Kurohime


Kurohime

Infobox animanga/Header
name = Kurohime


caption = The September 2006 issue of Monthly Shōnen Jump, with Kurohime on the cover.
ja_name = 魔砲使い黒姫
ja_name_trans = Mahō Tsukai Kurohime
genre = Action, Supernatural, Magical Girl, Comedy
Infobox animanga/Manga
title =
author = Katakura Masanori
publisher = flagicon|Japan Shueisha
publisher_other = flagicon|United States Viz Media
flagicon|Italy Star Comics
demographic = Shōnen
magazine = flagicon|Japan "Monthly Shōnen Jump" (2002-2007) flagicon|Japan "Jump Square's official website" (2007-12-17 -)
first = 2002
last = ongoing
volumes = 14 Volumes

Nihongo|"Kurohime"|魔砲使い黒姫|Mahō Tsukai Kurohime|lit. "Magical Gunslinger Kurohime" is a manga series authored by Nihongo|Katakura Masanori|片倉 政憲|"Katakura Masanori". The manga began its run in 2002, and had been serialized in "Monthly Shōnen Jump". It will be one of the pilot manga in the new monthly shōnen book's website, "Jump Square". [cite web | url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2007-07-05/jump-square-to-replace-monthly-shonen-jump-in-november | title = Jump Square to replace Monthly Shōnen Jump]

Plot

A young boy, Zero, is saved by a mysterious gunslinger who uses magical bullets. Later revealed to be Kurohime, she is the greatest magician in the world; however, she disappears shortly after saving him. Having fallen in love with her, he trains to become a gunslinger and ten years later, his search comes to an end, and both of them team up as fugitives running away from an angry warlord wanting to take his revenge on Kurohime for what she did to him 10 years ago. He finds that she has now been cursed by the gods, and now walks the Earth as a child by the name of Himeko. Her magic powers were greatly hindered as a consequence. The only way to revert the curse is for Kurohime to fall in love with somebody, a task that Kurohime is incapable of doing. However, experiencing crushes or infatuation causes the spell to be broken momentarily, allowing for the couple to get out of bad situations.

Later in the manga, Kurohime realizes at last that she is in love with Zero. With Kurohime now being able to love, the curse is finally broken, but the gods sent the God of Death together with the goddess of benevolence, Shirohime, to defeat and kill Kurohime because of her crime of having killed a minor god. At the God of Death's command, Shirohime seals Kurohime back into her child form again, called Himeko, using a spell that can never be broken, and the God of Death starts trying to kill Kurohime and Zero. During this battle, Kurohime's past is revealed through a flashback. It is revealed to be only half of herself as she was split into 2 when she challenged the gods years ago. This is due to the fact that the world was split apart with warring, as everyone was trying to prove themselves worthy of the promise of divinity given to the strongest human in the world. 10 years ago, Kurohime decided to end all the wars by pretending to be interested in becoming a god, but her real intent was to be able to ascend into heaven and start killing the gods instead.

Because Kurohime operates on a mentality of "ends justify the means," she was willing to sacrifice as many lives in order to end the war, such that the rest of the world and humanity might have absolute peace. Therefore, when the gods were deciding what to do with her, they decided to cut her into half and cleave her into "love" and "hate" which became Shirohime and Kurohime respectively. Shirohime then became a goddess, and in order to protect her other half, she sealed her with the curse that could only be broken with love, and sent her down to earth in her child form. During the climatic battle between the God of Death and Kurohime, Shirohime realizes that she has lost sight of the point of her existence, which only Kurohime can now fulfil, so she willing sacrifices herself to save Zero and Kurohime. With the death of her goddess counterpart, Kurohime regains her full power and defeats the God of Death. However, the latter had summoned the 'River of the Dead' in a last-ditch effort to defeat Kurohime. Anyone living being caught in the river will be dissolved. The only way across is to use the "Boatman of the River"'s boat, but it can only carry one person.

Zero sacrifices his life to push the boat, with the unconscious Kurohime inside, across the river. Witnessing Zero's death causes Kurohime to develop a trauma which seals her power, turning her back into Himeko, but this time with the appearance of a mid to early teen. However, she is capable of reverting back to her adult form and power, but every time she does, she loses some of her memories of Zero.

In a cruel twist, the gods later resurrect Zero as the new God of Death, to try and kill Kurohime. Having been stripped of his free will, Zero battles Kurohime, who cannot bring herself to fight the man she loves. As a consequence, Kurohime loses most of her memories of Zero. The released memories free Zero's mind, right before he completely becomes the new God of Death. However, Zero now possesses a significant amount of darkness in his heart. It is revealed that this is his "true self."

To understand his darkness and past, Kurohime travels 10 years into the past, before the war against the gods, and begins to witness what happened to Zero and his little brother.

Magic

Magic in this world is different from most depiction of magic in popular culture. It is manipulated by gifted humans who are attuned to magic, called witches (whether they be men or women). It is also a naturally occurring phenomenon that governs living things as well as the dead. Depending on those manipulating these powers, one can achieve feats of great power, rivaling a Gods power. One can perform miracles or summon great creatures and manipulate the shape, form and wellbeing of others through magic. It seems all witches are also gunslingers and how effective their magic powers are depends on their ability to create powerful "magical" bullets. A witch must channel her powers into the bullet through a casting duration that imbues her bullets with various magical powers, each having different function, such as summoning powerful beasts to aid in the caster's combat, to heal wounds, manipulate one's shape, and even to bring the dead back to life. The strength of these bullets depends on the ritual as well as the ability of the caster himself/herself. Other magical elements include land deities, such as a Mountain God, or the God of Death. Other supernatural being exist, such as Shinigami Angels, or Reaper Angels, and demons, who possess astounding magical and destructive powers. Most of these supernatural beings look down on humans as nothing more than pawns in their games, and see none to little value in the lives of those who cross their paths.

Characters

Zero - A boy saved by Kurohime in his childhood. Over ten years, he trained and became a gunslinger. He uses 4 guns and is known for his incredible speed. He doesn't use his guns for killing and only uses them to help people. He is very loyal to Kurohime, and although he finds her difficult to handle as a child, he is still very much in love with her. Kurohime often berates him for his naivety and open kindness, but it is also what she fell in love with. His personal morals and sense of justice stems from his past: after witnessing Kurohime's power when she saved him, he vowed only to use his guns to protect and save the innocent. Early on, he often suffers great physical damage, sometimes, nearly to the point of death, in order to save his beloved Kurohime despite her often insensitive and ungrateful behavior. Much later in the manga, after he sacrifices his life to save Kurohime, he is resurrected as the new God of Death, and is revealed to hold much darkness in his heart, as the "good" Zero is revealed to be just "an image created by an idealistic youth". One of his more prominent attacks is "Lightning Draw," which enables him to fire multiple shots with blinding speed and deadly accuracy. He is shown to be able to fire off at least two dozen consecutive shots while at a single spot with blinding reload speeds, and break off a cliff with his shots. In order not to kill anyone, he aims mostly to disarm his aggressors with his shots

Kurohime - A magician who fights using magical bullets. Ten years ago, she saves Zero, influencing his decision to become a gunslinger. She is very self-centered, and is said to not be able to genuinely love. As a result, she defied the gods and was cursed to walk the world as a child. She can only revert to her adult form when she falls in love. When a child, she is addressed as Himeko, and her magic powers are greatly hindered. The adult Kurohime bears a strong resemblance to the goddess that cursed her (In fact, they are both the same. Kurohime was split into 2 in her battle against the gods; one of "good" which holds all of her love and care and memories, and the other holding her "bad" side, which has no memories, except the anger and hatred. The latter is the current Kurohime, while the former is the "goddess" who gave her the curse.) She is also extremely beautiful and believes all men are her "dogs". Still, she has feelings for Zero, even if she won't admit it. Her name translates to "Black Princess" (Kuro is black and hime is princess). Her chief weapon is her witch-gun, "Senryu" (which, when translated means Tornado Dragon). Aside from being able to fire witch-bullets, Senryu can fire normal bullets with cannon-like force. In the second arc, Himeko receives the Yamato-Dachi from Yamatohime after defeating Gandhara. The sword fuses with Senryu, allowing it to switch between sword (Yamato Senryuto) and gun (Yamato Senryuho) forms.

:Himeko- Kurohime's form as a child, she differs greatly from her adult self, besides the fact that she is adorable and cute while her adult self is sexy and beautiful. Himeko is hyperactive and acts like a real child, often having tantrums and falling asleep for naps, while as her adult form is more controlled and calm. Himeko is unable to perform magic well while as a child, but still seems to know a great deal about it. Himeko likes Zero though, and often gets upset when he shows favor to other people, especially other girls. Himeko's name is composed of the Japanese words "Hime" (princess) and "ko" (child), so her name translates as "Princess Child" or "Child Princess", depending on the sentence's context. As the story progresses, Himeko's physique becomes closer to that of Kurohime's, and in the process, regains more of her powers, although they are still incomparable to those of Kurohime's.

Onimaru - A heavyset gunslinger in pursuit of Kurohime/Himeko. He was once her most loyal soldier and his back bears a large tattoo of the Kanji for "Dog" and "Kurohime". Feeling betrayed by the selfish magician, he seeks to kill her now that she has been stripped of her magical powers. The leader of the "Death Angel" squad under the original God of Death compels Orimaru to kiss her feet, an act which show subservience, magically turning him into a snake. He would have grown into a hideously grotesque man-snake, but during the transformation Onimaru yelled that he would never let a woman use him again. with that, thorugh a sheer effort of will he managed to revert the process of turning into a snake. Interestingly, his arms and legs remain, but his body has regressed to that of a comical mini lizard, rendering him unable to talk.

Asura - A beautiful looking woman. The people of that land call her and her kind, demons. She is extremely powerful, possessing incredible magical powers, whose destructive properties rivals a god. She is first introduced as a mysterious character who plays a subtle hand in aiding Kurohime and Zero defeat a witch. She is next seen fighting a Mountain God and is severely wounded while protecting Zero and Kurohime. Shortly after being tended to by Zero, they are attacked again by the Mountain God. Kurohime and Asura team up together to destroy their enemy. She is attuned to elemental fire, and much of her magic revolves around flames and such. She also has a demonic form that allows her to use her powers more efficiently. She was initially reluctant in having anything to do with Zero and Kurohime, but after being saved by Zero and witnessing the power of a vengeful Kurohime, she has a change of heart, and tells Kurohime about her master who seems intent on aiding her regain her full power. Asura seems to have fallen for Zero. In the second arc, she reveals that her master is Yamatohime, who says she will resurrect Zero if Himeko can find the Four Great Spirit Kings.

Sword- The leader of the death angel squad (Shinigami Tenshidan) sent after Kurohime and Zero in the fourth volume. She and her comrades (Axe, Lance, Mace, Hammer, and Dagger) are sent to reap a group of vengeful souls from a ghost wagon who were revived courtesy of Kurohime. Sword seems to have a personal vendetta against Kurohime, leading her and her fellow death angels to attempt to kill her by turning members of the Onimaru Gang into snakes (which was rather unsuccessful on Onimaru).Later, they aid Darkray, the God of Death, in the battle with Kurohime by transforming into their namesake weapons for Darkray's use. Kurohime shoots them with bullets that turn them into copies of her, and Darkray simplifies things by killing them all to get the real one. The mortally injured angels give their power to Kurohime to help her defeat Darkray. Sword (and presumably the other death angels) reappears in the second arc as part of the Kurohime Punishment Squad. She displays several new abilities, notably the ability to manipulate blood and suck her victim's veins dry of it, and a new outfit that makes her appear more human (compared to her first form).

Darkray- The former God of Death. He fought Kurohime when she first challenged the gods. Using the soul of an infant murdered by an attack on Kurohime as a shield, he defeated her with Sword, who sliced her in half. He also suggested splitting Kurohime into her hate and love sides, making Shirohime the Goddess of Mercy. He later appeared in the fourth volume, not long after Kurohime killed Moai, and had Shirohime seal Kurohime's powers so he and his death angels could kill her. During the battle with Himeko and Zero, he killed Shirohime when she, after some goading by Onimaru, broke the curse and gave Kurohime her powers back. He managed to extract Zero's soul and used it as a shield, much like the fight ten years prior, to force Kurohime to leave herself open. Eventually, with Zero's aid, Kurohime killed Darkray, blowing his head to pieces with one last Senryu Shot.

Yashahime- The mother goddess and lover of Darkray. She swears to kill Kurohime to avenge the fallen God of Death, and first appears when Kurohime killed Gandhara on Yamato. She is very powerful, with a beauteous appearance masking a fearsome treelike form.

Yamatohime- The Phoenix Suzaku, Devil God, and Spirit Queen of Fire. She is Asura's master, who has been imprisoned by the gods under watch of the God Oni Gandhara. She restores Kurohime's powers and tells her that she will lose her memories of Zero little by little when using them. After Gandhara dies, she gives Kurohime a sword hardened by the sun, Yamato-Dachi, and a lotus flower, with seventeen petals that each represent a memory of Zero and one of which will fall each time Kurohime goes into her true form. She tasks Asura with guiding Himeko to the four spirit kings, whose power, when added to Yamato-Dachi, will be enough to free Yamatohime. Yamatohime says she will revive Zero if Himeko can accomplish the task of releasing her, then sends the group away as Tor, God of War, and Yashahime arrive in response to Gandhara's defeat.

References

External links

* [http://mj.shueisha.co.jp/kurohime/ "Kurohime" official site] jp icon
* [http://www.vizmedia.com/products/products.php?series_id=702 "Kurohime" English language edition]


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