KUROZUKA (Ep 1)

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Kurozuka is another offering from Madhouse studios this fall season based on the manga by Baku Yumemakura and directed by Tetsuro Araki who also brought us Death Note. The OP is very reminiscent of the directors previous work with stunning visuals in a kaleidoscope of colours and a thrashing Death metal track in the background “WAGDUG FUTURISTIC UNITY” by SYSTEMATIC PEOPLE featuring MAXIMUM THE HORMONE, I’m not quite sure it fits the series entirely though, the ED  “Hanarebanare (ハナレバナレ)” by Shigi seems a lot more fitting and I particularly like the ending visuals they are really quite stunning.

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This historical horror set in 12th century Japan and follows the story of Kuro a man who has been sent fleeing into the mountains after being pursued by several different attackers one happens to be his own brother. Kuro and his monk companion weary from their travels happen upon a dwelling in the middle of the mountains, which is occupied by a beautiful woman named Kuromitsu, she claims they can stay on one condition they are not allowed to even peak into the back room. As long as they can abide by that simple rule they are welcome to stay as long as they wish.

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Almost instantly Kuro falls ill apparently suffering from a bad fever and his companion leaves to find supplies to aid him while Kuromitsu quite taken by Kuro offers to care from him for as long as he wishes (it’s already obvious she wants this to be a very long time). Once Kuro’s fever breaks he and Kuromitsu appear to fall head over heels for each other and quickly progress onto awkward fumblings until she asks him to stop and claims that no matter what their attraction is to each other it can’t be recognised.

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That night there is a stirring in the mountains and Kuro’s previous pursuers seem to have found him but it seems they are even more interested in the ‘immortal’ woman who dwells in the mountains than possibly even Kuro himself, upon hearing their movements in the house Kuro breaks Kuromitsu’s one rule don’t enter the back room under any circumstances and what he sees there is a particularly chilling sight to behold.

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This series is another that proves that Madhouse are really at the top of their game this season, I absolutely adored it, the characterisation is great and although I do think the romance was slightly rushed the matrix style fighting scenes, great animation, beautiful plot and gore by the bucket load seemed to make up for it. This series isn’t one of the faint of heart or indeed anyone who has just eaten their dinner but it has the makings of being a action packed and intriguing ride that really packs a wallop. This is probably my joint favorite first episode of the season along with Mouryou no Haku.