Kurohime Vol. #11 (Mania.com)

By:Greg Hackmann
Review Date: Friday, July 24, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I think my opinion of Kurohime as a series goes down a tiny bit each new volume.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Masanori / Ookamigumi / Katakura
Translation: Joe Yamazaki
Adaptation: Lance Caselman

What They Say
Kurohime is a buxom witch with the power to control magical guns. She once made the mistake of challenging the gods and was cursed for her foolishness! Transformed into a little girl named Himeko, she can only regain her former body and powers when she falls in love. But finding love in a world fraught with evil is no easy task.

Hime vs. HimeIn search of a way to save Zero's soul, Kurohime travels back in time! Arriving ten years in the past, Kurohime finds herself caught in a mighty battle involving her old enemies Barahime, Sword, and a busty cowgirl with deadly powers! Can a weakened Kurohime defeat a team of beautiful witch-gunslingers who use the same magic that she does? And there on the battlefield is a young boy named Zero..but what Kurohime doesn't know is the strange secret of Zero's past...

The Review!
At the end of Volume 10, Kurohime was given the chance to travel back into the past to Zero's childhood, with one condition: if she changes anything in the past, then she'll be erased from existence.  Volume 11 picks back up after Kurohime's consented to be sent a decade back into the past, dumping her in the middle of the great war between the Materen and a mercenary army led by Dokku.  Among the soldier's in Dokku's army of war orphans are Zero and his brother Ray, who Kurohime decides to watch over for the duration of her stay in the past.  ("Changing the past" gets conveniently redefined to "killing people or telling them your name", so it's apparently fine for her to participate in a major war so long as she fights under an assumed name and only kills the undead.)  In the meantime, the Kurohime Punishment Squad has inexplicably followed Kurohime into the past so that they can take her out while she's distracted by the ongoing war.  Since they're bound by the same restrictions against killing anyone from the past timeline, they come up with an alternate plan to draw out Kurohime by using Barahime to possess other people's bodies.

As you might expect from the war orphans mention, there's a lot of heavy-handed moralization mixed into this volume.  It's not in the least bit subtle -- at one point, Dokku is shown carrying around blood money in a sack with a dollar sign printed on it -- and it really rubbed me the wrong way.  Call me an elitist, but I don't think this series has earned a soapbox to lecture its audience about the moralities of war, especially when Katakura punctuates his message with scenes of Kurohime ripping her enemies in half and flashing her underwear at the reader.

Maybe worse, the story in this volume basically goes nowhere.  There's a ton of bad exposition to establish the setting (officers literally discuss what the war's about and their own stakes in the middle of the battlefield) but not much along the lines of true plot advancement.  Kurohime arrives; Kurohime fights in the war; everyone except Dokku mourns the dead; Kurohime starts fighting the Kurohime Punishment Squad; the volume ends.  Add in the second part of the "Village of Love" side story -- unfortunately just as bad for the first part -- and that's more or less it.

I'm honestly not trying to sound vitriolic here; it's just that I'm struggling to find much positive to say about this volume.  The one part of the story that I thought looked promising -- Kurohime's prohibition against changing the past -- changes so arbitrarily as the volume progresses that it might as well not be there.  As much as I'm trying to give this series a fair shake, this makes the third volume in a row that I can't recommend at all.

Mania Grade: D
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 7.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1421524207
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Kurohime