Saturday, 6 December 2008

Shikabane Hime: Aka - Episode 7

What happens when a nerd at school who has been bullied by all and sundry (including a teacher) gets electrocuted and becomes a Corpse? Why, he suffers from delusions of grandeur, seeing himself as some kind of comic book hero, even spouting off about "great responsibility coming with great power" and all sorts. Oh, and he 'Blogs about the whole thing if that wasn't bad enough - Told you he's a nerd.

Anyway, the (now dead) student in question happens to have been a pupil at Ouri's school, and once he realises what has happened he ends up deciding to drag himself into the situation as per usual, although at least on this occasion he actually genuinely chooses to stand up and "fight" rather than simply becoming a bystander as all Hell breaks loose around him. However, this time around he's left without his brother and Makina (who are both still recovering from the goings-on last episode) to bail him out, with Isaki and his Shikabane Hime Minai taking on that role instead.

While the pure Corpse-based action angle of this episode works really well (not least because this particular Corpse is "cursed", and thus holds its own additional special power), this is supplemented by some further delving into the relationship between the Contracted Priests and their Shikabane Hime. While Ouri asking Makina if she's Keisei's girlfriend gets short shrift, we see a decidedly odd and almost schizophrenic reltionship that has built up between Isaki and Minai (violent on the one hand but almost lustful on the other from Iksaki's side of things), and also get to hear more about what happened to Akane, the "betrayer priest" we encountered in the last story arc. Couple this with some more about what drives Makina to act as a Shikabane Hime, and why Minai is a corpse, and you have a surprising amount of character depth beginning to built up within this series that on the surface initially appeared to be little more than "hot dead girls with guns".

So, while the horror aspect of Shikabane Hime has been all but lost in the wash, and the "humorous" aspects of this series continue to fall as flat as a cake without self-raising flour, this episode as a whole was a good one, and dare I say one the better instalments of the series. It seems that this show does best when it offers a little more depth of character beyond corpses versus Shikabane Hime, and its that depth that was present in spades here to make for a really interesting episode, a lesson that hopefully won't be forgotten as the show progresses. The cliffhanger to this instalment also has me suitably intrigued as to whether the series is headed next, so episode eight could well continue in a similar vein.

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