...and so, Shikabane Hime: Aka becomes Shikabane Hime: Kuro, granting us another thirteen episodes of action in the world of Corpses and the Kougon cult. Naturally, this series follows directly on from Aka which came before it, although at the start of this first episode we are fast forwarded six months from the point where Aka ended with the death of Keisei.
So, what's changes in those six months? Ouri is working hard in training to become a contracted priest, and to be honest he's not exactly doing brilliantly at this point in time. Meanwhile, Makina is still incarcerated, cursed by her continued devotion to Keisei despite his death, a devotion which is seeing her slowly rotting and eaten away by spirits looking to feast upon her energy. All the while, Shichisei have an interest of their own in Makina, and thus plan on paying her a little visit with the help of the Betrayer Priest. However, Ouri has heard about Makina's peril, and sets off to rescue her himself.
With Shichisei put in place as the series main enemy during Aka, the scene is set for more epic conflicts between themselves and the Kougon cult in Shikabane Hime: Kuro, while this particular episode is put to work more in terms of introducing a couple of new characters (including an intensely irritating otaku Shikabane Hime) and bringing Ouri and Makina back together to kick-start the story line. Although this is more of an episode fourteen than episode one realistically, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt as a mere scene setting instalment - Certainly, I hope it isn't a sign of Shikabane Hime losing its way, as this particular episode seemed cursed by the unfunny humour that has occasionally plagued it, coupled with some rather out of place fan service which also tended to leave the main point of the show's story neglected. Still, I felt much the same way about the opening episode or two of Aka, so with any luck Kuro will build up to become similarly watchable.