Anime Review: Shikabane Hime (2008)
Director: Masahiko Murata
Studio: Funimation Entertainment
Runtime: 600 minutes
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Corpse Princess: Shikabane Hime is a Japanese anime about a young teen named Ouri Kagami who discovers a mysterious dead girl named Makina Hoshimura, she comes back to life as a Shikabane Hime a dead corpse that battles other dead corpses in order to get into Heaven.
An Interesting Twist on Zombies:
The story is pretty well done. The concept of the undead fighting the undead is not new, but the idea of Shikabane is a unique spin on zombies, and I think the unique spin makes the series stand out. The anime spends a lot of time world building so you learn about what Shikabane are and how the monks help them get into Heaven. You also learn why the monks would use Shikabane Hime to fight other Shikabane.
The animation is by Studio Gainax, the company that made Fooly Cooly, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Gurren Lagann. The fights are very well done and everything else is basically good. I do like the character designs.
The fight scenes are very well done and the very intense, I love how these fights look, and the gunplay is very good. All the Shikabane Hime are unique in how they fight and it keeps the anime from being the same types of fights over and over again.
Shikabane Hime Complete Series SAVE Trailer:
I enjoy the plot and the characters. The girls are fascinating characters. They’re all very complex and have different reasons for becoming Shikabane Hime.
Makina Hoshimura and Ouri are the main characters and I thought they were both very good characters to focus on. Kesei Tagami is also a great character and there’s more to him than just the goofy persona he puts on for Ouri.
Will You Watch Shikabane Hime?
The English Dub:
Luci Christian is the standout of the English dub and she does really great as Makina Hoshimura and her performance is the best in the anime. Aaron Dismuke’s first big role after his performance as Alphonse Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, and he does all right as Ouri. His performance does improve in the second half of the anime. J. Michael Tatum is great as Keisei Tagami. I enjoy his performance and he’s really good.
The music fits the anime, but the opening theme “Beautiful fighter" by angela and it has a special ending for episode 4 "The Pale Sands of the Sleeping Star (眠れる星の蒼い砂)" by Mayumi, sung by Brina Palencia for the English dub. For episodes 2, 3-11 the ending theme is "My story" by angela and the ending theme for episode 13 is “Beginning” also by angela.
The musical soundtrack for the anime is also very nice and gives the series the eerie, creepy feeling it needs and sets the mod in every episode.
Shikabane Hime Opening "Beautiful Fighter":
Shikabane Hime Ending "My Story" by angela:
Major Flaw, This anime has no Proper Ending:
However, this anime doesn’t have an ending. It expects you to continue the story by reading the manga and it’s not licensed in the U.S. The last episode is the prologue. The non-ending is off-putting because the main plot is not resolved in the final episode at the end that’s very annoying
It Repeats Exposition About Shikabane A Lot:
Another thing that can annoy people is that the anime tends to repeat the exposition every few episode. It can become tedious after awhile because you can remember what Shikbane are and how they function. It drags down the anime because they don’t need to keep repeating the same exposition over and over.
What Doesn't Work:
Great Story, characters and animation
Good dub, soundtrack
Not all characters get enough focus
Excellent world building
Repeating exposition too often
Overall Grade: B-:
It’s not exactly worth buying, but it is streaming in Japanese and English on Hulu and FunimationNow, and also in Japanese onYouTube. It’s worth your time to watch but not necessarily worth buying unless you really like it. I do enjoy the series, but if they would have given it a proper ending, even if it didn’t follow the manga (which is not licensed in the United States), I would have been happier with it than I am. It’s an amazing anime; if only the ending could have lived up to how good the anime was throughout the entire story and not relied on a “read the manga” ending. It is disappointing that Shikabane Hime doesn't have an ending.
It is worth watching on FunimationNow or Hulu.
If you want to buy it, it’s very inexpensive, being part of Funimation’s S.A.V.E. lineup of great anime they’ve licensed. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell as much as their other more popular titles, you can buy it online at a very good price.
The Shikabane Hime manga is available for Amazon Kindle digitally as "Corpse Princes" and has no physical release.