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
There’s no mistaking the fact that Kurohime is one of the most powerful witch-gunslingers ever to have walked this unusual world but what was once a childish, selfish and detached beauty is now a slightly changed woman who is willing to sacrifice her cherished memories and her own life to bring back the man she loves. This quest has even taken her across time where she is given a second chance to change events of her past to secure a better future. In Volume 12 of Kurohime, things are about to get a lot more complicated as Kurohime comes face-to-face with her enemies and the one who will change Zero’s life forever.
Having breached the interior of the massive Lion Castle with Zero and the forces of the Wolf Fang mercenaries, Kurohime found herself in a tight spot in Volume 11. The Kurohime Punishment Squad also followed her into the mobile castle as Zero and the other mercenaries are possessed by the spirits of the men that died with the castle. Oh, but there’s more to the spirits than meets the eye but Sword – the leader of the Punishment Squad – is determined to slay her.
In Volume 12, Kurohime defeats one of the members of the Punishment Squad and the real Yuka awakens to aid Kurohime. Meanwhile, Sword and the rest of the Squad turn to the mistress of the Lion Castle named Marion who orders everyone, except for Saika, to head to the heart of the castle before Kurohime and her new companion reach the area first. You see, the castle holds an unusual secret that explains why all the spirits possesses men only. What Kurohime and Yuka find is astonishing and suddenly Marion’s plan to get powerful gunslinger-witches in one place has been achieved.
I’d by spoiling things by revealing why Marion turned on the Kurohime Punishment Squad and doesn’t even care about the mercenaries and the Freedom Alliance fighting to get into the castle. What I will say is that the plan leaves the Punishment Squad no choice but to team up with Kurohime as they fight not only to survive but to save Saika who has been chosen to fulfill Marion’s plan.
The only one who doesn’t want to be fighting side-by-side with Kurohime is Sword who still fights to avenge the death of Lord Darkray. Sword even unleashes her uncontrollable vampire-werewolf form to try kill her. The only way Kurohime manages to pull her out of the form is to turn into Lord Darkray, which automatically pulls her out of the form she had chosen to get her revenge on Kurohime. What happens between these two women after that is simply touching seeing as the two of them have a lot in common.
Together with the Punishment Squad‘s help, Kurohime does manage to topple the Lion Castle but Saika is reborn and become a dark being that threatens all of mankind. The thing that was once Saika even turns on Marion and then turns its attention on the others. While Sword means to kill, it is Kurohime who tries to convince her to try and save Saika for Aika’s sake who loves the foolish young man. Yes, Kurohime has come a long way since the first volume.
In the end, Kurohime is victorious and is able to pluck Saika from death’s hand as well as end the battle. Amusingly enough, it is Onimaru who gets the credit for destroying the Lion Castle and defeating Marion and thus becomes the hero of the war. This misunderstanding has mercenaries from the Wolf Fang join the Onimaru gang and turn their back on the mercenary boss. Pulling Saika out of death’s grip, a part of the dark souls touches Zero’s little brother Ray who will not leave the Wolf Fang boss’ side. Meanwhile, back in the present time, Yashahime is glad to hear Dark Zero has chosen to follow Lord Darkray’s path.
It’s been a long time since a volume of Kurohime has surprised me and I was pleasantly surprised by all the action and the events that unfold in Volume 12 of this series. As Kurohime attempts to save the man she loves, she comes to uncover a secret that might lead to why Zero’s heart has turned so dark even in death. Hime fans will certainly find this volume to be among the series’ best.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
As the war rages on outside, Kurohime finds herself not only fighting off her enemies but also the soldiers that include Zero who have been possessed by spirits. Meanwhile, Marion – mistress of the Lion castle – unveils her plan that has the good Witch-Gunslinger working side-by-side with the Kurohime Punishment Squad to save mankind.
There are certainly a lot of flashy fights in this volume and plenty of cute girls that fill the panels in this one as well so there’s something for everyone.
One of the better and more emotional volumes in this series, Volume 12 of Kurohime is why we continue to love this series and why it still manages to surprise us with volumes like this one. Filled with memorable chapters, this is definitely one fans should pick up right away. On a side note, a one-shot Onimaru story would have been great.