Posted by psgels on 19 June 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



When judging first episodes, I always try to look at the potential for the rest of the series. Kurokami had a fairly generic beginning, but I saw potential for the rest of this series. I believed that the Dopple-liner system, in which every person has two clones living somewhere, with these clones destined to die when they get too close to their “Root”, definitely had the potential to become interesting later on. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

As a typical Sunrise-series, Kurokami is all about action: every single episode is really written for the battles, which use the aforementioned Dopple-liner system as a shounen-esque base to explain the various superpowers that appear through the series, but it’s all fairly generic: the side-characters all have interesting powers, but the lead characters and villains don’t have any fighting style other than “lots and lots of power”. Still, the battles are what made me keep watching this series: they’ve got this sense of despair when Kuro (the lead character gets beaten over and over again. It’s fairly formulaic, but especially in the beginning it’s strangely watchable.

But all goes down the drains in the second half. Up until the halfway point, despite the formulaic battles the series had actually done a fairly well job in letting us get to know the main characters. The story was finally coming together… until the writers completely jumped the shark with a string of the most blatantly obvious Deus ex Machina. The storyline that was up to that point at least fairly layered turns into a dumb “beat the bad guy”-storyline and turns completely ridiculous. My biggest gripe was with the episode that revealed why the major villain of this series became the bad guy. I won’t spoil it, but let me just say that those plot twists feel so incredibly contrived that they really destroyed any suspense of disbelief I still had for this series.

The characters are mostly just okay, but the male lead character is such an annoying character. He only has two personalities: an emo one (“leave me alone! I don’t want to fight!”) and a fearless one (“Let’s beat them, Kuro!”). I was hoping that he would change over the course of the series, but unfortunately he only got more and more generic as the show went on. So in the end, the only thing that this series did well is its pretty pictures. Sunrise is behind the animation, so at least the action looks solid and consistent, and the background art is very stylish.

Still, I really don’t recommend this series for anything. There really is much better stuff out there, and this series fails to stand out in any way aside from its Dopple-liner system, which it never really goes in-depth with anyway. The story is full of holes and power-level inconsistencies, battles are written so that Kuro wins them at the last possible moment and overall, it just smells of mediocrity.

Storytelling: 6/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 6/10

15 Responses

  1. Avatar AKI says:

    Such a shame…I remember stopping at EP10 because of the lack of subs and went on to finish other stuff. From your review, I think this one is better being dropped and my best guess is that I’ll continue reading the manga (which others say is better) than continue with the deus ex machina.

  2. Avatar senerikfred says:

    ‘Doppel-liner?’ I read some of the manga at one point, and the scanlations, at least, understandably used ‘doppelgänger’ to refer to clones and such.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    senerikfred: while I’m not sure of the exact spelling, the anime definitely used the term doppel-liner. Don’t ask me why they found it a good idea to change that.

  4. Avatar Nomus says:

    It started as clone it died as clone. Something like Fate/stay Shana no shikabane index,etc. They weren’t even trying to make sence by the end.

  5. Dropped this series very early on due to medicority and that fact that I’d seen it all before, but I can tell you right here right now that this was anything but your “typical Sunrise series” otherwise I probably would have liked it.

    Hopefully now they’ll be putting their funds to something more imaginative like I’m used to seeing from them.

  6. Avatar TJ says:

    I actually thought the second half was better. At least the production values went back up, and the dumb twists were still a lot better than the story going nowhere and Keita being emo.

  7. Avatar john says:

    you know they deviated from the manga right from the first episode, right? and that sunrise has horrible story making up skills lately, as demonstrated by Code Geass?

  8. @john: I love it when people trash on other people’s writing skills when they can’t even convey a coherent thought in less than a couple sentences. I mean seriously, “story making up skills”? Does such a thing even exist? Doubtful, and thus I think it’s safe to say that Sunrise can’t be said to be doing that badly if they lack “story making up skills”, especially since they actually have good creative writing skills instead…just not in the case of Kurokami The Animation.

    The staff team that worked on this show should probably be given some other lesser tasks to do from now on.

  9. Avatar ryvrdrgn14 says:

    Yes, it was very bad. I ‘forced’ myself to watch the first eight episodes and I was skipping through it also.

    The male lead very well fits the description of ‘bad acting’ in anime. His character seemed so superficial and ‘fake’ that it was like ‘Ugh’ whenever he tried to talk to look serious.

    Um… grats on seeing it through and condolences as well for time wasted. Let this be a warning to all who read your review. o_O

  10. Avatar Taxy says:

    I can’t agree with the most of you. I see Kurokami as a classic action-series, which never intended to make new inventions or beeing unique. It’s true, that I also like original new stuff with never-seen storys or anything else, but this one isn’t for those who want to see something new.

    Which can’t mean, the series ist completely bad. There are generations which can’t say from themselves, that they’ve seen that a thousand times earlier, so please consider, that there is a audience, which appreciate this series as a well-made action-series. Especially the high productions value keep me watching this with no complaints. It’s just a fun series and annoying maincharacters, which turn to be more mature, is a classic theme for stuff like this.

    It’s a just a matter, if you compare that series to so many others out there *and* your own experiences with that.

  11. Avatar ryvrdrgn14 says:

    At least for me I wasn’t even comparing it to anything in particular. I would just have to say the male lead was so bad that I couldn’t appreciate anything else in the series. o_O

    The art and animation quality are good, so I’ll agree there. I really tried, but after 8 episodes I ended up more annoyed than when I started. o_o

  12. Avatar Aetheus says:

    Kurokami … was somewhat hard to swallow at times, but I thought it was overall OK. The “new” Keita is a lot less of an arse than his manga counterpart, but ironically, this removes the one interesting quality Keita had in the manga – character development. Keita in the manga was much nastier to Kuro (and just about everyone else) during the start, but gradually grows fond of her (and starts being a bit less of a dick) later on. Also, I dislike how the ending was. I don’t know how the manhwa/manga handles it, but I sure as heck hope it ain’t similar to the anime’s version of the ending. Not only does it not make sense (so the big evil curse that plagued everybody for centuries is solved by isolation? Wasn’t that the point of the big pointy rocks in the first place?), Kuro’s fate is also rather sad, and it only makes me loathe Keita all the more for it.

  13. Avatar TS says:

    I dont think i have ever read a review on an anime i loved and read positive feedback :(. if yall dont like this kinda stuff what the hell do yall like?

  14. Avatar Rika says:

    Overall, I thought this anime was decent, and strangely, the ending was what captivated me the most. Excluding the recaps of Ep 23, the last few minutes were quite well done I would say.

    Though they could have cut the scene and put it in place of the ending of Ep 22. It was a waste of an episode, imo =/

  15. Avatar rhys says:

    i dnt see why it should get such bad remarks yeah the story was a little weird and messy but i still think this is an amazing series and the pictures are not the only descent thing about the series and to be honest i dnt know why people listen to this stuff because it doesnt matter what anyone else says if you like a series then you watch it but the way you make it sound will make people not even give the series a chance so no offence but i dnt agree

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