Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Shikabane Hime (2008-2009)


Shikabane Hime (2008-2009) is a dark Japanese action anime series about an undead girl, Hoshimura Makina, who must hunt down 108 undead corpses in order to gain entry into heaven. A secret society of anti-corpse Buddhist priests assist her efforts; her ultimate goal is destroying the ones who that murdered her family. Its English translation is "Corpse Princess." It contains 25 episodes (1st season, Aka: 13 episodes; 2nd season, Kuro: 12 episodes).

Makina turns into a living corpse (shikabane) after she is mysteriously murdered. Tagami Keisei, a Buddhist priest, rescues and brings her to the Kougun Sect, a secret society who monitors and fights the living dead (corpses). After extensive training, Keisei becomes her contractor and becomes a Shikabane Hime: she receives Ingram MAC-11 machine guns to fight them. Shikabanes exist because they either died a tragic death or had a huge regret/obsession in life. They also usually have superhuman strength and human intelligence. However, if her contractor becomes injures or deceases, she also suffers the same fate (corpses lack runes, or life energy) or becomes a shikabane (curse driven by madness).

Meanwhile, Kagami Ouri, a normal high school boy who lives with Keisei in a loving foster home, becomes drawn to the darkness of the shikabane world. When he follows a mysterious black cat, he seems to appear where the corpses are an meets Makina for the first time. Do the two share a destiny together? Can they both defeat the Seven Stars (Shischisei), the destructive shikabane who murdered Makina's family?

Shikabane Hime series is full of action, drama and suspense. It is always a plus to learn more about Japanese mythology. Makina is an isolated character who gradually warms up to those close around her. I never understood the point of Ouri until he becomes her contractor in the second season. The series ends on a cliffhanger where no one knows if Makina and the Shikabane Himes truly destroyed the Seven Stars. Unfortunately, I never saw the 13th episode of the series. The producers decided to make the 13th episode available via DVD only. No one has bothered to buy and sub the episode into English.

Nevertheless, I am not one who focuses on zombies a.k.a. the undead or girls-with-guns plos (with the exception of Resident Evil franchise), but this is an excellent story worth watching. It is currently available to buy and rent on DVD.


Trailer

1 comment:

Jessica Penot said...

This one looks interesting! I will have to check it out.