I’ve always been a sucker of Chambara-styleshows. Fortunately, there’s always enough samurai-kill-’em-all types of anime (Some of my recent favorites include “Samurai Seven” (Gonzo’s adaptation of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai) and “Afro Samurai” (alright, I admit I haven’t seen this one… but with Samuel L. Jackson dubbing as the main character, how could anyone not like it?)
So here’s the “jewel” I’ve recently uncovered on BS-11: “Kurozuka” (黒塚).
Kurozuka is an adaptation of Yumebakura Baku’s (夢枕獏) novel with the same name. The story centers on Kuro (who’s really Minamoto no Yoshitsune [源義経], one of the most well-known generals of the Minamoto-Taira feud in Japanese history) who met a vampire Kuromitsu (黒蜜) during his escape. Of course, our leading protagonists unwittingly dies at the hands of enemies and becomes a vampire at the hands of the bewitching vixen (more or less).
After this, the story jumps back and forth between different eras – from Edo Bakufu to contemporary Japan. However, most of the plot takes place in the near-future, an earth after a great war.
The anime is a strange mix between sci-fi and sword-fighting drama, add in a little bit of cyberpunk and a lot of No (能) opera. Perhaps one of the coolest aspect of the series is the preview ending with a No actor singing out the next episode’s title.
Personally, I do not like Baku’s work (never been a fan of Onmyoji [陰陽師] series) but the topic proves to be very interesting. Yoshitsune is a legendary figure in Japanese history, someone who’s handsome, intelligent, and trained in martial skills. However, like all legendary heroes, his “Achilles Heel” resulted in him being chased from his brother’s army and a supposedly disgraceful suicide at the end.
So what if he became a vampire? That’s the great part of this work.
Of course, all the blood and violence… samurai chambara fans gotta love this work.
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