By Leroy Douresseaux
December 26, 2008 - 13:27
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
Kurohime, the legendary witch-gunslinger challenged the gods, so they punished Kurohime for her folly by transforming her into a little girl named Himeko. Kurohime only regained her original body and powers because of the love a highly skilled young gunslinger named Zero. He died saving her life. In order to restore her powers to their fullest Kurohime must gather the powers of the Four Spirit Kings. If she regains her powers, Kurohime will also lose all her memories of Zero.
In Kurohime, Vol. 9, Kurohime and her companions (Kazuma, Asura, and Onimaru) are on the frozen heights of Mt. Ȏosore where they hope to find the Spirit King known as Lord Byakko, the White Tiger. However, Yuki Onna, the Goddess of Ȏosore, plans to turn the quartet into frozen statues – just as she’s done with Lord Byakko. That’s isn’t the only problem. Yashahime, the powerful high god bent on revenge against Kurohime, arrives with Zero’s soul in tow.
THE LOWDOWN: Initially, I didn’t have much hope for Kurohime being much of title. Except for creator Masanori Ookamigumi Katakura’s superb drawing skills, especially his penchant for drawing pin-up girls and girly cheesecake, Kurohime seemed like just another shounen manga (comics for boys) with a lot of weird characters, a weird setting, and even weirder plots. There is, however, a method to the weird madness. This is an epic fantasy – a sort of manga Lord of the Rings, with much imagination and a lot of thoughtfulness on the nature of friendship and loyalty.
Masanori Ookamigumi Katakura is truly a gifted manga-ka. His compositions tell of a skilled storyteller, and the draftsmanship of he and his assistants is high quality. He’s both a great creature designer and a whiz at drawing beautiful women – good girls and bad girls. As such, Kurohime is a visually potent reading experience.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Part of VIZ Media’s “Shonen Jump Advanced” line, Kurohime will appeal to young male readers interested in chicks that wear skintight clothing and carry big guns.