|Genre||Romance, Action, Supernatural, Sci-fi|
|Written by||Baku Yumemakura|
|Illustrated by||Takashi Noguchi|
|Original run||January 6, 2003 – December 12, 2006|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Tetsuro Araki|
|Original run||October 7, 2008 – December 23, 2008|
Kurozuka (黒塚 Kurozuka ) is a novel and Japanese manga series written by Baku Yumemakura and illustrated by Takashi Noguchi. The manga was first serialized in the Japanese seinen manga magazine Super Jump starting in 2003 by Shueisha and ended in December 2006. An anime adaptation by Madhouse was announced by Japanese anime television network Animax in May 2008 and ran between October and December 2008, spanning a total of 12 episodes.
The series begins in 12th century Japan and centers on Kuro, a character based loosely on the legendary Japanese swordsman Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Kuro and his servant, Benkei, meet a beautiful and mysterious woman named Kuromitsu while on the run from Kuro's elder brother, who seeks his life. Kuromitsu and Kuro fall in love, but he soon discovers that she harbors a terrible secret: she is a vampiric immortal. Following an attack by his pursuers, Kuro is badly injured and must imbibe Kuromitsu's blood to save his own life. Kuro is then betrayed and attacked by Benkei, who has been subverted by a shadowy organization called the Red Army, and Kuro's head is severed, which interferes with his transformation into a fully immortal being.
Kuro loses consciousness and wakes up centuries later in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian Japan. The surviving citizens have fallen under constant oppression by the Red Army, and Kuro is quickly found and recruited by an underground revolutionary movement called Haniwa. The remaining episodes follow Kuro's fight with the Red Army and its host of elite warriors, who have been enhanced by samples of Kuromitsu's blood, and his quest to find his inexplicably lost love.
The starting plot for the series is probably inspired by Kurozuka, a 1939 Japanese dance-drama, which features a man-eating ogress named Kuromitsu, as well as the life of Minamoto no Yoshitsune.
- Kuro (クロウ) Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (Japanese), Brad Swaile (English)
- Kuromitsu (黒蜜) Voiced by: Romi Park (Japanese), Janyse Jaud (English)
- Benkei (弁慶) Voiced by: George Nakata (Japanese), Paul Dobson (English)
- Karuta (歌留多)Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara (Japanese), Trevor Devall (English)
- Kuon (久遠) Voiced by: Miyu Irino (Japanese), Samuel Vincent (English)
- Izana (居座魚) Voiced by: Inoue Kazuhiko (Japanese), Michael Dobson (English)
- Saniwa (沙仁輪) Voiced by: Toshiko Fujita (Japanese), Cathy Weseluck (English)
- Kurumasou (車僧) Voiced by: Banjou Ginga (Japanese), Don Brown (English)
- Rai (ライ) Voiced by: Houko Kuwashima (Japanese), Kelly Sheridan (English)
- Kagetsu (花月) Voiced by: Kaori Yamagata (Japanese), Nicole Oliver (English)
- Tonba (トンバ) Voiced by: Ken Uo (Japanese), Jason Simpson (English)
- Hasegawa (長谷川) Voiced by: Tohru Ohkawa (Japanese), Kirby Morrow (English)
- Arashiyama (嵐山) Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki (Japanese), Michael Adamthwaite (English)
- Man in Black (黒づくめの男) Voiced by: Junpei Takiguchi (Japanese), Trevor Devall (English)
The Kurozuka manga was adapted from the original novel by author Baku Yumemakura and was illustrated by Takashi Noguchi. Serialized in Shueisha's Super Jump, the series spans ten volumes. The first was released in January 2003 and the last in December 2006.
The anime adaptation of Kurozuka is produced by Madhouse and Animax. It began on October 7, 2008, on Animax. The opening theme is "SYSTEMATIC PEOPLE" by Wagdug Futuristic Unity with Maximum the Ryo of Maximum the Hormone. The closing theme is "Hanarebanare (ハナレバナレ)" by Shigi. The English dub was produced by Ocean Productions, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, using their own studio actors.
|01||"The Plain of Adachi-ga-hara"
"Adachi Gen" (安達原)
|October 7, 2008|
|Kuro and Benkei, fleeing pursuers, seek refuge in the forest home of Kuromitsu. When Kuro falls ill, Benkei leaves to seek medicine. The pursuers attack Kuro and Kuromitsu, mortally wounding Kuro. Kuromitsu offers Kuro eternal life.|
|02||"The Tomb of Karma"
"Innen Tsuka" (因縁塚)
|October 14, 2008|
|A corrupt wandering samurai attacks Kuro and Kuromitsu in the town near her home and beheads Kuro. Kuromitsu kills the samurai and attaches Kuro's head to the samurai's body. In flashback, Kuro drinks Kuromitsu's blood, but before his transformation can complete, they are attacked by an enemy who has been hunting Kuromitsu for the secret to her immortality. Kuro is beheaded by Benkei, whom the enemy had recruited to be their new leader.|
|October 21, 2008|
|Without any memory of how he got there, Kuro awakens in the forest in a post-apocalyptic world. Upon entering a crumbled city of Asuka in search of Kuromitsu, he meets Haniwa resistance member Karuta. The Red Imperial Army attacks the club fronting for the Haniwa HQ. Kuro attacks the Red Imperial Army when he recognizes their emblem as the same as those who hunted Kuromitsu.|
"Haniwa Jin" (埴輪人)
|October 28, 2008|
|Kuro recovers from the fight with the Red Imperial Army at Rai's apartment. Rai takes Kuro to Izana, who claims he can reunite Kuro with Kuromitsu if Kuro joins the Haniwa rebels against the Red Imperial Army.|
|November 4, 2008|
|The Haniwa take Kuro to meet the rebel leader, Saniwa. She promises to reunite him with Kuromitsu. The Red Imperial Army seeks Kuromitsu's blood to breed an army of enhanced soldiers.|
|November 11, 2008|
|Arashiyama and the Red Imperial Army attack Haniwa HQ and Saniwa's residence in search of Kuromitsu's blood.|
"Kagura Mura" (神楽村)
|November 18, 2008|
|Kuro and the Haniwa travel to the underground village of Kagura, but discover the residents slaughtered and Kuromitsu gone.|
|08||"The Ghost-Weep Vine"
"Kikoku Tsuta" (鬼哭蔦)
|November 25, 2008|
|The Red Imperial sorceress Kagetsu tortures Saniwa to learn the whereabouts of Kuromitsu. Kuromitsu appears, kills Kagetsu, tells Kuro to go to the Red Imperial HQ, and disappears again. Saniwa dies.|
|09||"Running the Gauntlet"
"Sou Fuu Ka" (走風火)
|December 2, 2008|
|Kuro and the Haniwa travel to the Red Imperial HQ in Tokyo. Karuta dies.|
|10||"The Castle of Mirage"
"Genei Jou" (幻影城)
|December 9, 2008|
|Kuro and Rai are captured by the Red Imperial Army. Kuon is revealed to be, among other things, a Red Imperial agent who infiltrated the Haniwa at Kuromitsu's command.|
|11||"The Unending War"
"Ikusa Rinne" (戦輪廻)
|December 16, 2008|
|Hasegawa plans to remove Kuro's head for his experiments. Kuro kills Hasegawa. Kuon kills Rai, then tells Kuro that Kuromitsu planned to use his body as Kuro's perfect new body. Kuro kills Kuon.|
|12||"The Black Tomb"
"Kuro no Zuka" (黒の塚)
|December 23, 2008|
|Kuro confronts the Red Emperor, who is revealed to be Benkei, and kills him. Kuromitsu beheads Kuro and places his head on a new body. Kuro awakens in the forest, having lost his memory, and begins again his search for Kuromitsu.|
- Official Animax Kurozaka anime website (Japanese)
- Kurozuka (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Kurozuka (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia