Hmmmm…..another mecha show to review, huh? And funny thing is, the review following this one is a mecha show, too…..albeit the next one is more of a higher pedigree than this one but that’s for later.
Anyway….what the hell is a Kuromukuro?
I know that ‘Kuro’ is Japanese for ‘black’ and ‘Mukuro’ means corpse….also the name of an asshole character from Samurai Champloo that tried to trick Mugen into death….OK, I think I might get the gist of that title.
So…….what is it about?
450 years prior to the present, an extraterrestrial force called Efy Dolgh invades Earth; the people of Sengoku era Japan dub their mecha and robotic drones as oni. The Washiba Clan falls victim to them, but clan heir Yukihime and her samurai retainer Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma fight back with a stolen Efy Dolgh mecha, which they dub the “Black Relic” (黒骸 Kuromukuro – yep, I get it now). They succeed in vanquishing their foes, but when the Black Relic is caught in an enemy explosion, Yukihime disappears. 60 years ago, the Black Relic is unearthed during the construction of the Kurobe Dam. In the present day, the United Nations is researching it when the Efy Dolgh return. Yukina Shirahane, daughter of the UN facility director, accidentally triggers a cube component of Kuromukuro, releasing Kennosuke from cryostasis. Aided by Yukina’s family and the UN in adjusting to life in the 21st century, he stands against Efy Dolgh’s invasion of Earth just as he did in his home era. As the Black Relic is the most effective weapon the UN has against Efy Dolgh technology, Kennosuke becomes one of their most valuable assets. Due to an accident, Yukina is biometrically synchronized with the Black Relic, and as it requires two pilots, Yukina thus becomes Ouma’s combat partner.
So this seems like a mix of the standard mecha fare with a warrior from the past trying to function in the present with a battle going on that could spell danger for the Earth. Yeah, not the most original idea here but who cares? Of course, the idea is going to be similar to past mecha shows like this and all what matters here is that the execution is serviceable or good enough and…..well, it didn’t suck.
Although like LaGrange, the show is part sci-fi, part slice of life in some areas only the former has more presence throughout the run while the latter represents as a breather or chill time from the sci-fi elements. However, some plot lines do get exasperating the longer it goes, such as the whole “Is the Princess alive or dead or a traitor’ ordeal but we’ll get to that right about…..now.
Characters in the show ranges from being decent characters that the audience could grasp to care about to some minor annoyances that hurt it a bit but not a lot. Kennosuke Tokisada Oma is the fish out of water character that has to get accustomed to present life and I understand what the character is going through with new surroundings and the fact he’s been dormant for 450 years….and also the girl he met (Yukina Shirahane) as he’s awaken is close to the princess he thought was dead. Oh, and Yukina was good as a character, too, although the whole ‘my father is dead, my mother’s a workaholic’ thing does get old along with the “Princess Yuki” shit but I do see the worth of her character and she does OK as an heroine….maybe not top tier but plays it well. Her friends on the other hand…….OK, Mika and the counselor Marina I like the most mainly because of their upbeat attitudes and friendly demeanors but her other friends mainly the 3 guys that pal around gets on my nerves.
Ryoto Akagi being the top one because this fool acts like he’s the main character in this since he’s a delinquent and rebellious and he has the characteristics on that but one that would get annoying quick since he obviously has a crush on Yukina. José Carlos Takasuka is the one I find the most pitiful because he does get shit on for his stupid-ass ideas and I think he might have a thing for Mika….and considering she cosplays a lot, I know he’s doing a lot of…tenderizing nowadays. Actually, I don’t have any hate towards that guy….I just feel sorry for him. Oh and there’s Jundai Kayahara, who likes to film every damn thing, especially the attacks happening around him and like a dumbass would, he put himself in danger and not giving a fuck about his safety. Hell, one guy got cut because of his ass.
Oh, and for the pilots, Sophie Noel is the French Foreign Exchange student who is this prodigy of studying robots and she is a Samurai otaku and the girl can handle her shit out there along with her butler Sebastian (real name is Toshiyuki Mozumi).
There’s Tom Borden and he’s the American pilot and yeah….he’s that bold and brash tough guy on the show as most people would expect…..his personality is as thin as a thong. And for Liu Shinmei…..I forgot who she was but then again, the show describes her as a reserved person and speaks little, she doesn’t have much of a presence here. Hell, the operators Rita and Beth have more presence than she does.
The animation is done by P.A. Works and this is the studio’s 15th anniversary project and for some time, I have said that P.A. Works does better in producing diverse content than most studios compared to them have done. Although the animation style and art style isn’t all that unique from their last couple of projects…aside from Ken’s design and the mecha designs, some of the character look like they were from other P.A. Works shows like one could be from A Lull in the Sea or Shirobako from the eyes to the body types.
Musically, the show’s score does fall into the ‘meh’ territory as it has the emblematic battle-action music score and the slow-down piano/violin music cues and the score is fine for what it is. The 1st opening and ending songs (“Distopia” (デストピア) by GLAY & “Reali Stic” (リアリ・スティック) by MICHI) are OK once you get the hang of them, I might even liked the ending theme more but once the switch to the 2nd opening and ending theme happen (“Chō Onsoku Destiny” (超音速デスティニー; Supersonic Destiny) by GLAY / “Eien Loop” (永遠ループ; Eternal Loop) by Ami Wajima), it made me wish the other ones were back. I just don’t think the latter two were all that good.
And now once again, we have the English dub, which I thought the show wasn’t going to have…or maybe it did but it was vague as all hell considering they had the dub up on Netflix but the 2nd half one time, then they have the full dub up and then they got rid of it. Netflix, make up your mind!!!
Them or PONY CANYON since they own the license to this…..anyway, the dub have some familiar voices here like Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh as the leads….
Yeah, you heard me. Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh as the leads…..and honestly, they were good and Bryce’s voice was a change of pace considering we known him for being the typical, shonen voice but here, it’s more gruff in its delivery and it was weird at first but while in there, he did a decent job. The rest of the cast did fit in their delivery although I can’t tell who voiced Sophie….It could be an alias of somebody but I don’t want to out them or anything like that.
FINAL VERDICT: Kuromukuro was an OK show. The show does follow some mecha tropes to a tee but the execution of it was serviceable (moreso the first half than the second half) along with some OK characters especially if you’re looking for a show to binge-watch, then you can’t go any wrong than this. Yeah, this one is worth a shot.
So, is Kuromukuro worth it or it is as a corpse as its name?
KUROMUKURO is licensed by PONY CANYON USA but as of now, no news on any Blu-ray release. It is available on streaming on NETFLIX (sub-only…and then the dub…..once NETFLIX FIX THEIR SHIT!)
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing people from the past to that one girl that looks like a princess that died.
KUROMUKURO – animated by P.A. WORKS / licensed by PONY CANYON USA