黒塚 (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
A story of obsessive love and constant pursuit told over a 1000 year period. Escaping from a brother who had just ascended the throne, Yoshitsune, along with his servant, comes across a house in the middle of a desolate mountain. Oddly enough, only a young woman lives there, who seems to possess a very dark and ominous past.

It starts out with Kurou meeting the beautiful women by the name of Kuromitsu, thus began a relationship which transcends life and memories. A journey of immortals and those who chase after it. The majority of this story takes place a few centuries into the future where Kurou is separated from Kuromitsu and is left without memories. He then begins a search for answers to as to who he is, why he is unable to die and who was the women he is so transfixed upon. (summary of manga from Baka-Updates)

Animation by MADHOUSE.
Began airing on Oct 07, 2008.
12 TV episodes. (~24 min)

Read the translated manga online at MangaFox
"黒塚" (actually spelled "kurotsuka" as roumaji) in this combination appears to be used as family name only; as individual Kanjis, ↗黒 means "black" or "bad guy" and ↗塚 means "(grave) mound".

1:21min Series Opening - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 9 8 9 6 6 6 Ggultra2764 [series:1921#1552]
Kurozuka focuses around a feudal lord named Kuro who gains immortality from a woman named Kuromitsu in feudal era Japan and tries locating her whereabouts in a post-apocalyptic Japan taken over by an enemy military faction he was fighting with centuries earlier. His journey in finding Kuromitsu leads Kuro to encounter both allies from a resistance movement and enemies from said military faction who desire to abduct Kuro in their desire to obtain immortality. Essentially, the series plays out your typical black-and-white moral plot in its focus on Kuro's struggles and it is formulaic to a good extent as we get "enemy of the day" style episodes for plot, many of the villains existing only as obstacles in Kuro's struggles and being completely irredeemable and members of the resistance movement being sacrificial lambs to aid Kuro. Beyond Kuro and Kuromitsu, there isn't much development of many of the other characters seen throughout this series as they simply exist to fulfill whatever roles they have within Kurozuka. On the plus side, the romance played up between our two leads is a convincing with the lengths both go through to aid one another, a good amount of depth is provided on what Kuro had been doing throughout the centuries he was apart from Kuromitsu and the series is a rather visually pleasing one with its detailed scenic shots and great fight choreography during heated battle scenes. Do be warned that this baby is rather violent as plenty of blood is spilled and a number of deaths involve dismemberment and decapitation at points in the show.

Otherwise, Kurozuka is a bit of a mixed bag for me as a series. While having a decent amount of fleshing out on our two leads, the series is mostly rather typical with its story development and the majority of other characters seen in the series don't have much to them beyond whatever roles and archetypes they have to fulfill. I suppose your mileage may vary with this one.

Last updated Saturday, December 13 2014. Created Wednesday, February 15 2012.
Buy 9 9 10 8 9 9 Dreamer [series:1921#2279]
This is probably one of the most graphic and gruesome series I've seen to date. With some amazing fight scenes, disturbing characters and epic story, this one's a keeper.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork was pretty good. At times it seemed surreal with rich vibrant colors as backdrops.... although it was more gruesome since a lot of was done in blood. Character designs were flawless. They were very detailed and unique. Kuromitsu had some stunning eyes! Her eyes were both haunting and beautiful.

The OP was an interesting sway from the norm. It was a death-metal piece with hard lyrics and male vocals. Though I'm not too much into death-metal, it was a welcome change of tune. The rest of the soundtrack had a variety of dramatic pieces that did well for the series. The ED was a nice lullaby type of piece... which sounded pretty okay.

Series and Episode Story
This series had intensely gruesome scenes, twisted characters and a riveting story to go along with it. As the story transcends time (millenia), the story unfolds chaotically and fast. You'll have to really pay attention to everything and every detail. It quickly jumps between centuries and back all in the name of love. I suppose it gives a new meaning to the phrase "Love transends time". God, the end was super bloody... I mean, blooooody!! You can almost mark this as a horror. But aside from that, I didn't know how to take the ending. It seemed dis-jointed and when you reach the end, it circles right back to the beginning (watch the series and you'll know what I mean). I'll have to watch this one again later.

Overall, this was one bloody and grotesque series. But the plot was outstanding and very engaging.... if not confusing at first. Worth it here.

Last updated Tuesday, December 29 2009. Created Tuesday, December 29 2009.
Watch 8 9 6 7 6 6 Xenoknight [series:1921#2967]
final review soon...

I thought this title was going to be tough to watch at first. I felt like the events of half the ep were a little too "deep" (in a sense) for an intro ep. I was bored out of my mind until the last ten minutes were things got insanely interesting. Things started to escalate from there with a sudden but intriguing romance (it does happen like that sometimes, believe it or not) and grotesquely violent action sequences that sparked my interest enough to immediately continue watching the next ep.

Ep 2 was really something. A confusing intro (again) with the cycle repeating itself but things go very different this time around with monks forcing the man into madness and amnesia. As for where the story left off, we learn that blood is the key to immortality and things go well (by this titles' standards) until their pursuers catch up to them and cause more blood and violence as a result. I was shocked to see just how far the leader was "cutting into Kuromitsu" to find what he was looking for. He was about to open her up like a bag of chips (LOL)! Yoshi then turns into a crazy brolic beast warrior (super-saiyan status) and gives his enemies a bloodbath (the screen was completely red). The guy who was mentally warped in the first half of the ep (the one who disappeared after leaving for the medicine in ep one) returns and lets just say that he ruins everyone's day in an instant! The main lead wakes to find that something went terribly wrong while he was out...

Ep 3 was great as well. This title is really great in the way they keep the ball rolling without having to let the viewer lose any interest. More violence, brutality, and solid story telling filled the ep to the brim with nothing but raw entertainment. The main lead got a eye full of neon lights and the cool city atmosphere. I didn't want to blink for the fear that I could miss something important. Quite some time has passed for the main lead and things didn't stay quiet while he was gone either (the story was a doozey). And once again, he gets severely slashed and left for dead (for the third time in a row now).

Ep 4 is where things start to fall into place. He finds a group that can help him track down his love and they aren't as "good" as he would like to believe. He is now in a "scratch my back and i'll scratch yours" type situation.

Ep 5 shows the enemy actively on the move (brutally killing masses of people in experiments) while the main lead goes to meet the groups leader (Saniwa). She tests him mentally with images of death as well as love. The enemy army barges in and attacks (!) and things get bloody real quick. The main lead asks for his sword and we know where this notion is headed...

Ep 6 had some impressive fight sequences as well as a huge turning point in the story. A certain betrayal spells doom for the gang but (as far as karma is concerned) "those who seek power will only be consumed by it" is all that needs to be said.

Ep 7 was kind of cool. They all reach the location but are greeted with dead bodies everywhere. The place was attacked by the red army and they are all greeted by two of the strongest captains outside! Kuro draws his blade and prepares for a fight. This ep featured many visions of possible outcomes of his past, including one that had Kuromitsu chopping off his head! Just what is Kuromitsu anyway?

Ep 8 They stall for nearly eight minutes (though it was interesting with the bag of feces, LOL). The main lead wakes up in the middle of battle (!) and could have died several times already (that old guy has some strong powers). Kuro squares off with the vine woman and gets some unexpected help from someone he wants to know... She tells him to head to the enemy base to find the answers that have been eluding him. With one member of the group not able to continue on with them, the rest of them (4 people) decide to go there end this once and for all.

Ep 9 featured big action! Helicopters, motorcycles, tanks, fighting (that old man just wouldn't stay dead), blood, death (he said he would get them there if it was the last thing he did and he kept his promise), explosions, and one pathetic attempt at comedy to try to even everything out (wrong anime to try this as I didn't even crack a smile). This ep did stall for the first 7 minutes, but was all great stuff afterwards and the gang is finally at the castle doorsteps to find Kuromitsu and end this... With only three people left, they prepare for what comes next.

Ep 10 was heavy on storyline. One of the gang betrays them (I knew it all along) and the rest gets knocked out with a sound device as soon as they enter the castle. Kuro wakes up and the boss of the place tells him exactly what happens to Kuro every 100 years (its all starting to make sense now) and a bunch of other things. The traitor has problems of his own but takes care of it promptly enough. We get some excellent story telling as we see where and how this whole immortal issue started. The boss tries to use a sample of Kuro's blood on the girl and Kuro punches him in the face but he transforms into a monster (what else is new) a prepares to attack Kuro! Great ep...

Ep 11: Holy s***! That ep was insane. Fighting (crazy aggressive), blood (massive amount), death (3 people, 2 good but one uncalled for), resolve (he will find Kuromitsu), betrayal (what a bastard), insanity (fighting while insane with nothing to lose), and how it all tied together in the end. If all that wasn't enough to spark your interest, then nothing else will. The 3 big things to mention is this ep were:

1) How aggressively Rai was tortured and abused before her final moments. (I wanted to cry...)
2) How Kuon seemed to be talking with Kuromitsu in the middle of the battle.
3) How Kuro actually walked into the main chamber where the monks (whatever they are) who play the instruments with the head guy who explains each ep at the beginning all were and the head guy seems to be yelling at Kuro (bad subs so it didn't show what he was saying about Kuro). That was cool seeing Kuro invade their sacred place like that. LOL

One last thing about the music - it is fairly done now that I think about it (I kept playing it over and over to realize it) and is now a fair 7 rating. Amazingly bloody yet ferociously satisfying episode...

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Last updated Wednesday, January 21 2009. Created Monday, October 27 2008.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1921#967]
(Three episodes watched and my only comment is this is great)

Beginning with a mysterious meeting between a ninja-samurai on the run and a strange woman living alone in an isolated forest hut, the quality of the animation is stunning and the story completely bewildering.

Episodes one and two introduce Kurou, the main character of the story and tell of how he gains 'the gift of immortality' and of his hatred for the clan of warriors that his brother has dispatched to hunt him down and kill him.

And then he dies ... but he is an immortal... so when he wakes up - hundreds of years have passed. The world that he steps into is a unfamiliar post apocalyptic devastation. A world in which the clan that was hunting him still exists and the woman who might be able to answer his questions has gone missing.

Bloody ... very bloody .. but the iridescent dayglow fights scenes are stunning (both for their uniqueness and gore!) Tis an interesting way to mix samurai swordplay with high tech weapons and deamons ...

Last updated Thursday, November 27 2008. Created Monday, October 27 2008.
Avoid Stretch [series:1921#628]
(All episodes watched):

I'm primarily a fan of anime comedy, but after missing the fansubs of some neat series like Death Note I vowed to take a good look at each new series of the Fall 2008 season, whether they were humorous or not. Thus I came to Kurozuka.

Bloody, to put it mildly; this was clear right from my first impressions of the first episode. I felt that the confused, blatant violence would have made me sick if it weren't so bizarre. At times I thought it was being overdone. The hack-and-slash action reminded me of Ninja Scroll. The fact that this is a Madhouse production would explain that, as well as the OP sequence being uncannily similar to that of Death Note. I wasn't all that eager to commit myself to a feudal Japan era series, but I found myself intrigued by the immortality twist--this would explain how both medieval Japanese history and an apocalyptic scene of a modern-day city in ruins might fit into the same show. The notion of a sort of time travel (in the right direction) seemed like fun.

Confusing was another word that obviously applied to this show. The action scenes were fast moving and hard to follow. Was the hero betrayed? Didn't he get run through? Are the enemy demons or zombies or humans or what? It was hard to tell just what was going on. I would probably need to rewatch a second time in order to sort everything out, but I didn't have the time to do that. Still, this was sort of an entrancing show which I felt eager for more of. It was difficult to say exactly where the story is going, but it seemed to have a deliciously naughty flavor to it--pouring on the action and excitement wholesale. I just wouldn't even try to completely understand it.

As the series progressed a certain amount of explanation of just what was going on was provided, though not nearly enough to undo the confusion. The thought occured to me that maybe this show wants to be confusing and I wondered if any complete explanation would ever be offered. The Red Imperial Army being obsessed with "secrets of life" seemed kind of shallow and a disappointing motivation--I expected something more original from what had seemed such an exotic and classy show. Why was there a timeline visit to the WWII era? Not just as an excuse to hack a man to pieces, I hope. I found myself torn between two attitudes towards this show; on the one hand the lack of a thorough explanation and excessive violence were frustrating, while on the other the mystery, fancy artwork, and exciting action was intriguing. The priority I attached to watching episodes of Kurozuka began to drop. Episode five was one of the last shows I watched before moving on to the week six block, because I was becoming increasingly frustrated with this series. In fact, one time I started watching the episode then set it aside when it became clear that a scene of sadistic torture was involved. Being as frustratingly cryptic as it is, I was having a hard time remembering what happened in previous episodes--it's hard enough in series which make sense. Again, I found the "new super species" spiel to be tiresome--it's like the show was trying to sledgehammer me into hating these guys, but instead I was left apathetic. These villains are too evil--it makes them uninteresting and hard to take seriously. The thought also occured to me that Kuro hadn't done many admirable things himself. Just because his opponents are evil doesn't necessarily make him good. My impression of the plot of Kurozuka had become that of a neat premise which was little more than a mess afterwards. Perhaps it would still come together and make sense eventually, but I wasn't optimistic.

Around episode eight I was going to drop Kurozuka altogether, but then I learned that it would only be twelve episodes anyhow and that would mean I was already two-thirds of the way through it. It was the infuriating shallowness and confusion of the plot which made me think it would probably be a 26 episode series, since nothing much had been explained and at this rate 12 episodes wouldn't be nearly enough time to do the trick. I'm sure a lot of people all over the world will love this show, what with the coolness and gratuitous violence, but as I watched the action in episode ten the thought which came to me was that this is absurd. Bullets have no effect, laws of physics do not apply, what's impossible happens in a casual manner--in short, it makes no sense at all to me. I wound up laughing at it at one point. In Ninja Scroll it was clear why fights wound up the way they did, but not here. At last, a sort of explanation of Kuro's nature is offered (which is semi-plausible), but I had given up trying to make sense of the plot long ago and hardly considered it worth paying close attention to anymore.

A sort of explanation in the final episode for a story which had been confusing the hell out of me was rather little and late. And what's more, Kuro learns the truth--but does nothing? Nothing but kill people, that is. This series was cryptic to the end, heaping on new questions while answering just a handful, right up until there was simply no more airtime left. This show is f---ing insane--especially the characters. A series of bizarre and insane villains come along and kill and get killed, but there is very little plot or story otherwise. "Jeez, what was the deal with that show?" I said to myself at the end.

Violence for violence's sake--that is my final conclusion on Kurozuka. If there had been a well thought-out and cathartic conclusion I wouldn't mind forgiving a good deal of bloodshed. But there wasn't; The Red Emperor's poetic comment that "we fought an endless bloodbath of passion" was in fact a pretty accurate summation of the series as a whole. In the end, the nihilistic tone appalled me. This show was horrifying--or rather, I'm horrified that such a show would get made.

P.S: I could hardly believe my eyes when I read in the Feb. 2009 Anime Insider that "Kurozuka is Madhouse's adaptation of a romance novel (italics added) by Baku Yumemakura". I detected around 10% romance versus 90% violence in the anime version.

Last updated Wednesday, July 08 2009. Created Thursday, October 16 2008.

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