「-眠れる森の姫-」 (– Nemurerumori no Hime –)
“- The Sleeping Princess -“
I’ll start off, before anything else, by saying that this adaption has exceeded expectations so far. Having covered Studio Gokumi’s previous work Oda Nobuna no Yabou a few seasons ago, I can say that this adaption is in the hands of a good animation studio that knows to keep to the source material. Once again has the studio shown its mastery of applying cinematographic after-effects–the already well-drawn animation is complemented by various blurs, filters, and clever camera pans to express the correct mood. Though the studio does like to use the camera shake almost as much as anime characters gasp and shrink their eyes, most of their post-production decisions are in good taste, appropriately helping set the romance–action tone for the show. The music also is a big plus, as Takanashi Yasuharu, who also worked on Oda Nobuna no Yabou, creates a composition that accents the love between Kiri and Iwai as well as the conflicts they face together. Yamaguchi Yuuji, though fairly low-key recently, has managed to direct the introductory episode well– the comedic scenes are exaggerated appropriately, the conflict scenes are appropriately tense, and the romance scenes…it’s definitely heated to say the least!
I’ve described to you what a great adaption this is (independent of the quality of the material), but I will admit–this is not the show for just anyone. I’ve gone and hailed the production values and effort that’s gone into the show, but said nothing about the premise! Well, let me give it to you straight. If you can’t handle this, then best set this one aside. From observing how people reacted to Nazo no Kanojo X, I expect the same reaction to be reflected here. Although it’s on a lower degree than the aforementioned in terms of how often the “gross factor”, or rather fetish, is centered in the plot, this may still not be the show for you. A good part of the main couple’s relationship and bonding centers around a love for hair, which can get pretty intense judging from the first chapter and the manga.
If you can get past that though, an interesting show awaits. Those of you who are familiar with the plot of Mirai Nikki will see similarities in Crime Edge’s usage of specialized weapons to kill and protect, especially as each weaponholder has their own reason for wielding the so-called “Killing Goods”. The plot revolves around a boy with a serious hair and haircut fetish, Haimura Kiri (Hanae Natsuki), who quickly befriends a mysterious girl who boasts magnificently long hair, Mushanokouji Iwai (Koiwai Kotori). Both characters are part of a dark family history, of which leads them to a certain pre-determined destiny. Iwai is the ancestor of the “Hair Queen” and as such is cursed with uncuttable hair and the wrath of those who must suffer with her. Kiri meanwhile is an ancestor of a Killing Goods owner, yet wields his own Killing Goods in an unorthodox way–to cut the uncuttable hair of the Hair Queen. Though Yamane (Fukuhara Kaori) and Houko (Uchiyama Yumi) seek to threaten their friendship with violence and intimidation, Iwai and Kiri’s bond already has grown strong, all through the death of kamisama. Fans of GOSICK’s Kujo x Victorique dynamic may find a similar bond between the two characters here, which judging from the premise, will take center stage for this story even in the presence of hot-blooded action.
Overall, this episode was a great start to the manga, and followers of the manga should enjoy this start while curious anime-only watchers can jump into the romance, mystery, and action without worry of divergence from the source. In terms of plot and explaining what’s going on, the anime may actually be able to execute development of the setting better than the manga–I was lost in reading the first few chapters, but the pace the anime moves should mean ample time for explaining the Hair Queen and the Killing Goods. If I had to call out the source and the anime on anything, it’d be on how fast Kiri and Iwai manage to befriend each other. I mean, I get that teenagers have raging hormones, but smelling the hair of a girl you just met…wow. At the very least they’re getting all the fluffy introductions out of the way, such that the trials of Kiki and Iwai’s bond will charge full-speed, especially with the action scenes displayed in the preview (not capped). If you’re looking for a good blend of action, romance, and mystery and can get over the hair fetish, give Crime Edge a shot. Though possibly a bit iffy in setting up the story, this show is shaping up an uncommon formula for this season that’s worth following. Give it the three episode rule and see what you think!