Samurais are considered some of the coolest warriors of earth. What happens when you put a young samurai, who has devoted his life to protect the princess of the castle, inside a giant mech to fight off alien invaders piloting their own mechs? Kuromukuro depicts the tale of Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma, a young soldier born in the Sengoku era who awakes from cryostasis in present day.
During the construction of the Kurobe Dam, the “Black Relic”, a gigantic mech, and a large black cube was excavated. Then the Kurobe U.N. Research Institute was formed. Kennosuke is discovered inside of “The Cube” after Yukina Shirahana, the daughter of the head of Kurobe U.N. Research Institute, accidentally interacts with it and releases him from his naked slumber. Kennosuke rises from the cube and kneels before Yukina addressing her as princess. In true hero fashion, he protects Yukina from a small mech, part of a small army that have fell from space nearby to attack the lab.
Kennosuke is then imprisoned and questioned to learn more about where he came from and who he is. Although he doesn’t know that much himself except that he was fighting “oni” with “his” princess, which he later finds out that he mistook Yukina for this princess because they look very similar. Kennosuke escapes prison with the help of the Black Relic and accidentally kidnaps Yukina as she is on board. Yukina has her DNA imprinted into the Black Relic and eventually becomes Kennosukes co-pilot. They come to find out that the “oni” Kennosuke speaks of are the large mechs that are attacking earth, not just in Japan but other countries as well. The United Nations decide that the Black Relic is necessary to fight off the Oni. They keep Kennosuke on a leash because he keeps on escaping but they need him to pilot the Black Relic with Yukina to fight off these invaders.
As the series continues, you find out a lot more about Kennosuke and his “way of the samurai”. How his beliefs, though outdated, are a fresh take for some of the other characters. We learn about Yukina’s insecurity and how her relationship with her father played a huge role in how she grew up. The development of minor characters and how they interact with the main cast, Kennosuke and Yukina, give the story a little slice of life feel. Most importantly is the development between Kennosuke and Yukina and how they learn to understand each other when they know the other is basically from another world. It’s really interesting how many different vibes I got while watching. There’s sort of an episode for everyone but it never felt out of place to me.
Kuromukuro has a lot to offer and feels like a casual watch. The show is offered on Netflix but you shouldn’t feel the need to binge it. The pacing of the show is very steady but doesn’t pick up until about half way so beware. Although the mechs are used for the fights, it’s not too spectacular. The series uses the mechs as a bridge for the two main characters to connect and basically ties the whole story together. Overall Kuromukuro was enjoyable to watch. I do think it dragged on too long with 26 episodes. It could have been cut down to 22 possibly as it felt like there were filler episodes made. I recommend this anime to anyone, even those new to anime.