The latest episode of Kurokami gets off to a pretty amusing start, with Kuro munching on uncooked ramen and giving Keita a peep show, as Akane walks in. Kuro realizing what’s up, gives Akane a little something something to stoke her flame with a peep show of her own.
Keita and Kuro now need to be physically near each other, because of the heart transplant surgery Kuro performed last week to save Keita’s life. This is particularly important in the first few days, otherwise both of them will die. Fortunately for us, it leads to a lot of funny scenes between Kuro and Akane. Kuro talks about staying close to Keita, not being able to do without him and wanting to sleep with him so they can “synchro.” All these to a.) not die and b.) not lose her abilities. Of course, Akane interprets those words with a totally different intent in mind. It’s your standard misunderstanding joke. But it never seems to grow old.
Akane and Keita go clothes shopping with Kuro, which leads to the single best image of the series so far: gothic lolita Kuro. *drool* I don’t know why that style is so enticing. Maybe because it’s a deliciously sweet & sour mix of cuteness and mystique. As with most of these weird styles, it typically looks much better in 2D than 3D. But in the rare cases that it looks good in 3D, it’s completely mesmerizing. But anyway, I digress. I think this whole scene only existed to show off Kuro’s cuteness, because in the end, even though she buys clothes, she doesn’t end up wearing them, choosing to go with her standard mountain rags and dog collar.
Unfortunately, the episode starts to go rapidly downhill from here. We get a glimpse of Kuro’s evil brother, who seems to be busy killing some people called “Tribal Ends,” sending his minions to find Kuro, and intimidating the konbini voyeur. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem like they see eye-to-eye completely. I’m guessing the konbini voyeur has bigger plans than what Kuro’s brother has in mind. We’re also introduced to Excel, the resident loli, and Steiner, her partner in crime. She’s noticed the unusually high amounts of tera in the area and has come to investigate. It seems like they have a good idea of what’s going on and who’s behind it.
Meanwhile, Keita heads to school while Kuro stays at home. Predictably, the bad guys track down Kuro and beat her soundly, as her abilities have been drastically diminished in lieu of the heart transplant. However, she manages to escape and tracks down Keita at school, who’s in the middle of a talk with his teacher about doppeliners. I’d thought it was suspicious how he’d been showing a little too much concern for Keita. But I was still a little surprised when he revealed himself to be one of the bad guys. Apparently he’s a villain too and proceeds to beat down on Kuro.
After a terrible beatdown, Keita stops acting like an idiot and decides it’s time for Kuro to kick some ass. This leads to a laughable power-up sequence in which Keita and Kuro “synchro.” This gives Kuro a super power boost, and she easily destroys Keita’s overmatched teacher.
So, let’s jump back to the beginning of the episode. I’m not sure if Akane was taking Kuro’s heart transplant talk seriously. Judging by her reaction, I don’t think she did. But then it doesn’t really make sense for her to tell Keita to get checked out at the hospital. Little inconsistencies like that bother me considerably. On another note, I can see why Keita doesn’t really give Akane a second glance. She just comes off as being a little too… motherly. I like Akane, but she’s surely no Tsugumi as far as childhood friends go.
The animation seemed to drop in quality this episode. Some of the fight scenes seemed a bit jerky, and there were a handful of other scenes where it looked like they skimped on some of the foreground details. Sort of disappointing considering it’s Sunrise. One of the things I’ve liked about them is their animation quality. Hopefully it’ll improve in future episodes.
What else needs to improve? The storytelling and the characterization. The premise, I think, is still really interesting. The whole thing with doppeliners and whatnot. But I’m disappointed that the konbini voyeur seems to be nothing more than your “I want to remake the world better” villain. And after some solid explanations last week about the doppeliner system, I was really disappointed that the whole synchro thing seems to be just dependent on Keita getting the fighting spirit. That whole power-up scene was terrible. It was like something out of Power Rangers or something. I’d be embarrassed to watch that in public.
But the biggest problem is with Keita. He hasn’t yet been likeable, but he hadn’t been totally unlikeable. And then the school scene happened. I was pretty disgusted by him as he stood idly by while his teacher sat on top of Kuro pounding on her. I realize Keita could feel some of the pain, but it doesn’t excuse him for not trying to pull his teacher off Kuro. He finally does something after his teacher lands like 20 punches, but even that (spraying the fire extinguisher) was pretty pathetic. He needs to a.) stop whining b.) stop being a pansy. Because right now he’s completely worthless as the main lead, and is dragging the show down.