Corpse Princess: Kuro (Season Two)

Corpse Princess Kuro Title

Ouri has been training in the mountains for six months so that he can officially become a contract monk. Meanwhile, Makima refuses to let Keisei’s bond go. If only that was their only problem – the Seven Stars are coming!

Corpse Princess: Kuro (Season Two)

What did you watch?

The dust has barely settled on the first season and here I am having watched the second season too. It’s worth noting that the second season was twelve episodes long plus an OVA which gave me the chance to spend a little more time with Minai, although I’m not sure that was necessarily a good thing. Anyhow, I’m not going to get ahead of myself this time and give away any of my feelings before it’s appropriate. So, let’s dive straight in.

Corpse Princess Aka Episode 26 Minai

What happened?

Ouri’s training was going well, however, Makima refused to let Keisei’s bond break which was turning into a curse. Even being trapped within the purification chamber for six months couldn’t do it. If she didn’t move on soon, they would have to think about the unimaginable. When Ouri heard what was happening, he rushed to help her. When he got there, he found that the Seven Stars were also making a move on Makima. Somehow, she was key to their plans to turn Hokuto into the most powerful Shikabane and destroy the Kougon Sect.

Ouri managed to rescue Makima and defeat a couple more of the Seven Stars as they progressed. But then, one of them turned Nozomi into a weapon, ensnaring almost everyone in the high school in a plot to get to Ouri. Nozomi died and Touya escaped, but not before Ouri learnt that he was the son of a Shikabane. That set him on a personal quest to discover more about this mother, but that too was just a plan to get Ouri and Makima out of the way as the Seven Stars crashed several planes around the Kougon Sect’s temple, ensuring that they would be flooded with Shikabane.

Corpse Princess Aka Episode 25 Makina verses Hokuto

What did you think?

On paper, this sounds like it should have been incredible. However, it wasn’t and there were a number of reasons for that. A lot of the lore they set up in the first season was conveniently brushed aside for some devices that enabled the plot to flow in a certain way. Even within the season, things got a bit messy. It wasn’t a bad season but it didn’t leave me with the same impression the first season did. Then, we had the OVA which was how Minai met her contracted monk, Shuuji Isaki. This was a horrible episode that pretty much painted Minai as an eternal victim. She killed her abusive partner and then got stuck with an abusive contracted monk. It didn’t make me feel better about what happened to Minai in the first season. A really sour note to end things, even when you consider we never really got an ending.

Corpse Princess Aka Episode 21 Makina

What was your favourite moment?

This series has never shied away from doing truly horrific things. It’s killed all sorts of people without even thinking about it. Some have been impactful and others not so much. So, when the Seven Stars crashed a load of planes into the city, it completely raised the stakes. There was Shikabane everywhere. And that’s before you consider the utter carnage of planes crashing into densely populated areas. It was horrific and should have been. That alone could have and should have been the main focus of the series. Seeing all the Shikabane Himes fighting back was amazing.

But then, they dropped the ball on that too. After a season of Shikabane being dangerous and particularly hard to put down, it was tame by comparison. This could have been like a zombie apocalypse on acid, but it wasn’t. Then, you had the fact that the contracts between the Shikabane Hime and the monks had all been forcibly removed by Akasha. They should have become problems too, the same way Minai struggled to go on after Shuuji Isaki died. It was all set to be epic, but then the power of friendship saved the day. The Shikabane Hime didn’t want to leave their contracted monks so they didn’t…

What was your least favourite moment?

That last moment could have been my least favourite moment too. So much wasted potential. However, there were worse things. The introduction of Umehara and Flesh Backbone was one that stood out. He was a pervert and she did not fit with the tone of the series at all. It made every scene with them jarring. However, that’s not the moment I’m going with. Ouri met up with one of the Seven Stars that claimed to be his brother. He wasn’t, but he was one of the children that his Shikabane mother kidnapped since her curse made it impossible for her to see her actual son. All the children she kidnapped starved to death. One came back as a Shikabane and ate all the other corpses.

One thing, the Seven Stars prided themselves on was the fact that they had no regrets and it was their nature that turned them into Shikabane. Well, that doesn’t fit with Hizuchi’s regrets that he died hungry. I’m not sure how he aged beyond the small child that he was when he died either. None of this made sense, but then it got worse. The cat that only Ouri can see is the combined spirits of all the children that died. They took over Ouri and were about to make him eat a bunch of children when they decided that they suddenly knew Ouri better and turned on Hizuchi. Again, it just didn’t make sense.

Corpse Princess Aka Episode 22 Ouri and Hizuchi

Who was your favourite character?

The most interesting character in the series was actually the traitor monk, Akasha Shishidou. We were led to believe that he murdered his Shikabane Hime and then turned on the Kougon Sect, however, we learnt that the belief that a Shikabane Hime could get into Heaven after killing one hundred and eight Shikabane was a lie. It broke their contract and turned them into vicious Shikabane. Once they turn, they are imprisoned in scripture and placed in a coffin where they will remain forever. Then we learnt that his Shikabane Hime was his wife that had died and come back.

So, he turned against the Kougon Sect to stop any more Shikabane Himes from suffering the same fate. He actually sounds like the good guy when you put it that way. He even tricked the Seven Stars into doing his bidding and made Hokuto his Shikabane Hime. She killed him when he abandoned her for his wife, but it was the most believable story in the series. His drive and reasons for doing everything made sense. He had a plan and he followed it through which is more than can be said for most of the other characters.

Corpse Princess Aka Episode 24 Akasha and Hokuto

Who was your least favourite character?

I can’t really go with Shuuji Isaki again because he was only in the OVA, although that episode alone could have earnt him the title. There were, however, a lot of characters that really disappointed me after the first season. The biggest issue I think was that no one really grew or learnt anything. Even Ouri discovering he was the son of a Shikabane didn’t do anything. I wanted to see more of Kamika Todoroki and some of the other Shikabane Himes but they never did anything on screen either. Most of the cast was left sitting at the base waiting for the Seven Stars to attack.

Corpse Princess Aka Episode 25 Ouri and Makina

Would you like some more?

I’m not saying I hated this season, but it was a massive step down from the first season which was full of mystery and horror. In this one, they tried to over-explain everything and it got very dull. The moments of action were good and there were some truly horrific moments, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of character development and overindulgence in delivering monologues, internal and external. There really wasn’t anything particularly natural about the way the story was told. I’d like more of the first season, but no more of this side of things, unfortunately.

Corpse Princess Aka Episode 20 Ouri crying

What have you learnt?

Some of the things that went wrong with this season for me was how it took the rules that it had set up in the first season and then changed them for no other reason than the story needed it to work that way. That feels like a lazy solution and not at all like creative writing. I can’t imagine writing a book where I set the expectations and rules to allow things to work in a certain way and then abandoning all of that because I can’t make the story work. There is always a way. It’s not easy and sometimes, it will require some backtracking, but to just say everything we said before was wrong is not the answer. Try harder. Find a solution that makes it all work. It’s out there, you just have to find it.

Corpse Princess Aka Episode 16 Makina

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What did you think?