「死が舞う」 (Shi ga Mau)
“The Dead Dances”
Already slated for a sequel, Shikabane Hime Aka brings you horror action with an undead female heroine who packs a wallop with a pair of MAC-11 submachine guns. In her battle against other undead, the Shikabane Hime (Corpse Princess) Hoshimura Makina shares a life force contract known as an “En” (縁) with a monk priest named Tagami Keisei, which allows her to utilize her abilities to the fullest. For working with the religious group that combats the undead — Kougonshuu (光言宗) — Makina hopes to kill 108 Shikabane (corpses) so that she can be sent to heaven. While the story starts off with the undead slaying endeavors of those two, the main male protagonist of the series is actually an orphan named Kagami Ouri (left in pic), who’s moving out of temple orphanage to begin a life on his own.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of horror series as I’ve failed to get into Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho on two separate occasions, but I had been following Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi, which this series resembles in quite a few ways — undying heroines being one of them. Therefore, if you’re a fan of either of these, Shikabane Hime Aka might be right up your alley. Produced by GAINAX and Feel, the series looks good, but was a bit too dark for my tastes. That’s not to say dark and gloomy like the series should be though, but literally too dark, making the colors look more washed out than they needed to be. While I’m tempted to attribute this to AT-X’s usual lackluster looking broadcasts, I’m under the impression that this is simply how it was produced. As such, I was actually hoping to see more scenes like this rather than this.
As for cast, Makina is played by a Akiyama Nana, who’s actually a drama actor first and foremost. While I’m not sure whether or not there’s a new trend in casting live-action actors for anime nowadays, I should note that Michiko to Hatchin has also decided to do the same. While I agree that live-action acting and anime dubbing is quite different, Nana does a good job in the role, but I noticed that she’s not overly emphatic in some of her lines like you’d expect from seiyuu regulars. As such, her portrayal of Makina comes off a bit more “real”, akin to live-action acting, so perhaps this is how they wanted the corpse princess to come across. Ouri on the other hand is played by a new male seiyuu, Hazome Tatsuya, who comes off a bit like Miyano Mamoru‘s lighter voice yet distinctly different, which I have no qualms with. Lastly, they’re supported by a veteran cast with the likes of Fujiwara Keiji (Keisei), Horie Yui (Kamika, the orphanage lady), and Chiba Saeko. Yuuki Aoi has a role as well, who I haven’t heard from since she starred as Kuhouin Murasaki in kurenai.
Based on what I’ve seen so far, the flow of the series seems a bit episodic, with the first episode focusing on a vampire and his harem. However, there is the premise concerning Makina (and later Ouri) that should string things together well. With that said, this doesn’t come off as a series I’d look forward to on a weekly basis, especially with all the terminology used (link is Japanese only), so I’m considering marathoning it after it’s done airing instead.
– Hoshimura Makina (星村 眞姫那) : Akiyama Nana (秋山 奈々)
– Tagami Keisei (田神 景世) : Fujiwara Keiji (藤原 啓治)
– Kagami Ouri (花神 旺里) : Hazome Tatsuya (羽染 達也)
– Mibu Sadahiro (壬生 貞比呂) : Suwabe Junichi (諏訪部 順一)
– Too’oka Akira (遠岡 アキラ) : Yuuki Aoi (悠木 碧)
– Isaki Juuji (伊佐木 修二) : Sugita Tomokazu (杉田 智和)
– Ruo Minai (瑠翁 水薙生) : Hirata Yuka (平田 裕香)
– Aragami Rika (荒神 莉花) : Chiba Saeko (千葉 紗子)
– Amase Saki (天瀬 早季) : Kikuchi Mika (菊地 美香)
– Sougi Takamasa (送儀 嵩征) : Kawashima Tokuyoshi (川島 得愛)
– Yamagami Itsuki (山神 異月) : Nakamura Chise (中村 知世)
– Todoroki Kamika (轟旗 神佳) : Horie Yui (堀江 由衣)