People are falling victim to creatures called Shikabane, which happen to be reanimated corpses with superhuman and even supernatural abilities. There exist an organization made up of monks who deal with them by using reanimated girls called Shikabane Hime aka Corpse Princess. The girls also possess superhuman abilities. One of their number named Makina, goes into battle against them equipped with two uzi's, along with her guardian a Contracted Monk by the name of Keisei. Together they battle the monsters across the city. But there's a greater threat approaching bearing sinister motives. -summary
Corpse Princess is another one of those by the number action oriented titles that are a dime a dozen these days. The core premise is the usual girls with guns vs. monsters, and while I was watching the show it felt as if I was watching three other series simultaneously. Therefore, it's a no brainer that originality was never intended to be factored into the equation. Despite this though, there was quite a bit going on that held my attention, and most of my favorite pet peeves where kept to a minimum. The action in the series is nothing to really turn a nose up at either. At this point, I would say that the series is a solid action romp. This volume contains the first 13 episodes out of 26.
The plot follows Makina as she battles the Shikabane, her missions become complicated when she constantly runs into her handler's younger brother Ouri. He eventually becomes dragged into the feud with the monsters. At first, it's the standard good vs. evil that results in action packed episode ending showdowns. However, the stories are rather interesting when moving from point A to B. I really don't mind the lack of originality as long as there's some type of creativity thrown into the mix. The Shikabane they come across don't always have interesting abilities, instead, their origins and episode story elements are sometimes the main draw. For example, one episode sees a a doctor completely controlling one that is protecting something important to it, at the same time, he's injecting people with the cells from the beast, and he's given the idea from a mysterious benefactor. This eventually leads to the supposed lead antagonist of the series, which happens to be a traitor monk. Along the way, although there are several detours, the story eventually begins to take some type of form. My interest began to be aroused when a faction called the Seven Stars are introduced, and Ouri's mysterious background begins to come into play as well.
The style of the series is rather dark at times, but there are slight tonal comedic shifts that take place. I doubt it's a secret that I don't care for segments like these, however, this is one of those cases where it actually works. The comedy rarely, if ever clashes with the tense moments which is a plus. And I think the main reason I can let this pass is because Corpse Princess knows exactly what it wants to be, and that's light entertainment in which it succeeds at. There is actually no attempts towards being high art at all, and I have to commend the writers for this, because one thing I can't stand is an anime with an identity crisis.
The characters are indeed cookie cutter though, for the most part, they're plot devices we have seen about a hundred times before this point, and that is never a good thing. They consist of the tough chick, and whiny male teen who has to question all of her motives, and like always it can be annoying. Thankfully, there are side characters with different abilities who occasionally appear, and sometimes they even have their own drama to deal with. The story behind the Shikabane is interesting in a way, but it feels way too similar to Bleach. People become those creatures when they pass away with certain regrets or obsessions. Even though it feels familiar, this sometimes plays into their powers which adds an interesting twist to the encounters. Corpse Princess does feel like other things, but it tries its hand at being creative.
The visuals are pretty good with some fluid action scenes that rarely go the lazy route. There's quite a bit of high intensity shootouts and fist to face segments. The battles are well-lit spectacles that I found to be entertaining on some occasions. I found the character designs to be about so-so, and the backgrounds are dark most of the time, which suits the supernatural element properly, especially since all the battles either take place in the night or inside very dark structures. The soundtrack features two J-Pop songs for the opening and ending that I can imagine some folks getting into. While the BGM is nothing to really brag about outside of complimenting the style rather well.
This first half has its good moments and the story ends on a cliffhanger after a very predictable plot twist. The fan service ranks between very tame to almost non existent, and the gore is moderate. If only the characters weren't cut from the same cloth as so many other shonen heroes, it would probably be better. Still, if you dig hot chicks with guns taking on monsters, then Corpse Princess is something that's worth a look.
-Production values, light entertainment that pretty much succeeds
-Bland characters, feels too familiar in many places
Corpse Princess Part Two
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