September 11th 2012 23:16
Based on the original Shikabane Hime manga by Yoshiichi Akahito
Director: Masahiko Murata
Script by: Sho Aikawa
Producers: Hiroyuki Yamaga, Tomoko Kawasaki, Noriyuki Kurashige & Keiichi Kashiwada
Starring: Luci Christian (Makina Hoshimura), J Michael Tatum (Kesei Tagami), Aaron Dismuke (Ouri Kagami), Kent Williams (Sougen Takamine), Eric Vale (Sadahiro Mibu), Joel McDonald (Takamasu Sogi), Cynthia Cranz (Rika Aragami), Mike McFarland (Shuji Isaki), Christopher Bevins (Kanechika Umehara), Monica Rial (Saki Amane), Cherami Leigh (Itsuki Yamagami), Anastasia Munoz (Akira Tooka), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Minai Ruo), Terri Doty (Kamika Todoroki), Alexis Tipton (Flesh Backbone), Christopher Sabat (Hazama), Brina Palencia (Hokuto), Jamie Marchi (Toya), Todd Haberkorn (Ena), Stephanie Young (Riko), Clarine Harp (Mizuki Inuhiko), Tia Ballard (Nozomi Kasuga), Micah Solusod (Hiroshige Ushijima), Greg Ayers (Black Cat) & Josh Grelle (Akasha Shishidou)
English Language Version by: FUNimation Productions
Released by: Madman Entertainment
Running Time: 650 minutes Rating: MA15
What do you get when you combine Japanese high school girls, undead monsters, a truly fantastic over the top opening them and loads of carnage that could put even Kenpachi Zaraki to shame…the answer to this is Corpse Princess or Shikabane Hime as it is also known. Based on the manga of the same name this series consists of twenty six episodes, although the last episode is more of a side story than an actual vital part of the ongoing overarching storyline. It tells the story behind two of the main storylines supporting characters and how they became involved in things. This is seems to be something of a fad…a similar situation is found with the Darker than Black Collection where the out of the 26 episodes only 25 constitute the main story whilst the last episode is a single one shot story. So far I’ve only noticed this as a thing with FUNimation released discs…could it be a trend one wonders? Who knows, time as they say will tell…
The entire story revolves around two types of undead; the shikabane who are those who have died and come back to life consumed by regrets and in turn become monsters and the shikabane hime, the corpse princesses who are bound by a contract to a single monk known appropriately as contracted monk. Now one of the elements of the shikabane hime’s contract is that if she manages to kill 108 shikabane she will go to heaven, a nice little sweetener to the deal you’d think…though perhaps a stance of caveat emptor should apply…after all is something is too good to be believed it usually isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Makina is the shikabane hime initially of Keisei Tagami, a contracted monk of the Kogon Sect, the body of monks who originally created the shikabane hime to fight the shikabane. Reaching heaven though isn’t really the goal of this particularly aloof, distant and decidedly angry shikabane hime…no she has another more visceral driving motive…revenge.
In fact revenge is in essence the driving motivation behind this series, Makina seeks revenge for her death and the death of her family, the renegade monk Akasha Shishidou seeks revenge against the Kogon Sect and his erstwhile allies the Seven Stars also seek revenge against this body of worshippers and monks. And strangely it is the Kogon Sect that are the focus, they are the very hub around which all this vengeance revolves and in their own way the actual source of it all, it was the sect’s founder who created the shikabane hime as a means to fight shikabane and she in turn served as the catalyst for all others who followed after her. But as with all such things there was a price…a somewhat disturbing and steep price…
Sadly though in spite of having a great story, loads of action, touching moments of sadness and humour the ending when it does occur is somewhat lacking…in fact I found it to be something of a letdown. In some ways the show is very much like a balloon; it expands and grows with each episode making the audience ponder just what is going to be the final climax and when it does occur its like someone just let the air out thus causing the balloon to deflate rather than exploding with a bang. Which is a disappointment as the series is as I mentioned well made with a good story…sad that the story doesn’t end well, or rather it doesn’t seem to actually end per se in my humble opinion.
When the dust finally settled I admit that Corpse Princess was an entertaining experience…but with that finale that doesn’t seem to go anywhere it’s a flawed work. Or perhaps the whole ending is meant to promote some kind of internal illumination…that life is a constant struggle filled with moments of joy and suffering…one that we must endure if we hope to achieve anything. An interesting talking point certainly, but it’s not what you would call a resolution of any kind. Still despite that if you like mega carnage action with loads of fan service and plenty of horror then Corpse Princess is right up your alley…
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