Episode 8

「黒鷲の城」 (Kurowashi no Shiro)
“The Black Eagle’s Castle”

Episode 9

「岩屋に鬼が嗤う」 (Iwaya ni Oni ga Warau)
“The Demon Laughs in the Cavern”

I’m sorry. Please shut up and get in the robot.

Because of Kuromukuro’s highly irregular sub output, I’m back at you this week covering the series’ two most recent installments. Just before these episodes, Yukina hit an all-time low. She was already very much traumatized at the discovery of her human-natured enemies, but then her refusal to pilot the relic resulted in frustration and anger from those around her—escalating to a point which drew her mother’s hand. All facets of the characters insecurities were brought to the forefront: the fact that she—a high school student—didn’t belong in a battlefield, the lack of acknowledgment and respect with which people treat her, and her mired relationship with her mother. Each of these were stewing over the course of the series—how then does the show mean to properly address all of this?

Well, apparently with a lot of dilly-dallying. I thought very much that these two episodes would focus solely on overhauling—or at least significantly developing—Yukina as a character. The prior events would have seem to implied that. I think it’s apparent that Yukina up until these episodes was an entirely uninteresting character. The show would occasionally tap into some moments of great intrigue—such as her relationship with her mother, her history with her father, and now the trauma from her enemy’s suicide. However these moments were far and few in between, as her copilot was (once again) relegated most of the screen time.

She was in need of a large, catalyzing moment—one which would spark her character, and motivate her. We needed a reason to seriously root for her. For this personal regrowth to occur, she first needed to hit her lowest point, and that slap in the face two weeks back seemed like it would be the answer. This was finally the time to inject the character with drive—not to the point of unrecognizability, but at least to where she had substantial reason to get in the pilot’s seat.

Instead, larger fragments of screen time were devoted once again to Kennosuke. Granted, much of scenes were spent analyzing his relation to Yukina, but to what end? The episodes touched upon his refusal to express worry or care for her, and his unwillingness to treat her like a puppet. We got a good sense of his dynamic with her, as his unrelenting readiness to die in the heat of battle starkly opposed Yukina’s more contemporary consideration of life. The two have developed a bond now that each has to come to terms with, despite their teasing and tensions.

However, nothing was substantially developed enough to justify Yukina’s return, both in relation to Kennosuke and to her inner growth as a character. His eagerness for battle was a prime catalyst for her trauma—she felt somewhat used whenever he would take arms, and as a result, learned firsthand that she was not a soldier. This lack of respect was briefly touched upon right as she admits her concerns, but only barely so. The whole matter seems resolved with relative ease—just some internet advice and minimal coping on Yukina’s part. Not enough of a coherent conclusion was reached between the two to mend their Ken really needed to understand the importance of treating Yukina not as a means to an end, but an end in herself. She has her own feelings, thoughts, and concerns that should be taken into consideration. The fact that no one does makes Kennosuke that much more important of a character—as the only person that could or would take her seriously, thereby solidifying their dynamic.

Furthermore, the focus on Kennosuke in general took away from any sense of substantial development for Yukina. Again, Yukina received an unjustifiably little amount of screen time. The same lack of attention people treat her apparently extends to the screenwriters. They just sort of haphazardly strung together an arc for her. She gets lost then attacked in the woods, and then saved by some seemingly inhuman being, passes off the lot as nothing more than a dream, then gets found by her friends and announces that she’s okay to pilot the robot as long as people ask nicely. Ignoring the fact that her run-in with the other-worldly stranger was tonally jarring and distracting from the focus on character, it served no purpose to her arc. It was odd and out-of-place, but if it at least bore some narrative relevance then it would’ve been pertinent. Instead, it merely hints at some potential discovery, far down the road in a really distracting way. This general conclusion leaves a lot to be desired, as none of the fundamental insecurities haunting the character till now are addressed—only the disrespect she’s treated with is acknowledged, but only barely so.

Overall a lot of squandered potential in these past two episodes. I thought for certain that Yukina would receive some much needed motivation and development this time around—maybe something related to her past and her father. Instead, we were treated to material that made no noteworthy effort to amend the setbacks of weeks past. She seemed more than willing to come back after nothing more than just a little time to cool off, making her departure seem nothing than a temper tantrum, instead of the big character moment that I’d hoped it’d be. Even her relationship with her mother is fixed with but a flick of the wrist—not much more than a cursory apology. One could make the argument that her undying concern and anxiety for her daughter’s absence is enough to justify this, but that’s only on part of the mother. Yukina didn’t see any of that unfold, and yet she’s over what the series had presented as this hugely intense and dramatic moment. Yukina is still in dire need of a big uplifting moment, and if it didn’t come now, I’m not sure if it will. I’m hoping by at least the series’ halfway mark that she finally has a reason to step into the pilot’s seat.

Also why do these high school boys keep getting screen time. Pls no.

Editor’s Note

Sorry for the double-post! As mentioned at the beginning of the entry (and a few weeks back) Kuromukuro’s subs are uploaded at erratic and often unpredictable times due to unconventional broadcasting circumstances. Usually they don’t come up any later than Friday or Saturday, but Episode Eight was put up just last Tuesday, and I had no time to cover it until now. Thanks for understanding!




  1. I didn’t mind her “sudden” willingness to pilot since I can kind of get where she’s coming from. She knows she’s probably is going to be forced to co-pilot the artifact regardless of her feelings. She knows she may have to participate in killing seemingly human pilots. She knows that she, Kennosuke, her fellow pilots, friends, everyone are literally facing death. In the absence of any real control, of course she would some some semblance of choice regardless of little it actually is.

    That said, I really expected a little more fight rather than just pretty much resigning herself to the task. Maybe the “dream” affected her more than we’ve seen.

      1. It’s also very specific stuff – TVs, radios and some timepieces. Either the alien really likes Earth entertainment or it’s a makeshift comms device to contact his people.

  2. What baffles me is why, when the UN people showed up, they did not removed the kid’s camera and stopped him streaming. Surely what he is doing is breaching security protocols and counter productive for the military operations. Not to mention he is treating the whole war thing as a park ride.

    I’d say I hope he gets hit by an errant missile and die, but at this rate both of them seem to be the comedy duo who will survive -_- Maybe it’ll take someone dying as a consequence of his idiotic antics for him to realize what a tool he is being. Or someone will dye, he will keep streaming and then face the consequences when the victim’s family confronts him.

    1. Compared to mainstream media it is pretty hard to stop individual streamers. Not only that he wasn’t originally near the alien fight but moved there and I doubt the UN wants to send people in close to such a dangerous area.

      There is also the whole PR press thing given how he leaked the first live stream if they took away his camera and arrested him it would be very bad news for the UN in terms of public opinion. Suppressing information after it already got out is just bound to make things worse so they probably just stopped caring.

      1. To be fair, this is the first time UN personnel find them. They would probably get arrested or put under surveillance after this episode.

        I really do hope those two idiots eat a missile or katana in their face. Moreso for the camera guy.

      2. They are idiots but I’m pretty sure the UN knows exactly who they are especially since they are enrolled at the school made for families living/working at the UN research area. Not to mention he probably has made it extremely big on the internet given he streamed first contact by a live stream with everyone from government, business, people watching. To arrest and confiscate their camera live while a second encounter with aliens is going on would make an instant global PR disaster especially since they haven’t technically entered the battle area when they were caught so to speak.

  3. Well personally i think many people expected too much for this show(not that’s a problem since most mecha shows did a complicated story, or at least try to).

    But from what i see, Kuromukuro won’t be a complicated story, it will be…like Slice of Life between Ken and Yukina, and personally i don’t think they wasted her development, because when she talk to Ken in episode 7, we can see Yukina knows she have to get in the robot, and if Ken respond with a better answer(at least don’t told her “i will kill myself after i beat the aliens”), she likely already agree to get in, because in the end she just afraid of it, not some more “deep” reason so refuse get in the robot.
    So her feeling in episode 9 is a bit unexpected, but actually make sense(to me at least), and i pretty like the “ask me nicely” scene, feels she also wanna treated like a princess by someone, at least for once lol.

    That said, PA Works 2 cour shows like to goes with really weird and sudden way in middle episodes(see NnA, and well that’s not a bad thing), so i’m not surprise if some plot twist will happen in 2-4 episode later.

  4. JIG I have to say I don’t completely agree with your opinion that Yukina is an underdeveloped character.

    There is some development but is very subtle and not so in your face as in most anime shows. Yukina is a girl which had to do a lot, in the earlier episodes we can see that’s she cooks and cleans the house. Her mother just abandons the family live and expects Yukina to pick up the pieces. She doesn’t have any real hobbies, no clear passions except she wants to go to Mars… For me it is clear that Yukina never got to be a real child who plays and dreams. Her father went away after she called him a liar and that was pretty traumatic for her. I think that after that she just couldn’t tell anybody how she really felt about it because she was ashamed. That kind of feeling keep staking up until it comes out the wrong way, see episode 7. Yukina even says in that episode that she doesn’t like her own behavior, but is clear to me that she doesn’t know how to stop it.
    I can see why people think Yukina is a lackluster character but for me she is just a confused teenager. I recognize myself in Yukina the way she acts all sullen and moody, she is just not used to express her feelings in an constructive way.

    For me it was logical that the poor girl just wanted someone to say thank you to her. Yukina was probably just fed up with being the good girl which just does everything for everybody else. She is indeed a bit awkward and unfocused but when I was eighteen I was much worse than her. I think that a lot of anime viewers forget that it is not normal for a girl to just run a family household on her own or just get in robot to save the world. Not in my country anyway. Of course children should learn basic life skills but that doesn’t mean that they should do everything on their own. Maybe that is the difference between Japanese culture and my own but I think that if you have a child you should be there for them. Money and your own interest or dreams aren’t the only things that are important. All those girls in anime who live alone, cook dinner alone and not complain about is just disturbing to me. Show’s like gourmet girl graffiti where a breath of fresh air because there was this trope girl who actually said she was lonely. (still too much of a docile main character for me)

    I can see where you are coming from though and totally agree that the writers are not giving Yukina the attention she needs. I can guess at the things hinted above but I want the writers to show it to me ! Hopefully there will be more attention for Yukina in later episodes and I would personally love it if she doesn’t become one of those ‘good’ girls. Dear writers of Kuromukuro you can let Yukina be sullen, moody and childish but please just tell her story with a bit more gusto…

    1. I have no problem with Yukina’s behavior or reaction, or her as a character. What I don’t like is how the anime choose to handle/resolve her inner confict and unwillingness to pilot the robot.

      She also doesn’t show many surprised reaction when she met her classmates who are supposedly missing or dead (they came back after she went missing, so the news did not reach her)

  5. https://randomc.net/image/Kuromukuro/Kuromukuro%20-%2009%20-%20Preview%2001.jpg

    For those who don’t know, Area 51’s a top secret US Air Force base whose operations are generally unknown by the public (recently declassified documents from the 60s and 70s suggest it’s a research centre for developing US Army technologies, like stealth tech for planes). The massive secrecy surrounding the base has led to various urban myths about its activities, mainly that it stores/hosts alien artifacts and beings, or that it researches fantastic technologies like time travel and weather control.

    For Kuromukuro’s universe, it would seem Area 51 WAS storing an alien artifact, the capstone which Fusnarnie stole. Wonder if the Americans will come knocking at UN Kurobe to ask the prisoner a few “questions”…

  6. The second Efidolg mech went down way too easy. The pilot’s attitude makes it reek of a trap that just got laid.

    My opinion about the guy in the woods was that Yukina’s father made contact with him and he either killed the dad (the boring option) or it actually *is* Yukina’s father who was either possessed, brainwashed, or willingly took over the guy’s mantle (it would explain how long he’s been around).

    I’m still also of the opinion that there is much more we haven’t seen regarding the Washiba clan. For all we know, they were collaborators (it would explain how they got Glongur in the first place) and Kennosuke was just an unwitting pawn.

    Then again, one of Ken’s flashbacks clearly involves a second Glongur (or mech that looks sufficiently like it. Maybe the Kuromukuro isn’t even Glongur, lol.

    And -please- get rid of or kill the Aida Kensuke wannabe. His effing attitude makes me want to see him get killed.

    1. And an even better theory: Kennosuke’s princess was an Efidolg plant who later defected. It would explain how they got Glongur, how the princess was apparently a copilot and how Yukina (assuming she’s a descendant of the Princess) managed to reactivate the Cube (ties to genetic line?)

      And maybe I’m wrong – we’ll see. 🙂

      1. My impression was that the 2nd pilot only surrendered as a backup plan, now that the original “get and grab Glongur” plan failed because of the shielding vulnerability and the surprise GAUS backup.

        The rest is as you say though. No doubt he’s looking for both extra intel and a secure future escape route.

      2. @zztop

        Now that the gravity tractor vulnerability is known and tested it will make it a lot harder for the aliens to redeploy without getting pinned down literally by conventional weapons. Imagine if Russia knew about the gravity tractor vulnerability and double tapped with another nuke (probably not a good idea still due to the fallout).

    1. The UN people probably gave him a cellphone so that in an emergency they could contact him. Also they have been showing him using a tablet previously and a cellphone is just a small tablet.

  7. *Sigh* Sorry, but Yukina still came off as selfish to me, especially with the way things get resolved. I mean, Kennosuke and Yukina’s mother spend all that time trying to find her, worried about her, and she, once again, just assumes Kennosuke only did so just to make her pilot only for him to tell her AGAIN that she doesn’t have to, and yet when he goes to leave without her after being informed of the impending attack, what does she do? Cry out and demand for him to think about how SHE feels.

    And to top it all off, she had that tantrum and ran off, worrying and even endangering everyone…because she felt people weren’t asking her nicely enough to pilot…? Even though no one had up to that point had actually demanded/ordered/tried to force her to pilot in the first place and even did the opposite by telling her that she didn’t/shouldn’t have to? And she couldn’t simply tell people that it was such a simple reason in the first place…why? They tried to make it look like there was some deep-seated issue, but it was literally just an “ask me nicely” reason? Really?

    I also wish they would stop giving attention to those two classmates unless they are truly being set up to die (which I doubt).

    On a personal note, anyone who can look at war so joyously like the glasses guy automatically annoys me if not even pisses me off a bit. If he was simply sitting at home and watching things unfold on TV, far away from it all, I could understand him being ignorant like a lot of people would be, but to be so up close and personal the way he is and still have that dumb smile while recording it…it makes me wish I could (magically without consequence anyway) take him back in time and throw him into the battlefields of World War I, II, or the Vietnam War and then see him still try to smile and laugh so childishly while recording such carnage and bloodshed.

    I’m no soldier/veteran, but even I know that war is never something to smile and laugh about no matter how close or far away from it you are, and to do so means you must have some screws loose.

  8. Despite how the above comments have been pointing at how much or how little screentime / development Yukina has, We didn’t exactly see what journal entry she was reading that allowed her to be able to express herself and be persuaded back that easily.

    And that’s the only thing that irritates me atm…

  9. Yukina’s turn was forced, though Kennosuke gets points for effort.
    Net answers were ridiculous in the fact they were about what you would get from the net…
    Gosh those classmates are getting on my nerves, and as with most annoying characters they will probably be least likely to die… (btw this is no Evangelion, nobody died yet – from named characters at least…)


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