Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Shikabane Hime: Aka - Episode 1

Shikabane Hime is one of the series that most caught my attention upon its announcement as an anime series, mainly because.... Well, it has a dead high school girl with machine guns. Isn't that enough reason to be interested in anything?

Anyway, this opening episode of Shikabane Hime: Aka is strangely slow to fully introduce the major concepts of the series, preferring instead to dump all of the information on your lap like some kind of evil manager giving you lots of overtime and then leave you guessing until it gradually gives you a few hints about exactly what's going on.


Our introduction to the series comes basically through the eyes of Ouri, a young man living in some kind of temple/orphanage together with his (I'm guessing by their family names unrelated) 'brother', a priest named Keisei - Upon being awoken from his slumber one night, he stumbles across a seemingly dead girl, who is brought back to life by Keisei. After these bizarre events, he decides to move out to live on his own, and this first instalment runs Ouri's moving home against revelations as to the exact nature of the girl in question, who we learn is a Shikabane Hime (or corpse princess) who has been hired (or created, who knows?) to fight against less majestically titled Shikabane that are out to kill humans to continue their own existence. That explains the machine guns at least.

It's always difficult to cast any kind of judgement upon the opening episode of a new series, but this is especially the case with Shikabane Hime: Aka for the simple reason that it doesn't give us much to work with. Sure, all the pieces of the puzzle are there, but it's a bit like trying to put them together without being shown the final image on the box. Thus, at the end of this episode we're left with quite a lot of rather generic feeling moments, with a modicum of action that similarly has a bit of a "seen it all before" feel to it - If I'm honest that makes for an auspicious start in my book, but on the plus side there is plenty of room for growth in any number of directions, so if the series plays its cards right then it may be able to live up to its potential well beyond what we've been shown here in episode one.

1 comment:

Martin said...

If this proves to be a genre-defying classic-in-the-making I'll be overjoyed but to be honest, even if it stays as a straight-up action show it will still do the job just fine. The style's all there for sure but I'll watch another episode or two before passing judgement on whether the story will be anything special.

What am I saying? It's a Gainax show and therefore I feel duty-bound to see it through to the end! The only main variable then, is if it ends up surprising me or not.