Catching up with Kuromukuro


Kuromukuro starts with an odd battle in a blizzard.
Kuromukuro starts with an odd battle in a blizzard.

I didn’t include Kuromukuro in my series opening posts for various reasons, and thought about not watching it entirely.  On the other hand, it takes place around Kurobe Dam.  I’ve never been there, but I live close enough that it would make a pleasant day trip for me.  Not many shows take place in this area of Japan.  Plus, it’s PA Works, a studio I always take seriously, though I am frequently disappointed.

After a strange blizzard battle set WAY in the past, we meet Yukina, learns that she sucks at everything but knows a hell of a lot about the dam.  A shame that it’s where her mom is a big boss.  And there are mecha and mysterious thingies dredged out of the water.  It’s all very pleasant until evil mecha come out of the sky and start blowing things up.  Yukina pushes a Red Button and a naked guy comes out, calls her princess, and starts attacking the mecha, yes, it gets kind of weird.  But it’s mostly fun to watch.  The early scenes set things up nicely, the mother-daughter relationship, Yukina’s basic, contradictory mindset, but some holes appear.  How can Yuki know so much about the dam yet still believe there are canals on Mars.  And midway through the episode finally surrenders a poorly-done infodump about the things in the water.  But overall, good episode.  Now let’s see how ep2 stacks up …

We get a lot of cockpit bickering in this episode.
We get a lot of cockpit bickering in this episode.

Episode 2 has Kennosuke (formerly the naked guy) grabbing Yukina, whom he no longer thinks is the princess but grabs her anyway, and hopping into that cube, retrieving his mecha, the black giant, and battling the invading mecha and its minions.  It’s fairly routine, and normally I would just enjoy the pretty good battle and ponder whether watching this show is worth my time, except that the battle takes place in Toyama, my town!

That weird tower on the right is city hall. The antenna is part of the NHK building. That sloped roof is the new arts center ...
That weird tower on the left is city hall. The red radio antenna is part of the NHK building. That sloped roof is the new arts center …

They did some nice research in getting the buildings right.  Fortunately the battle missed both where I live and work, and my favorite bar, but I often take the bus down that one street.  Was pissed off when they smashed up one of Toyama’s funky light rail cars and used it as a weapon.  And I wonder if there was some joke about the battle happening so close to the local NHK headquarters.  In other words, I was too busy saying “Hey!  I sometimes take Japanese classes in that building!” to give the show the critical attention I should.

... and finally, the castle.
… and finally, the castle.

A little more ogling of local scenes in episode 3 (Toyama castle isn’t much, really, no one comes to town to see it, but I’m glad they gave showed it.  Not surprised they put a tank in front of the statue of the topless girl inexplicably placed on the corner).  Then it’s back to the dam where Kennosuke meets Osho, a monk and Yukina’s uncle, and settles down a bit.  But he overreacts when Yukina’s little sister Koharu (Yukina’s family seem to have the run of the top-secret UN facility) is grabbed by security, and they run off until a smaller mecha, a “cactus,” abducts Koharu, and soon it’s samurai vs mecha in the stream.  In the meantime, it begins to dawn on everyone that maybe Kennosuke isn’t really a threat, and now it looks like we’ll have an episode of fish-out-of-water comedy after this.  As for me, even without the local references, I’m actually enjoying this series right now and will keep watching it.


2 thoughts on “Catching up with Kuromukuro

  1. It’s certainly entertaining, though I feel a bit provincial, I know bigger cities have robots and monsters trashing them all the time, but I can’t help it. Toyama has never had a mecha battle before!

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