Posted by psgels on 24 December 2008 with categories: Kurozuka



Short Synopsis: The plot of this episode is obviously going to be one big spoiler, but even then it can’t be summarized in just one sentence…
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10 (Good)
Aha! So the creators decided to go for a big WTF-ending. And WTF it is! Since I kept associating this series with Ultraviolet because of their similarities, i expected a similar ending, one where all the threads that were left hanging were wrapped up inside a nice conclusion. Well, even though Ultraviolet’s conclusion was pretty straightforward, this one MOST CERTAINLY ISN’T.

I’m still not exactly sure what the heck went on there. Kuro first slaughters the kabuki players (of which I have no idea what they were even doing there), suddenly blood comes raining down from out of nowhere with buckets at a time and then he finally arrives at the room where Kuromitsu is. The one who’s talking to her: Benkei. That bugger seemed to have received immortality was well (or at least a body that ages very slowly, as becomes apparent later in the episode).

As it turns out, he was no traitor, but instead he couldn’t bear to see his friend that’s fallen in love with such a person as Kuromitsu, which is why he betrayed him. I’m not sure whether he was actually in love with Kuromitsu, or didn’t see her fit as someone who Kuro should love… it’s there were he obtained a body that wouldn’t die, though over the years, his body did age a bit, as he’s turned into an old man. As it turns out: Kuro has become immortal, but Benkei chopped off his head. Apparently, he spent ages without any body whatsoever, and that’s why Kuromitsu created Kuon to serve as a body for Kuro. That plan failed, however, and in the end she had to settle with a random soldier from the bad guys.

Okay, so far so good, but why did Kuromitsu still go after the guy’s head once he got a new body? I’m still not sure at this point, and the rest of the episode didn’t make things any clearer: Kuro and Benkei fight, Kuro wins. Kuromitsu then finally manages to chop off Kuro’s head. Time then reverts, we see a bunch of flashbacks and we suddenly see Kuro and Benkei again as if they were in the first episode, only with the rest of their surroundings destroyed. Eh, what?!

To be honest, I’m not sure whether this was the bets ending the creators could have gone for. Sure, the confusion is fun and all, but it’s leaving a strange taste in my mouth. The threads, such as where did the bad guys come from, why did they last 1000 years, and why did they work together with Kuromitsu in the end are unsolved. What was the purpose of the kabuki players, why are they so keen on killing every single being? What’s up with their blood obsession? What was Benkei doing at Kuromitsu’s, after 1000 years? I really need to watch this episode with subs, but even with that there are just too many threads left hanging for this series.

Overall, it was a fun series, and it’s got an excellent sense of horror, but when I have to compare this to Ultraviolet which aired this summer, then I’d prefer the latter. That mostly is due to the rather lacking characterization, that’s plagued through this series, safe for two or three episodes. Ultraviolet on the other hand did have a strong cast that was fun to watch.

11 Responses

  1. Bane says:

    I gave up on this show after two episodes, but from your description it sounds like they decided to screw it up with an anime-original ending. Suffice to say, this is not how it went down in the manga. Although the manga ending left quite a few threads hanging, too.

  2. Lisa says:

    i’m just confused….i watched it without sub and have no idea what’s really going on, but to me it seems like Kuro is living everything over and over again for eternal. that is why he can’t die and he have all these scenes that happen before. that’s how i see it. it’s creepy when i saw Kuromistu with Kuro’s head. scary. well, i’m just waiting for the sub. i really have no idea what’s really going on.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Lisa: Yeah, I’d say the same if it wasn’t for that last scene, where they were in the forest surrounded by buildings in ruins. It may be visual imagery, but I’m still not sure what the point of that was.

  4. aegd says:

    I’m a bit confused to, but I can clear up some things at least. Classical Japanese/keigo is such a bitch.

    “As it turns out, he was no traitor, but instead he couldn’t bear to see his friend that’s fallen in love with such a person as Kuromitsu, which is why he betrayed him. I’m not sure whether he was actually in love with Kuromitsu, or didn’t see her fit as someone who Kuro should love… it’s there were he obtained a body that wouldn’t die, though over the years, his body did age a bit, as he’s turned into an old man.”

    This is a bit wrong. Benkei actually fell in love with Kuromitsu, and he became so infatuated with her that he wished his own master dead. The first time Kuro was beheaded Benkei drank the blood from the beheaded Kuro, and gained a much longer lifespan even if he didn’t become truly immortal.

    I also think he said that when he chopped of Kuro’s head the first time, he was under the influence of a curse/spell, but it was made possible because of the conflicting feelings he had towards his master and kuromitsu.

  5. headachebaby says:

    This anime is a disappointment! The first episode was awesome, and then the rest was WEIRD, WEIRD, WEIRD. I wished there was more character development. Oh, it is so annoying for Kuro. To live eternally for the sake of Kuromitsu’s little game of chopping off his head, then having to look for her in a cat and mouse chase. This game somehow perserves her immortality. And the group with the three symbols–were they working for Kuromistu so that Kuro have the belief that it was difficult to look for her? What an annoying anime even when I watched it with English subtitles. I wished they kept it with the same setting period as in episode 1. I would not watch this anime a second time.

  6. Banbooru says:

    “Apparently, he spent ages without any body whatsoever…”

    No, The thing is, Kuro’s body ages normally. The time when Benkei cut off Kuro’s head, the process of his transformation wasn’t fully done. So Kuromitsu has to get a new one about every 20 years. When she chopes off Kuro’s head and attaches it to the new body, Kuro loses all his previous memory (except for the time being bodyless, then he can remember everything).

    “As it turns out, he was no traitor, but instead he couldn’t bear to see his friend that’s fallen in love with such a person as Kuromitsu, which is why he betrayed him.”

    He clearly said he’s totally in love with Kuromitsu.

    One conclusion could be:
    Kuromitsu loves Kuro. She expresses it in a weird way though. She sets up a “game” and let Kuro find her. Therefore, she can pass time (eternity can be pretty boring, hu?) and it somehow follows her ideal of “eternal love”.
    As we see the “alternate version” in the ending and the “foreshadow” of the Kuro of the past, we get a broad hint that this is an actual cycle and history repeats itself.
    But, there’s room for a lots of interpretations though. Just my 2 cents.

  7. panaghoy88 says:

    This is an anime that traps and deceives you. No clarity and very ambiguous. I know ambiguity is rooted in Japanese culture but there are times that I just hate that. This show just told me a bunch of philosophy about history repeats itself, men are fools when it comes to love, greed plagues humanity, etc… If I had known earlier that they were going for that style, I would have went to a lecture in philosophy and spared time. The thing is I watch anime for entertainment, a sort of escapism in real life.

  8. Sal says:

    panaghoy88, I completely agree with you on every single point you made.. I’m saddened that this anime turned out like this… Quite the waste of my time.

  9. Roy Mustang says:

    Another stupid show with pointless violence. This left a really bad taste in my mouth. We need more shows with pointless cuteness like Index.

  10. krog says:

    The ending was confusing however searching around reading every1s opinion u begin to truly realize how clever the story was told.

    Let me preface this by saying this is what I got out of it and not definitive. This is from a combination of the series and reading the manga.

    [I'm also a bit confused as to what actually happened towards the end where Kuro shows up in the city before it's destroyed, running from the red army. Was that just a random flashback to show how the city got fucked up in the first place?]

    I don’t think it was a flashback, but rather a flash forward. When you see Kurou wake up, he looks upon the city that is completely rebuilt. Add to that the fact that in the following clips we get a quick glimpse of the Red Emperor (Benkei) ordering them to find and kill Kuromitsu. Now he lifts his hand up briefly and you can see just how much it has shriveled – showing that he’s aged even more after the time we see him meeting with Kuromitsu. Afterall, he gained immortality and Kurou didn’t cut his head off after their duel. I think this point is just to show that the cycle of Kurou and Kuromitsu meeting and running from their pursuers is endless.

    [Also what was the point of Kuon's body? Was it really just a replacement for Kuro's body? If so why? Is his head the only thing that doesn't age?]

    Kuon was created specifically for Kurou – as he needs to replace his body every 100 years or so. The reason Kurou has to change bodies every 100 years is because when he drank Kuromitsu’s blood, Benkei chopped his head off before the blood could finish mixing. Kuon is actually a ‘complete’ immortal like Kuromitsu. She created him in hopes that giving Kurou an immortal body would eliminate the need for him to switch bodies. It’s not that his body doesn’t age, it’s just that it can’t take the constant damage and regeneration. After awhile it begins to weaken until he can’t move anymore.

    [I can see from the very end that they did not actually "go back in time" since there was buildings destroyed all around the forest that Kuro and Benkei where in. I can only guess that this is a never ending cycle that Kuro and Kuromitsu created into order to survive and keep their relationship fresh.]

    Not so much to keep their relationship fresh as it is a necessity of Kurou switching bodies. As she is being pursued, Kuromitsu can’t exactly wait around for Kurou to finish joining to his new body and she has faith in him that he’ll find her.

    [Also the evil old guy was still not explained other then he wanted Kuromitsu dead...]

    The ‘evil old guy’ is Benkei. He was jealous of Kurou for his relationship with Kuromitsu. He betrayed Kurou to the group that was chasing them at the time and found out that Kuromitsu is immortal. He spends the next 1000 years chasing her so that he could tell her his feelings. A little bit crazy and obsessive? Yeah, but look what she did to Koun. This is a woman who has a great power over men.

    Overall, the ‘ending’ is left up for the viewer to decide. Was it a dream? Possibly, but the destroyed landscape around the jungle suggests not.

  11. ayami123 says:

    so does that mean that all the things they did are all useless because they repeat it again and again
    fuck i hate it i wanna kill the creator poor kuro he needs to change have something that could kill himself. its so hard to find your love one every 20 OR 100!!!!!!! years!!!!! FUCK!!!!

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.

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