「神通の川原に舞う」 (Jinzuu no Kawara ni Mau)
“Dancing on the Bank of the River Jinzu”
This week’s episode of Kuromukuro picked up right where last week’s left off. After weeks of dillydallying, our leading duo finally steps into their next grand mech battle. What entails is surprisingly impressive spectacle, as well as an exciting prospect of things to come.
I’ve not been shy about professing my disgust with the onslaught of CG in this modern age of mecha anime. I perfectly understand its practical financial worth, but it usually makes for visually cluttered and awkwardly choreographed action. However, despite all that, Kuromukuro’s action this week was surprisingly engaging thanks to well-framed action, exciting intrigue, and cool mechs.
The action is crisp and contained, without ever getting overblown or convoluted. There’s a good amount of general fascination which comes with not knowing about these foreign alien mechs. Though I think more could have been done with dropping hints ad clues here to build up the mystery, there’s enough to chew on here to make it engaging enough. Also, the mechs themselves are far more interesting than I initially expected. The big bad from weeks past came back spruced up and ready to fight. While his extra ligaments felt a little out-of-place, they nonetheless lend themselves to some interesting fight choreography.
And that’s the thing too—Kuromukuro contains actual fight choreography. A lot of the reason why big CG mech battles don’t work is because the warriors are flying around in the air, awkwardly clashing against one another. Here, they’re actually engaging in well-thought out swordplay. The action is thus far more engaging and multi-layered than usually seen.
Also, it’s refreshing to see that the grunt human mechs are actually viable in battle. They’re not just uninteresting cannonfodder, but can actually hold their own in a fight. Good stuff.
What continues to be fascinating is the semi-organic nature of the mechs. We found out this week that our own protagonist’s unit is itself semi-organic, as we saw blood drip from the cabin’s exterior. One might posit that this is Kennosuke’s own blood, but I don’t think it matches up all that well with the sheer quantity of blood that we saw being shed. I’m curious to know why this is the case as the series continues—hopefully more will be said about the lore.
Speaking of which, we haven’t even gotten to the episode’s biggest moment. We finally get to learn a little bit more about our big bads—they look just like us! Though this episode doesn’t elaborate on this development, I’m excited to see where it leads us. Is it a little predictable? Yeah, all the way down to their weird pseudo-European jargon. Regardless, I’m happy that the show is committing more to scifi history drama as opposed to—you know—derivative high school antics *cough* *cough*