Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kurozuka 09: Turtle Guy Strikes Back

As Kuro and his rebel friends prepare to siege the Red Emperor's Castle, turtle guy Kuromazu has his own axe to grind.
EPISODE 09: Running
More Screencaps from Kurozuka 09

Kuromazu's backstory: He's totally into mind games and people who can't answer his questions end up dead. The only person who seems immune to his mental manipulations is Kagetsu and because of that, he likes her. The two of them have been inseparable ever since.
However, with Kagetsu's death, Kuromazu finds himself alone once more. Hasegawa takes advantage of this, blaming Kuro for the act, thus, giving Kuromazu a deeper motive to kill him (Kuro). Speaking of Kuro, he and his rebel friends are on a jeep, heading towards the Red Emperor's castle. But knowing that the castle only lowers its bridge only once at dawn, they decide to stop for a brief rest. Karuta makes his famous taro soup but agonizes over the lack of beef, forcing him to use pork instead. Despite this, both Rai and Kuro find the dish delicious. Later, Karuta relates how the Red Emperor gained power by expanding his territories right after the apocalypse.
Rai expresses some concern about making it all the way to the Red Emperor's castle without being detected. But Karuta assures her that with his superior driving technique, they should be fine. Later, Rai is proven right when patrol helicopters spot them, forcing Karuta to put his driving skills into good use. Kuro helps by getting on Rai's motorbike and offering himself as decoy to let the others get away. He manages to get rid of one helicopter while Kuon takes care of the other one. Kuromazu then reveals himself and gives chase after Kuro.
Right before meeting up with the jeep, Kuro turns to face Kuromazu and gives him an impromptu facial lift with the wheel of his bike. Behind the driver's wheel, Karuta is not doing so good as he discovers he's been hit by a stray bullet. Further away, the drawbridge has been lowered and tanks from the Red Emperor's Army start to roll out. Karuta steps on the gas and speeds right past the patrol soldiers in the area. Castle security, alerted by the intruders' presence, immediately puts out the order to raise the bridge. To make matters worse, Kuromazu appears again, this time right in front of Karuta and Rai, scaring the living daylights out of them. Karuta's quick-thinking saves the day, however, as he suddenly accelerates, throwing Kuromazu forward and out of the jeep from the force of the inertia.
The jeep manages to make it past the bridge and into the castle but ends up in ruins. Rai survives and so does Kuro, who finds himself facing a still-alive Kuromazu. Then Rai finds Karuta's body lying in a heap on the ground and she goes to wake him, only to find her hands covered in blood. Back to Kuro, Kuromazu is asking him his favorite question: Are you dead or alive? Instead of answering, Kuro lets him taste his blade, and then he answers that it doesn't matter which is which because to him it's all the same. As Kuromazu falls to the ground, Rai sheds tears over Karuta's lifeless body.

No. He died. I can't believe they just decided to off him like that. Although I have to admit, he did not seem to have a role other than as comic relief in a thoroughly humorless storyline, I still feel kind of sad that he's gone. I did say that I liked his character. But, oh well.

This wasn't really much of an episode. The highlight is a car chasing scene and while that never gets boring, it does make blogging about the episode difficult. I mean, what am I supposed to do? I can't describe action like that. The whole thing is better watched than read. Even the screencaps don't do them justice. It's beautiful action, people.

Kuro comparing a motorbike to a horse is LOL but huh maybe he's right because he had no trouble whatsoever riding the bike despite it being his first time.

Kuromazu is an awesome villain. Even better than the other two -- Kagetsu and M. Bison. I actually expected a lot more from him, what with his mind-fucking abilities and all, but Kuro didn't even give him a chance. He just stuck his sword into Kuromazu's neck and that's that. Hot damn.

On the other hand, there's only like 3 more episodes left. So I guess the writers are pushing for the finale. I just wish the Red Emperor is going to be sicker than Kuromazu...because I want sick awesome villains dammit!

I think I'm going to read the manga again, just to get oriented to the original story again. Madhouse has made the plot of the anime so straightforward that I believe Kurozuka has lost much of its original charm.