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
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:51 PM)
    Hype kills anything. In regards to the kind of emotional manipulation Clannad and maybe Undertale uses, it’s like a drug. The more you are subjected to it, the less of an effect it has.
    Still there are examples of something which comes close to expectation. People say Muv Luv Alternative gives you PTSD and in a kinda does. Though it’s helped by the connection you build with the characters though the first two games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:47 PM)
    @Kaiser,I haven’t updated the old entries of my MAL in quite a while. Pretty sure Code Geass is sitting at a 10 on it and I am sure if I give that a rewatch that rating is going to fall harshly.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:59 AM)
    I say this because people often like to hype up the genre or those elements. I bring this up/think about it now because I played a game called undertale lately on my brothers recommendation and he was all like it emotionally destroyed him but I never ended up crying, I mean don’t get me wrong its a good game, there were laughs to be had and there was sentiment but it wasn’t THAT sad/funny.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:44 AM)
    Given how many people cry at some drama, clannad included.
    That reminds me…
    I can’t actually remember the last time in my life where I cried, I draw a blank.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.

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