Title: Shikabane Hime
Genre: Action, Supernatural
Summary: After being brutally murdered along with her family, Makina Hoshimura turns into a Shikabane Hime, a living corpse contracted to the Kougon Cult, in order to exert revenge on the mysterious undead organization responsible for her death. She is assisted in this task by Keisei Tagami, her contracted priest and former friend. This series follows the story of Keisei’s younger brother Ouri, a boy with an unusual attraction to death, who slowly discovers his brother’s secret and gets dragged into the world of the Shikabanes.
Review: I want people to know that the original airing of Shikabane Hime was split into two parts, Shikabane Hime: Aka and Shikabane Hime: Kuro. Why they didn’t just make the one season 25 episodes long is beyond me. Shikabane Hime: Kuro is a direct continuation of the first season, and really doesn’t deserve its own title. Long story short I felt I should combine the two together for everyone’s sake despite the differences I saw. Let’s start with what hooked me to this anime: the action. More specifically the artistic battle scenes. I loved how they made a very sketchy penciling (basically like a comic book) into an animated beauty. Guns blazing, hair waving, ass-kicking all brought into a single fast pace moment. The out-of-battle scenes weren’t bad either. The backgrounds, characters, shading, and lighting mixed well together. More importantly, they kept the anime in a very dark setting which complimented the whole death thing. Going back to the action scenes, the sound was another great part of Shikabane Hime. The epic background music while fighting Corpses, as well as the opening and ending theme blew my mind. It really got you in the killing mood (don’t worry I’m not going to jail… I hope). I couldn’t get enough of the sounds of clips reloading and bullets bursting out of Makina’s dual Uzis. Even the character models weren’t half bad. They did get me attached to a couple of the Corpse Princesses and Contract Priests. Though some I didn’t care much for, I never expect to like every character. About now you are probably thinking, “You have said nothing but good things about this anime, what’s with the rating?”. The area where the anime faulted is what I lean heavily on: story. Here is where the two seasons differ. Shikabane Hime: Aka, season one, got me really into this anime. I actually really liked watching it and couldn’t wait for more. The forced comedy needed a little adjusting, but other than that I liked where they were taking things. The anime wasn’t all action and quite a bit of drama mixed up the story for the better. It really made me range my emotions from, “That was sick!” to “No!! Why!?”. Again, this is for the first season. Moving onto the second season, things just went down hill. Putting aside a few plot holes, the characters seemed to get worse. Which shouldn’t happen when you spent thirteen episodes growing to like them. Also, if you have done even a little research on Shikabane Hime you have probably heard of the horrid ending. There is a big difference between cliff hangers and cut-offs. I can see them going for some artistic style, but it was a complete flop in my opinion. Even the long awaited DVD-special bonus episode was a let down. It wasn’t a continuation of Shikabane Hime: Kuro, but rather a prequel to Shikabane Hime: Aka. That’s right folks, they went backwards, very, very far back.
Final statements: I can say all the good things about this anime came from Shikabane Hime: Aka. I wouldn’t mind too much if Shikabane Hime: Kuro wasn’t a direct continuation. If the first season could be a stand alone I would probably suggest only watching that. However, due to the single storyline I have to say this is a low priority watch. For someone who doesn’t care about story, you may like this for the action, I did.