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volume 3 issue 9

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Animefringe Coverage:
Steel Angel Kurumi
By Adam Arnold

"Please, read this article far enough way from your computer in a lightly lit room. You got that? Okay, good."

During the Taisho Era, rumors of a beautiful woman who was kidnapped during a lunar eclipse and taken to a demonic doctor's mansion quickly spread throughout a small city. As the story goes, the young woman was brutally dissected alive leaving only a severed head! Yet, the doctor was not content to just let the woman die. No, he preserved the woman's pulsating head in formaldehyde. If you happen to pass by Dr. Akuma's mansion and listen carefully, you might just be able to still hear the bone-curdling screams of the woman crying out for help.

As fate would have it, four young kids headed out to the very house to see if they can some truth in the stories. When they see the front gate has been barricaded and is being guarded by the Imperial Army, they head around to the side of the house to find another entrance. The three boys then send their guinea pig, Nakahito Kagura, in to investigate.

Things begin to get hairy and Nakahito's friends ditch him, leaving him to wander through the dusty mansion for an exit. He soon comes across some strange equipment and plans and then notices something lying on the floor hunched over. He kneels down, thinking it's a large female shaped doll and just as he is about to touch it, a minor tremor rocks the lab.

As the shockwaves subside, Nakahito glances up to see the doll falling towards him. Before he can move, the doll's mouth falls on his lips resulting in a rather unexpected kiss. Nakahito quickly pushes himself backwards realizing it's not a doll but a real woman!

Crashing to the floor, the woman regains consciousness only to call the young lad "Master" and then lunges forward to glomp him! Clutching Nakahito's head at her chest, she begins to pet him in a rather interesting way.

From there, the story takes some rather interesting turns as it blends slapstick comedy, brutal fights, and intriguing drama all into a neat and tidy little package. All of the comedic bits are acted out in super deformed style while all the general bits of story are straightforward animation. Yet, when fight scenes occur, things become more static with the impacts often shown in still frames.

Still, what makes each episode of Steel Angel Kurumi so original is their length. Each mini-episode is just under 15 minutes each including the epilepsy warning, opening, actual episode, ending, and the next episode preview. Taking all this into account means that the actual episode is around 10 minutes long! But, don't think these segments are anything like Ah! My Goddess's mini-goddess shorts, because these are far more than just sight gags. Each episode of Kurumi can be considered similar to the way the first season of Urusei Yatsura, only with Kurumi each episode ends with a cliffhanger a la Rocky and Bullwinkle.

ADV's even been gracious enough to include 6 episodes of Kurumi per DVD, which equals out to be around 3 episodes if this were a standard series. Yet, not to be outdone, each DVD has an original documentary that focuses on the top-notch voice talent for the English dub as well as oodles of other extras that are guaranteed to make any anime fan all the more hip to the people and places in the show.

Though the English dub does deviate a bit from the subtitled version in terms of dialogue, fans will be happy to know that the sub script has a full set of translation notes specifically dedicated to it. Undoubtedly, since this is a comedy series much like Excel Saga and Love Hina, the English dub has been reworked to make the jokes funny in English. But, before fans go and crucify ADV over any changes made to the dub, keep in mind that if a joke has to be explained to you, then it's not funny anymore.

Also helping to raise Kurumi's dub to a higher standard than previous projects is a cast of ADV's finest female voice actresses including Kelli Cousins, Kira Vincent-Davis, Monica Rial, Hilary Hagg, and Claudia Black (Yes, the Claudia Black from Farscape). All these women lend their unique and quirky personalities to each of their respective characters. Monica has to play a lesbian. Kira has to play a guy. Kelli has to play a bubblegum haired girl that squeals a lot. All in all, a rather nice dub complements the original.

If comedy series are your bag, and you want something that's got some meat to it as well as some over-the-top comedy, then these angels are sure to please. Just be warned, you might find yourself wishing you were in Nakahito's shoes.

STEEL ANGEL KURUMI - CHARACTER DOSSIER
Kurumi

A pink haired robot with some rather large breasts. Kurumi was mysteriously awakened one day when Nakahito broke into Dr. Ayanokoji's lab. Now she has to protect her master from harm and fight all these deadly robots that keep trying to break up their happy home.
Nakahito Kagura

A young mystic in training, Nakahito is your average kid who gets picked on, suddenly awakens a sleeping robot, and has to deal with the consequences. Everyone thinks Nakahito is too naive for his own good, but he sure has a big heart for someone his age.
Saki

At first Saki was Kurumi's evil rival, but she has since become part of Nakahito's extended family. The Imperial Army brought Saki to life for a short time, but after running out of energy, Kurumi kissed her and brought her back to life. Now, she's got the hots for Kurumi!!
Dr. Ayanokoji

The creator of both the angel hearts and the angels themselves. After learning of the Imperial Army's plans for his creations, he enlisted the aid of a local mystic to help him bring his robots to life. Yet, he was too late, because Nakahito had already awoken Kurumi.
Dr. Amagi

A female scientist for the Imperial Army. She was sent to claim the robots after Dr. Ayanokoji's defection, but was too late. After narrowly escaping Kurumi's attack against her, she was placed on another project in order to make use of other technology that was recovered.

Images Copyright Kaishaku/Kadokawa Shoten and Pony Canyon. Copyright ADV FIlms. All rights reserved.

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