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|Average Rating: 1.00|
darkstorm scored this with 6/10. Disagree?
Six months have passed since Kaze’s death and the new dim outlook on life for both Makine and Ouri doesn’t seem to have faded over time. Ouri, now training to be Makina’s new contracted monk, takes his duties seriously but others feel he’ll fail to keep up with his superiors. Still Ouri keeps trying and gives each challenge everything he’s got, hoping he can be there for his Shikabane Hime when the time comes. Makina on the other hand seems to be drowning deeper into despair as she’s held inside a purification temple, consumed by her memories of Kaze and unable to let go of her old monk and friend. As the Seven Stars forward their evil plans and reveal that Makina plays a role in them, will she be able to let go of the past in order to protect the future?
The series opens on a downer, keeping in with the tone of the ending to season 1 and picks up where the final battle left off. Unlike the first series where the actual plot didn’t really show face until the final episodes and refused to offer answers to the infinite queries, season 2 of Corpse Princess has learnt from its mistakes and tackles the immediate issues head on. Makina’s struggle to let her former friend go and reasons for not wanting Ouri to be her monk are compelling to view and interesting to see unfold over the first few episodes. Continuing from that, every episode has a significant event relating to the plot, whether it’s a character revelation or Seven Stars battle, and most plot threads beginning in the first season are given closure over the 12 episodes. Also the Seven Stars play a much more active role, sending their various members against the monks and Hime to try and eliminate them, making each battle thrilling and important.
To help further with the pacing; the ‘shikabane of the week’ staple isn’t here and an actual plot arc is clearly defined here making it a less messy and less tedious watch on a whole. The flow from one episode to another is helped that each episode ends halfway through an important battle or on a bombshell various characters drop, making you want to tune into the next episode as soon as possible. The series also takes time to flashback and show in detail the lives of the Seven Stars and various Shikabane hime as humans to form a much more intimate link with the audience, in some circumstances they’re even more interesting than what’s happening in the present.
A change of roles within the cast will be met with mixed reception by everyone, depending on what kind of viewer you are. One of my complaints for season 1 was the false illusion that the cast was full of powerful Shikabane Hime all working together with their monks, like a Magical Girl anime but with actual blood involved. However the first 13 episodes had a horrible habit of picking up and dropping whatever Hime they wanted for that particular episode and never really gave them any qualities outside of ‘tough girl with weapon’. Season 2 fixes this slightly by most Hime having a consistence presence across the second season, developing some the girls backgrounds, giving brief insights into their relationship with their monks and even introducing a new Hime to the fray. This addition to the cast however comes tagged with over-gratuitous fan service; tits bouncing around in skimpy outfits and hot tub scenes unfortunately welcome us in the first few episodes, along with a new even more perverted monk by the name of Kanechika Umehara replacing Kaze’s shoes in the series. Kaze’s original sexual advances were never warranted in the first part of the series but at least they didn’t constantly interfere with the fights or drop smack in the middle of an important conversation where lives were at stake. Kanechika, however, is the complete opposite, going for a more direct approach of acting like a pervert and being an inappropriate addition to the cast. The sudden switch from dark matters such as Seven Stars threatening their lives to jiggling of his Hime’s boobs right in front of our faces whilst acting all cute and innocent is very disorienting and awfully frequent. Unfortunately Ouri continues to be the main focus of the anime; he admittedly plays a more active role now that he’s a monk but even his voice actor sounds tired of playing him. He is bland as a rice cake and throws himself into danger constantly with little sense or plan.
As someone who disliked the first season for many reasons, I found season 2 to be a much more enjoyable experience because the characters introduced in the first act now finally have emotion and personality outside their stereotypes, making me actually care to an extent whether they survive the next fight. However despite the cleaner polish on the production and storytelling the glaring issues still remain, one of which is the pulling random twists out of nowhere in places just to play the ‘got one up on you’ card and keep the plot going. The story does go to many lengths to keep building the threat looming over our heroes, some of which were effective but some of it's eye rolling at times, and the ending is sadly so inconclusive that it seemed wasted at the end of it all. This is not aided by the script which continues to be dire; repeating the same information over and over with mind-numbing dialogue tying them together. And I would not recommend having a drinking game where you must take a shot each time someone says the word ‘Shikabane’...you’ll have alcohol poisoning by the third episode.
The animation hasn’t altered much in style; thankfully it doesn’t reach the hell depths of quality that the pilot episode suffered from but you can tell they had budget restrictions. When characters are talking, stills or stiff repetitive movements from the cast will only be seen, however when a fight occurs at least it tries to step it up a gear and deliver the goods in fluid and rapid motions. The character designs for the shikabane however never fail to provide the creepy aspect of the series; from sinister little girls who want to bring happiness through death to a man with giant insects for arms - you will find at least one enemy that pushes your buttons.
The opening theme has not changed, still loud and obnoxious as ever, the ending theme alternates between 2 slower tempo tracks when appropriate and the animation behind it also reveals more flesh than I care to see. Voice acting contains the same cast as before so no changes in performances.
DVD extras include clean opening and closing(s), commentary for episode 24 and for those wondering, yes the DVD exclusive episode which offers no closure to the open-ended finale but instead offers back story to a Hime killed in the first season and offered no input to the overall plot, is here.
From an objective point of view; the improvement of the production, plot progression and character development makes season 2 of Corpse Princess a much better watch. It fixes a lot of the issues the first season had that made its poor storytelling, terrible script and iffy jokes/fanservice a lot more obvious. The latter problems still remain in the second season so if you enjoyed the first season you’ll most likely like the second as well. For the people who found the first season tedious, you will only feel a dull pain from these episodes rather than sharp one.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||6 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Mon, 7 Nov 2011|
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