「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.