale of three characters. Ouri Kagami is our normal kid who gets sucked into the situation. When we meet him he's leaving the only home he's ever known, a boarding house for orphans run by a monk. This monk is Keisei Tagami. He has been looking out for Ouri since he was small and treats him like a little brother. Unknown to Ouri, Keisei is a contracted monk. He is bonded to the deadly Makina Hoshimura. She's a no nonsense type with a quick trigger finger and bad attitude.
The first four episodes had me a little worried. They follow the monster of the week formula as some shikabane appears, causing Makina and Keisei to spring into action. Somehow Ouri just happens to appear at the battle sites and gets pulled into the danger. Once the fifth episode kicks in, we get into the story proper about a traitorous monk who is creating his own shikabane and will stop at nothing to destroy all the shikabane hime and their monks. I'm actually leaving out a lot of little details here that flesh out the characters and the world. There are two orders of monks and their internal politics, a group of deadly shikabane called The Seven Stars who may are linked to Makina's past and the ghostly black cat that can only be seen and heard by Ouri.
The animation has plenty of fan service for admirers of female anime characters. In addition you get some well animated action scenes revolving around Makina, her uzis and acrobatics. The finale of this season has some above average animation for the battles and it works well. The series also goes for some solid mood setting, with darkness creeping into the blood soaked action. This is a gory anime. While it is inspired by horror, it is never really scary. It's more of your typical action adventure series, with corpses and ghosts instead of space pirates or samurai. The music is atmospheric and supports the series well. The opening and ending credits are catchy in that J-pop/rock kinda way.
While the story didn't have many twists that surprised me, I had a good time with it. The characters were fun, and there were some good lines. The action was fast paced, and there was a sprinkling of humor to keep things from getting too grim. While there is some brutal stuff in this show, it's not dwelled upon. This goes for visceral thrills and action, not horror and dread. I'm curious to see where the second half leads, as we get a traumatic death to end this section and a set up for a new beginning. Looks like this series could get really good. Just be warned that the finale happens in the 12th episode. The 13th is a recap episode.
I enjoyed the English dub. They actors did a good job with Makina (Luci Christian) really embodying the anger and toughness of the character. The English dub is also in 5.1 and with Makina's uzis getting some serious umph when she's blowing away monsters. The Japanese dub is in 2.0 stereo and lacks the punch of the English track, but its nice to have both. Subtitles were easy to read and clear.
You get our standard set of anime extras like textless openings and endings, trailers. But there is also a commentary track by the director of the english version Terri Doty, Aaron Dismuke who plays Ouri, and Luci Christian who plays Makina for the penultimate episode. It's a lighthearted commentary with all the participants joking around while providing some behind the scenes nuggets. They also suggest a drinking game you can enjoy while watching the episode.
An entertaining show and I'm looking forward to seeing more. Not Guilty.
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