Posted by psgels on 26 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shikabane Hime



The first season of Shikabane Hime was a very solid build-up, it had great horror, and may have had some pacing issue in the beginning, but it was one of the stories that gets better and better as it goes on. Shikabane Hime Kuro (the continuation), however promised to decline into the standard shounen clichés again, where the two lead characters form a romantic couple and battle a bunch of bad guys in a very overdone way. And in some ways, it did, but with so much style.

Shikabane Hime Kuro is an expert in managing expectations. From the beginning to the end, it sets different expectations for the viewer, only to deliver either something completely different, or exactly what it promised only five times better and more impressive. This leads to bizarre situations, like a couple of very crappy first episodes, followed by a string of awesomeness, followed by a Gainax-ending.

The biggest strength of this series is the cast of characters, though. Because it already had an entire season worth of build-up put into the lead characters, it now really has the chance to play with them and even then the development of the cast doesn’t stop. There’s hardly any episode wasted and both the side characters as the antagonists receive more than adequate attention to flesh out their characters well.

There are lots of nice themes that this series explores. While there are many elements that fall into the shounen clichés in this series, it also provides lots of new and fresh content, with an interesting storyline and plenty of effective mystery. Ouri and Makina are also far away from your typical shounen couple, for once, and a lot of attention in this series if focused on the two of them, trying understand each other, rather than simply one of them serving as a glorified damsel in distress.

But in the end, what it all comes down to is the following: Shikabane Hime is a terrific action-series, that knows exactly what it is. While the first few episodes of Kuro will disappoint, it quickly picks up with a string of gripping action scenes, with some of Gainax’ trademark animation (though used in moderation this time) and a rocking soundtrack, combined with a strong cast and imaginative plot twists that are going to keep you busy throughout the entire rest of the series.

I’m not exactly a fan of shounen series, but I love it when they’re done well, and that’s exactly what Shikabane Hime is. It’s found a very nice combination between style and substance here, and Gainax and Feel did a really good job at bringing the manga alive. It’s also interesting how for a manga adaptation, the creators managed to fit the stories perfectly into 25 episodes: there are hardly any signs of rushed scenes, major plotholes or pacing issues. Exactly what a good manga-adaptation should be.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

5 Responses

  1. Damia says:

    I enjoyed the series–though I found the last episode a disappointment. A director should finish the fights they start in shounen.

    You’re right about Ouri not *quite* serving as a “damsel in distress” but he sure took his time about becoming a truly compelling character in his own right. I find it frustrating that in shows where the characters clearly need power to be interesting that writers like to spend 3/4 of the show giving that character interesting abilities.

    I’d like to add that the music of this series is my favorite of any anime except Bleach (“We’ll throw a hundred songs at you, you’re bound to love two”). The songs capture the ambiance of the anime.

  2. Sacchi says:

    For me, the first season was a disappointment. From getting used to the annoying voice of the main male character, to the bad pacing that sometimes made me want to skip episodes. But even if it was a disappointment, it wasn’t that bad.

    Kuro, on the other hand, was just beyond awesome. I’m really glad I decided to end this series. I give it a 4/5 star for Kuro, 3.5/5 for the first season.

  3. enraiha says:

    While searching for review about shikabane hime..i found your blog ^^.
    The second season was masterpiece, but i think something missing along the end of the story.
    Will there any 3rd season?

    btw, awesome blog there ^^

  4. Nomus says:

    Won’t you write about 13/special episode? It’s some nice background on Ryo Minai’s and Isaki Shuuji’s relationship.

  5. emily says:

    With them not finishing the ending fight it was kind of crappy the director just made you assume she won but it really wasn’t the ending I was hoping for. The anime itself isn’t really that horrifying either its more of a action movie over all.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 12:37 AM)
    If you guys think out-of-state tuition is bad then you should look at the rate international students have to pay. My Japanese ex paid $7400 a semester for Sacramneto State. They pretty much robbed her out of all she had saved up.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 12:21 AM)
    @K-Off Yeah, out-of-state tuition is as expensive as a liberal arts college at most places.
  • k-off
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 12:17 AM)
    @Bam Ha, good one.
  • k-off
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 12:14 AM)
    @ninja In my case, I’m getting an out-of-state higher education, so I’m fucked if I don’t get that position in the FTC next August. I’ll have to wait another year for a window of opportunity and by then, who knows if I’m going to be stuck in some corporation.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 12:09 AM)
    I never joined a frat but I’m like an honorary member of bunch of them since I can procure pretty much whatever they are looking for so I get to party with all of them.
    My ancestors have shed too much Greek blood to me to don their banners.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 12:02 AM)
    I think the main issue with liberal arts colleges is that a degree from a liberal arts college isn’t much better or worse than a degree from a public university, and the cost of attending a liberal arts college is much higher for a full tuition payer. It’s just not worth it if you’re paying full tuition.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 12:00 AM)
    @K-Off I mean you can get many of the same degrees that you would get at a normal University at a Liberal Arts School. So I think the question of what degree you get is important whether you’re at a liberal arts college or a university. It’s not like the same degree from a liberal arts college is less valuable than one from a university. It just depends on the school and depends upon the individual.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 11:46 PM)
    @ninja I guess it really depends, but in my opinion, one has much less human capital in liberal arts than someone who specializes in an academic field, for example. Especially with liberal arts, it’s a matter of constantly adding to your human capital.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 11:33 PM)
    @K-Off For example, a lot of my friends from liberal arts college have high-paying jobs with NGOs. The liberal arts college I went to was kind of like a factory for non-profit professionals.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 11:27 PM)
    @K-Off Well for certain types of professions a liberal arts degree can be valuable, but I think in general there are only some degrees that are like a first-class ticket to employment. You can get these degrees at both liberal arts colleges and universities. But for most degrees you need a plan for how you intend to use it. Even then, your employment might not be directly related to your degree.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Akatsuki no Yona – 03

Hak and Yona flee Soo-Won’s men, but Yona’s mental and physical condition continue to deteriorate. Yona and Hak are both haunted by memories from the past. This was easily the best episode in the series so far. Whereas the first two episodes primarily took place in the present or the future, this episode is mostly spent in […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 03

This isn’t looking good. Let me explain, Grisaia has a somewhat nakige visual novel approach. Meaning that it has a comedic relatively plotless first half, followed by a tragic heroine backstory related story arc. Notable examples of this is any Key visual novel anime adaption you can think of. So for the first half we […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis- 03

Okay, so this episode didn’t focus on Leone and Amira’s adventure. Instead, it focuses on building Kaisar’s character and it does so a bit awkwardly. This episode takes Kaisar and puts him into an overly bombastic situation in order to tell us about Kaisar’s past family problems, but it was so out of tone from […]

Gugure! Kokkuri-San- 03

This show has a great cast, but some chinks in the armor are starting to appear in the comedy. So far, this anime seems to lack a consistent tone, which shows through just how hit-and-miss the comedy is. It attempts to mix elements of light and dark comedy along with slice-of-life and tries to excel in all three […]

Psycho Pass 2 – 02

Episode two continues right where episode one left off and progresses about how you might have guessed. Akane chases the mysterious villain pulling the strings, getting only cryptic responses from Kitazawa. Shimotsuki confronts Akane with her misgivings about Akane’s handling of the arrest. And we finally get some subtle hints towards Kougami’s existence and how his disappearance might […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 02

The stage is set, the actors are in place and the curtain is rising. So I can say this episode’s title was certainly apt. Unfortunately this week we have no bombastic fight scene to ogle and instead we get a heavy dose of info dumping. This is not the most exciting of episodes but the […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 02

The grisaia visual novel was by no means perfect. In fact if I was to summarize it as concisely as possible I would deem it a mixed bag. Some great moments but quite a number of bad storytelling decisions. Still there was hope for this anime adaption. After all the Steins Gate adaption managed to […]

Parasyte-the Maxim- 02

Before I continue reviewing this anime, let me put up a disclaimer: I will be discussing the anime of Parasyte, not the manga. If you want to talk about spoilers, I recommend you go to a site that will talk about those things. Don’t be an ass and discuss spoilers down in the comments, because […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Grisaia no Kajitsu, Trinity Seven and Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de

Grisaia no Kajitsu Short Synopsis: Our protagonist joins a school that has five troubled girls in attendance. AidanAK47’s impression: Grisaia has all the elements to cause many to write it off as a typical harem anime. Protagonist who only wants a ordinary life? Check. Joins school with several female beauties? Check. Panty shots? Sigh…check. The […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]