Last week we checked out the first part of Corpse Princess from FUNimation. The series turned out to be a blast after a rough start and by the end it definitely won me over. The show was packed with a no-holds-barred action mentality, a good sense of humor, and loads of character development. Does the second season fair as well as the first?
Corpse Princess follows the exploits of a Shikabane Hime named Makina Hoshimura. Makina was murdered in her former life and was brought back to life by Keisei Tagami, a Buddhist monk with ties to a group known as the Kougun Sect. Together they fight the Shikabane and seek to open the gates of heaven for Makina. It's a pretty straightforward concept that's easy to grasp and the show actually does quite a decent job of explaining things right out of the gate.
Many of the events in Corpse Princess are seen through the eyes of Ouri Kagami, who is a boy that happens to live with Keisei. Ouri witnessed Makina being brought back to life and some time later came upon her battling a Shikabane. Naturally he was a little shocked at first, but since he lived in a Buddhist temple spirits and the dead never really bothered him. The series tells a story that brings the two closer together and by the end of the first season it left things open for further adventures in the second. I don't want to give much away, but let's just say the first season killed an important character and changed the dynamic of another.
So when the second season begins Ouri is going through training to be ordained as a Buddhist monk so that he may become a good handler for Makina. The going isn't exactly easy, and the two personalities frequently clash, but Ouri has good intentions and comes to care deeply for Makina. I think the same can be said on the flipside, however, Makina's Shikabane side is always omnipresent.
The story in the second season of Corpse Princess gets a bit more complex as a group of villains known as the Seven Stars really steps into the spotlight. These Shikabane are working together towards a common goal, which is something of a rarity. Unfortunately for Ouri that common goal seems to be getting revenge upon him for something his mother did, however, his new abilities, friendship with Makina, and acquaintance with other Shikabane Hime definitely comes through in the end.
The pacing of the series continues to advance rapidly with a great focus on the action and flashy segments. Fan service is more prevalent in these episodes and the humor really stands out as well. Sometimes these elements are at odds with the darker tone, but more often than not the content works well.
It's not a huge success with what it intends to be but Corpse Princess is an entertaining popcorn-munching kind of show. It's a crowd pleaser that is sure to endear itself to anyone looking for an action-oriented series with a supernatural motif. Consider it strongly recommended, but this second part is only for those who have seen the first obviously.
Corpse Princess is presented on DVD with 1.78:1 aspect ratio and has been enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show has a very polished design to it with detailed artwork, smooth animation, and an overall unique look. Some of the Shikabane really stand out for their design aspects. As far as the presentation is concerned the show is no slouch either. Bold colors, rich black levels, and strong contrast are everywhere in this series. Since Corpse Princess features a tale about the undead the action takes place mostly at night and there is some grain that lurks its way into the picture. It's not bad by any means, but it does leave the show looking a little murkier than it probably should.
Japanese 2.0 stereo and English 5.1 Dolby Digital are the sources of audio for Corpse Princess. As usual with FUNimation the dub quality is pretty good and the cast is on par with the Japanese. Personally though, I felt the Japanese had the slight edge. The English took the cake with regards to the action, however. The added presence on the soundstage worked well for some of the actions sequences and the music, though it did little for the dialogue with was front-centric. English subtitles are included.
For bonus features there is an audio commentary with the English cast for the final episode, clean animations, and a selection of trailers.
The second season of Corpse Princess carries the torch of the first extremely well. The introductions are mostly out of the way and for the most part the series focuses on the core plot. Antagonists come out of the woodwork here and there's some nice history revealed for both Makina and Ouri. If you enjoyed the first half of the show, then the second is a nice change of pace and focus. It's worth picking up and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a nice supernatural action anime.
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