「闇に臥したる真」 (Yami ni Fushitaru Makoto)
“The Truth Shrouded in Darkness”
「黒部の夏に地獄を見る」 (Kurobe no Natsu ni Jjigoku o Miru)
“A Glimpse of Hell in the Kurobe Summer”
Kuromukuro is its own worst enemy.
Episode eleven of Kuromukuro provided just the kind of twist the show was sorely needing. Not only did our renegade prisoner stir up all kinds of demented chaos, but he also revealed that there’s more to our friendly samurai Kennosuke than we initially imagined. I’ve state before that Kennosuke is by far the show’s most captivating character, and that delving into his backstory and origin would do nothing but good for the series. Well we find out that all of this could potentially be a lie—that all of his precious memories and codes of conduct could be a complete fabrication. His life as he knows could be a lie. This is a groundbreaking revelation. Could Kennosuke have been a part of the very demons he’s sworn to defeat. Could he really not have been the precious princess’s guardian? Could he have been her enemy? This presumably shatters the reality and mental fortitude of our protagonist. This is some potentially life-altering shit. It’s just the right kind of kick in the balls the show needs—to revitalize an otherwise lagging plot. So how then does Kuromukuro plan to develop and extrapolate from this insane twist?
Well, with some good ol’ boot camp fun, apparently.
This twist—the one that was supposed to veer the series into all kinds of intense revelations and character development—is completely ignored in the subsequent episode. Instead, the series opts once again for some casual, humorous fun with its characters. Kuromukuro has proven its capacity for engaging drama and character development. The series has all the makings of a genuinely quality sci-fi show. This last revelation suddenly made even the clichéd and uninspired villains interesting. How does Kennosuke really tie into their union—what answers can they provide for ol’ Kenny’s true backstory? The show was finally supposed to kick into second gear. However, the series frequently insists on incorporating lighter, high school fun which does nothing but break the momentum of the show.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against this kind of tone in general, or even that Kuromukuro attempts provide it. It’s often privy for some genuine character development and relationships, as well as some genuine good times and humor. If anything, we got a real—if minimal—sense of Kennosuke and Yukina’s budding relationship, as well as Yukina’s growing sense of confidence. However, the show sloppily incorporates it into the plot, often awkwardly breaking the series’ pacing with these segments. Hot off the heels of episode eleven’s bomb of a reveal, the show curiously decides that now is suddenly the right time for some light-hearted training montages, completely ignoring the preceding events. Isn’t Kennosuke at all phased at what green-hair said? Isn’t Yukina at all scarred by those seriously traumatic massacres? Rather than organically address all the intense shit that just went down, the series jumps right into some light humor. The right pieces are all here, just oddly placed, leading to some jarring shifts in tone. These elements need to be blended together more seamlessly. As I said before, it’s as if Kuromukuro is having a hard time deciding what kind of show it wants to be.
Unfortunately, I will be dropping Kuromukuro for the upcoming summer season. This isn’t because I dislike the show, despite the contents of the preceding review. I’m genuinely enjoying it despite its flaws. However, you might’ve noticed how late this post has come up. Due to the show’s unconventional broadcast schedule, subs come up at erratic and unpredictable times. It’s often the case that they come up during times when I am unable to punctually cover them—sometimes almost a week after the episode airs. As a result, I’m unable to promptly cover the show. So yes, I like the show, and I enjoy covering it. Just not enough to deal with this level of unpredictability. That combined with the fact it wasn’t announced as a twenty-four episode show when I started covering it, has resulted in my decision. I’m sorry to disappoint those who enjoyed my coverage and the series in general, I still plan on following it and hope that it goes nowhere but up. I hope you guys understand, and thanks sincerely for your patronage.
Netflix has officially released the 1st 13 subbed episodes of Kuromukuro for viewing on their website (billed as Season 1). Hopefully this series will receive a bit more attention now.
Netflix Support says they are currently considering whether or not to release the remaining episodes weekly.
The fansub releases have been erratic because its translator was busy with other things (likely work) and because their staff were away at last week’s Los Angeles Anime Expo. In addition, priority is given to subbing Macross Delta first (Kuromukuro being their 2ndary pick).
>priority is given to subbing Macross Delta first (Kuromukuro being their 2ndary pick).
Not really, it’s actually Delta and Kuromukuro translated by different person, so if both person not so busy, both should be able to release within 24 hours.
And we’re STILL getting that annoying classmate stalking Yukina and making himself continue to look like an ignorant idiot.
First he thinks getting a high score in a video game is somehow indicative of being a good GAUS pilot like ignorant Call of Duty/Battlefield players think being good at those games somehow means they would be badass soldiers in real life and think that the games are representative of how things work in real battlefields.
Now he tries to do the boot camp (why and how was he even allowed to go? Just because his dad works there?) and can’t even last ONE day before quitting and going home due to a careless ankle injury (which I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just a sprain and not even a fracture/break). I actually could have began gaining some respect if he actually toughed it out and started realizing how hard becoming a GAUS pilot really is, which could lead to him becoming a better person and possibly even a new pilot.
What next? Is there going to be an attack and he decides to hijack a GAUS to try to prove to everyone that he’s a good pilot, only to make the GAUS fall over while attempting to make it take one step and possibly damaging it in some way that results in it getting severely damaged due to something going wrong due to that damage and resulting in the actual pilot(s) being injured or even killed?
There’s still 13 more eps to go. Anything is possible depending on what the scriptwriters want.
On episode counts, I can understand Jig’s frustration with the writing holding back major plot reveals in favour of slice of life developments for these current episodes. But keep in mind that PA Works shows have usually emphasised these slice of life/character themes. Secondly, having 26 eps means the writers can afford to stretch the story out.
Considering we’re almost halfway through, I would prefer they started getting the ball rolling on any development they have planned for the guy rather than wait late in the series to suddenly spring it in some convenient moment or something. This was one of those perfect opportunities to move the classmate forward at least a bit the way I said – tough out the boot camp and come to the harsh realization that becoming a GAUS pilot is NOT something so easily done (just because Sophie had the aptitude to do it doesn’t mean nearly anyone can do it) thus changing his attitude to be more serious in truly wanting to become a pilot rather than merely doing it because he’s hoping to get into Yukina’s panties.
I don’t even know what are they “frustration” for lol, but maybe because i already watched episode 13 and know what happened in that episode.
Gee wiislkerl, that’s such a great post!
I still think the streaming guy is the most annoying character who deserved to die.
My theory’s that the Efidolg are parasite aliens who possess the bodies of abducted ancient humans to get around (similar to the Magius from Valvrave the Liberator). It would account for how Fusnarnie seemed to have no knowledge of who or what Sadakoro Saito was when Kennosuke was confronting him, especially if Fusnarnie’s completely overtaken the real Saito’s persona (Or Fusnarnie forgot the last time he came to Earth disguised as a feudal retainer, but that seems too far off.).
If you rewatch Ep 8, there’s a scene where Kennosuke’s remembering when the Washiba Castle was still intact (the princess is in a palanquin). At the start on his right hand side you can see Sadakoro Saito/Fusnarnie in a kimono and topknot hairstyle.
There’s also an equally valid brainwash theory going around, saying the real aliens have brainwashed the humans into working for them. (It would explain Fusnarnie’s implied claim of Kennosuke’s brainwashing not working properly).
Mmmm…giant curry-stuffed riceball.
“Due to the show’s unconventional broadcast schedule, subs come up at erratic and unpredictable times.”
We can all blame Netflix for that. If it weren’t for them, Funi or Crunchyroll probably would have picked it up, and then we would have had weekly episodes; and they’d be on time. Instead, we all had to resort to fansubs. And as always, the release is usually erratic when it comes to fansubbers. To be honest, can’t say I’m too happy with Netflix getting current anime lately, as they always wait for the whole series to be finished(or halfway done) to finally release the episodes. It sure would be nice if they’d start releasing the episodes weekly, going by the first comment here.
Anyway, thanks for blogging this series. I’m sure it helped more people notice Kuromukuro. Any bit helps. It’s very underrated, so I hope more people pick it up in the future.
This is due to Netflix’s primary costumer base – many of them are binge watchers. It makes sense for Ntflix to cater to them from a business perspective, although its the minority viewers like us foreign fanbases that get shortchanged because of it.
its because theres only one fansub group that they can afford to be erratic. Thats how fansubs always were as long as i can remember. No competition = no need to release as soon as possible.
It’s unfortunate that you are unable to properly cover this show weekly due to the erratic release schedule for the subs. But I hope you able to give your concluding thoughts when the series is over.
No more coverage? That’s a bummer, but I get the situation. Despite the narrative flaws you pointed out, it’s still an immensely enjoyable show. Too bad there aren’t that many mecha shows nowadays (Gundam IBO should come back next season, though).
…”Total Recall” with Arnold Schwarzenegger… Plot twist?… Nice.. but not unique
Exactly what time does it air??
Yeah, this show does have some weird pacing.
Fun note about Ogisa’s cosplay: the outfit she’s wearing is from another PA Works show, specifically Tari Tari. It’s what Sawa is wearing in Konatsu’s imagination during the scene in Episode 11 where they’re reviewing the script for their musical. Also the two girls who are with Ogisa in one of the cosplay pictures appear to be wearing the outfits that Wakana and Konatsu were wearing in Konatsu’s imagination as well.
I kinda enjoyed the training montage, especially how it apparently helped Yukina become a bit more confident, but yes the pacing in this show is kinda weird. Sorry to see this show dropped, but I can understand why. Looking forward to the rest of it too!