Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Masanori * Ookamigumi * Katakura
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Advanced)
MSRP: $7.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Now Available
Love is a battlefield.
Just as fellow reviewer Clive Owen sneaks off with our copies of Honey and Clover and Sand Chronicles, I ran off with a few volumes of Kurohime only to find that this series just wasn’t about witches, bullets and well-endowed beauties but it was also about love, loyalty and a quest that was starting to become as epic as The Odyssey. In other words, I liked it and couldn’t wait to read more.
You see, Kurohime is a witch-gunslinger that wields a strange gun that shoots an assortment of magical bullets who pushed her luck one day when she defied the gods. As punishment, she was transformed back into a child that would never grow up. Along comes a boy named Zero who manages to break the curse when he falls in love with Kurohime (who is called Momohime in her child form) only to die as a result of helping her out. Now, Kurohime sets out on a quest to resurrect the boy she loves by gathering the powers of the Four Spirit Kings to defy the gods again. This, of course, is hardly a walk in the park.
Volume 8 finds Kurohime, Asura, Onimaru and Kazuma on top the mountain-sized Lord Genbu who happens to be one of the Four Spirit Kings. In the way of collecting Lord Genbu’s powers, however, is the lovely ogre goddess named Saiyuki who challenges Kurohime in a battle that is starting to look a bit one-sided. It’s quite possible that the busty witch-gunslinger has finally found her match against an opponent that possesses the powers of the Spirit King of Water. The cute devil girl Asura can no longer watch as Kurohime is getting smacked around and joins in the battle.
It suddenly becomes apparent to Lord Genbu that there’s more to the human than just wild boasting and he comes to understand Kurohime’s reasons for wanting to defy the gods by using his powers. You see, Kurohime is motivated by love and love is a force that neither spirit, god or demon could ever truly understand. If a girl is willing to sacrifice not only precious memories of the young man she loves (something that happens each time she takes her original adult form) but also her very own life is worth backing up so Lord Genbu gives Kurohime his blessing as well as his power.
Putting an end to the lengthy battle with her newly installed water abilities, Kurohime manages to win the battle against Saiyuki who is impressed by the power of love seeing as she married an ogre god for gain and not for romantic reasons. Unfortunately, love can also motivate people unleash violence as we see with Yashahime who has been waiting to attack Kurohime. Still holding a grudge ever since Kurohime killed the man she loved, Yashahime does the unthinkable and because she’s a mistress of the dead she uses something that throws Kurohime off guard.
Not fully understanding what went on during the battle with Yashahime, Asura and Kazuma decide not to tell her in order not to break Kurohime’s spirit. One of the funniest moments comes between Asura and the “dirty old man” named Ji who tries to tell Kurohime what happened out there. Instead, the group moves on only to find an empty village with tasty food left out. While Momohime, Asura and Onimaru are stuffing their face with the delicious food, it is Kazuma that thinks that something is not right about the village. It turns out he’s right and a gorgeous young guardian has set a trap for them. Meanwhile, Momohime and Asura turn comically fat and unable to unleash their powers to save themselves.
It is Kazuma that saved the day by carrying his friends out of harms way in a manner that’s reminiscent of the time Zero saved Kurohime’s life and sacrificed his own. The mere sight of Kazuma’s courage even breaks her heart. Meanwhile, Yashahime continues on her path of revenge, even saying farewell to the soul of her beloved in a violent manner. What she does next … well, I won’t spoil it but trust me when I say that it won’t be pretty.
Volume 8 of Kurohime is proof that there’s more to the series than just gunplay and babes with big endowments. In fact, the action and fan service are overshadowed by an emotionally charged story that is beginning to feel like an adventure of epic proportions. Sure, it still retains some of the wildly goofy moments of the first few volumes (Momohime and Asura as two fat cherubs is hilarious) but that’s what makes us love this original story even more.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
More memories of Zero are lost as Kurohime faces off against ogre goddess Saiyuki in a battle that’s both surprising and tragic. Then Yashahime shows up to challenge the witch-gunslinger and uses a trump card that can only end in heartbreak in the next volume. Plus, Momohime and Asura fall victim of a delicious (and fattening) trap. This story just keeps getting wilder and better with each volume.
Kurohime’s other volumes contain great art but somehow Volume 8 looks excellent with panels that are just wonderfully detailed. The flow of the action can look a bit confusing at times, though.
Kurohime is starting to become that series that goes well beyond its visceral action sequences and heavy dose of fan service. In fact, it just seems to get better with each volume and Volume 8 proves this with the continuing journey of a girl in love trying to resurrect the boy she loves. If you haven’t picked up a volume of Kurohime then you are missing out on a fun and original tale.