Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge Review

This is review number two hundred and thirteen. This anime is part of the Spring 2013 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge. It’s a thirteen episode anime about a guy with a hair fetish and a desire to cut people. It’s a cute show and not a lot of shows can make fetishes sexy quite like this one. Let’s read on.

Story

The anime is about a guy named Kiri Haimura who has an obsession of wanting to cut long flowing hair. He always gets mesmerized by them and his urges usually take over. One day, he visits a place rumored to have a ghost with long flowing hair residing in it. Instead, he saw a small girl with long hair that touches the ground. He was instantly in love and the girl, Iwai Mushanokouji, seems to have feelings for this boy she only met. Iwai’s hair is different though. She cannot cut it because it’s cursed. Kiri isn’t deterred by that and decided to cut the hair using his scissors that seems to be a family heirloom. He was able to cut it and a bond is formed between the two. Their meeting is far from romantic though as their union has signaled the start of a game where a bunch of dangerous people are out to kill them.

Taking the Pants Off

There are so many things to love about this show. I love a unique concept in my anime. A combination of hair fetish and murderous dominance seems to be one of those things. Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge is a wonderful anime and its premise proved that. In fact, watching the main character passionately fondle someone’s long hair in such a suggestive manner really gives me dark ideas I might try myself.  This anime celebrates the dark side of humanity but oddly, also embraces its sugary sweetness. I’m a bit baffled with the Romantic Thriller combination and I was honestly distracted by it. The anime seems to pull it off pretty smartly though. Some things do get tiresome and there are certain flaws I’ll point out later on. All in all though, this show is unique and the concept is really enjoyable. After all, how many anime romanticizes unhealthy obsessions and how many more makes a romantic story out of it?

The anime is about a guy with a major freaky obsession with hair and a girl with a cursed hair that only the guy can cut with his magical scissors. The first episode seemed to start the anime in an odd footing, to be honest. It featured a strong romantic bond between the two characters as if the show is truly a romantic one. I guess it is if you can ignore the fact that it seems to have a lot of people carrying deadly weapon with them and they seem to want to kill the couple. The overarching story of the anime is actually pretty big to grasp but, initially, it’s a romantic story with the characters fighting murderers. I know the idea seems to be a bit tilted but the anime really took it’s time to make sure the story becomes amazing. The anime seriously had all the makings of a dark and twisted anime with a colorful cast of characters with unstable personalities. Think of Mirai Nikki without the favorite yandere. Instead of the main character trying to survive though, the focus of Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge seems to be on the relationship of the two characters. So imagine Mirai Nikki with Yuki and Yuno’s weird love story as the main focus and the plot where they kill a bunch of awesome people is secondary to it. It definitely feels an awkward approach but there is certainly potential to it. That’s really the beauty of Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge. It’s a Romantic Thriller anime. Does the combination work? The show is out to prove that.

The anime had three plot points. These are easy to point out because their progression is disjointed which gives the anime that awkward structure starting out with. The first plot point is about the relationship of Kiri and Iwai. This is heavily featured in the anime. It’s about the guy with the hair fetish and the girl with the long hair. It started out like a dream. The girl is locked in her house because of the curse of her hair and then comes the boy who completely freed her from her cage. Being able to cut her hair, the two has formed a mutual bond that slowly gets serious as the anime progresses. Their relationship is a mix of the puppy dog cuteness and overly mature subtleness that I really admire. At the beginning of the anime, it felt a bit weird though that such a dark anime had a lighthearted romantic story as its main focus but it really does grow on you. The timid young girl and the guy controlled by his urges had a lot of potential to bloom into something interesting. Considering the fact that their bond gets stronger every time something dark happens to them, this relationship gradually gets interesting.

The puppy dog segments are really cute because their youthful innocence was nicely highlighted in these scenes. It’s the familiar story of two shy people with only pure thoughts in their mind. It’s really refreshing to watch just to see them blush and fumble about. The thing that makes their relationship worth watching though is the mature moments the couple have. I can’t spoil much but let’s just say there is a lot of hugging and licking that happens in the anime. The two characters touching bodies in a highly romantic way completely opposite to their puppy dog display is certainly a highlight of the mature segments. Oh yes, there is full on hugging and stimulating the erogenous zone that feels like the guy just needs to pull out his johnny and the anime will turn hentai. The anime makes this drastic flip because of the Thriller aspect of the show. Romance is lighthearted. Thriller is full on adrenaline sexiness so everyone goes home happy.

DBNCE1

Along with the first plot point includes the couple’s everyday school life. The story is usually about the two going about their normal schedule until something freaky happens. The normal segments usually involve spending time with their friends, going out to the mall or something and accommodating another girl that seems to hint at a love triangle. There are also a lot of character developments in the first plot point as the large cast is methodically revealed. This part of the anime is really light hearted. It’s nothing but romance and comedy to suit the youthful experience of the characters. Iwai was a shut in before she met Kiri so the anime also tracks her growth as she slowly goes through her changes with Kiri by her side.

The second plot point is about the Severing Crime Edge. This is a bit complex but this is truly where the anime gets me excited all over. Certain people are actually descendants of murderers and these killers usually left their tools for killing behind. These tools get cursed by their desire to kill and the descendants can obtain that power. These tolls are called “Killing Goods” and they are indestructible weapons that have some freaky special ability that only descendants can use. These descendants are called “Authors” and they gain immense power thanks to those killing goods but there is a twist. The killing goods can slowly consume you and you’ll be filled with nothing but the thirst to kill. Most Authors suffer from certain side effects while using these weapons and they need an outlet. These Authors need an “Instead” that can take all their pent up energy. These Insteads are like human punching bags that take all the blows from the Authors so their urges are satisfied and they don’t go insane. In the story, Kiri is an Author and Iwai is his Instead.

Here’s the interesting part though. Apparently, there is a way out of the murderous takeover of the tools. All the Authors have to do is kill the “Hair Queen” who apparently started this chain of cursed tools and descendants gaining their power. If you kill the Hair Queen then you get one wish. Any wish is granted and you can deal with the cursed tools or do something batsh*t crazy with your wish. Coincidentally, the Hair Queen is Iwai. The second plot point is mostly about Iwai and Kiri fighting off other Authors so they can’t kill Iwai. Fueled by their love and duty to protect each other, the couple brave off any challenges that comes their way. As you can see, this plot point can easily be the main focus of the anime instead of the Romance story which is why the anime felt a bit awkward at first. In fact, the heavy focus on the romance seems to dilute the darkness of this plot point and, rest assured, this plot point is very dark. There are a lot of talks about death, embracing the evil inside, little girls peeing themselves and murderers cutting people up that really gives off a twisted aura that you can’t get enough off. Having this one be secondary to a romantic story is iffy at first but it does get better. At first, this is nothing more than a plot device to strengthen the first plot point but it eventually spins off into a nice subplot of its own.

The beauty of the second plot point is the heavy focus on the relationship of the Authors and the Insteads. They look a bit abusive at first but, upon closer inspection, you’ll realize that the whole thing is completely mutual. It’s so very messed up but in a very good way because you can’t get enough of it. From S&M themes to playful romantic setups, there is always something to enjoy with how the anime dives into the relationships of certain characters. This works great because most characters don’t mean much to the story. They are seriously just plot devices but through some flashbacks and exploration of their relationship, they manage to stay relevant even though it’s only on a slight degree. After all, a story about a timid girl dominating the hottest boy in school had some merits to them even if they were only featured in one episode. The fact that the second plot point indulges in darkness and twisted themes, the relationships of the Authors and the Insteads is now really exciting to watch.

While the two plot points have some merit by themselves, the anime truly felt a bit disjointed starting out. Thriller and Romance will fight each other and it’s evident in this anime. Individually, the two plot points look amazing. The anime featured them both evenly though and you can just see that they completely oppose each other. It’s hard to get into a cute love story when you’re itching to see someone scream in pain. A light hearted genre with a very dark one seriously needs time to warm up. The anime was smart by making sure the characters themselves stand out while the story smoothly evens itself out. It wasn’t until the introduction of the third plot point though that everything started to meld together.

The third plot point is about the secret organization called the Gossip. They are a bunch of mysterious folks seemingly excited that the Hair Queen has gotten herself a bodyguard. They decided to observe the couple while they send some pretty deadly Authors to kill them. The intention of the Gossip is never clear though and their existence is muddled all throughout the anime. While they have evil intentions, it’s also clear that they want to help the Hair Queen. This plot point is riddled with plot holes that irk me a bit. This plot point was the one that gave the anime its complete structure though. It was introduced very late in the show but the Gossip really even out the anime. They were a group that sends Authors to the couple. The second plot point commences with the couple fighting the Authors and the first plot point commences afterwards. The doubtful combination of Romance and Thriller suddenly becomes intriguing with the inclusion of this third plot point. It made sure the Romance doesn’t overtake the show and also guarantee us the carnage the Thriller promised.

I did wonder while the anime took so long to introduce the third plot point while gradually building up the other plot points. If its aim is to deliver an amazing story with a strong punch then it should’ve made sure everything was in order before it enters the second half. The reason is simple and a bit annoying. The anime will have another season. This show is nothing more than setup for the second season. It introduced all the plot points, the cohesively conceived premise, the important characters and the things you’d expect later on. There were a lot of amazing things that happened in this show that a second season seems to be worth the wait. You might be asking if you should even bother watching a show that baits another season. Yes. This show, while building up to another season, had enough darkness and mature content with a sprinkle of light hearted appeal to guarantee a worthwhile anime experience. Plus there is a lot of licking in this anime. It’s serious tongue action to deliver the mature appeal strongly.

crimeedge5

Oddly enough, despite being a Romance Thriller anime, this show is hugely character centered. The action and the story are only good because the characters carry the show. It’s really weird but also pretty unique. The main character is Kiri. He is the dude with a deep love for long hair. He gets a bit rape~y whenever he gets his urges and it’s really awesome. He is a pretty normal character though. He is the usual guy who has a cute girl beside him that he wants to avoid touching while also being the cool hero when the story calls for it. He is defined by his fetish though and his Killing Good, the scissors that a guy who killed 200 people once used. He does have a stable personality. Despite the awkward progression of the anime at first, it was the main characters that convinced me to keep watching. The other main is Iwai. She is the timid type that has an inferiority complex. The curse seems to be a burden to her and she has this innocent disposition to her that makes you want to eat her up. She is the typical damsel though but her flexible personality works wonders whenever the anime goes into a mature romantic moment. There was a point where Kiri was on top of her for godsakes. It’s her innocence that really drives it home but she also has a bold personality that makes her pretty impressive.

There are a lot of side characters and the anime made sure everyone gets a decent time in the spotlight. The Authors and the Insteads are all pretty interesting. Some of them appear very limitedly in the anime but their relationship is really inspired and their weapons really define them as well. There are also some small twists regarding the Authors and Insteads that I really appreciate. They are given decent flashbacks and fleshing out that I can only determine is because they’ll have a major role in the second season. They will leave an impression on you one way or another. As I write this review, I still remember every duo that appeared in the anime. From the twincests to the S&M partners, their twisted yet highly sexual relationship is really different so it stands out magnificently.

Characters pertaining to the third arc don’t have much of a role in the anime but they really build things up for the second season. They give the Gossip a mysterious face that I really appreciate. Most of them talk in the shadows and some are just plain evil that the anime really made sure they have an important role in the anime later on. Kiri’s friends in school also had decent personalities to them. They’re one dimensional but they give the show a light hearted vibe that is really pronounce that you can feel the show slowly getting dark as the story moves away from them. They don’t really do much other than poke fun of each other and give off a youthful vibe yet they really made the show interesting as well. It’s pretty precise balance such as this that I really love about this anime.

Studio Gokumi did a wonderful job with this anime. It’s unbelievably complex and the large overarching story was nicely satisfied in such a short time. This is a fairly underrated studio for sure. They have their misses but the studio that made A-channel certainly have potential and all they need is that attention grabber of a show to get the ball rolling. They’re certainly talented if they try and this anime is a clear proof. I cannot wait for the second season and to see more of that freaky hair fetish featured again. I do hope the anime also enter a familiar gory place but it’s a bummer that the manga itself is pretty restrained in its gore. I do have some issues with the violence in this anime and I’ll rant about that in the section below.

Sight and Sound

Character design is pretty decent. It’s the typical generic style of characters but the detail work makes them stand out. The big expressive eyes coupled by some pretty unique hair style makes the characters very appealing. I especially love it when they focus on the faces and you can see the beauty of the characters up close. The outfits are pretty ordinary since the anime is set in a regular town. Most of the characters wear school uniforms or work clothes. Despite the simple design of the characters, they always seem to make a big impression because of how well their looks compliment their personalities. I am also a huge fan of the different hairstyle in the anime. Our main character has a hair fetish so the anime made sure the hair he is falling in love with is appealing to the audience as well.

The anime had this annoying setup during fight scenes or anything dark. The anime would put a color overlay on such scenes so you’re watching this awesome fight scene in complete red or blue. It’s distracting and I thought the purpose was to censor blood but the anime isn’t shy of showing them. I even checked the gore in the manga and it’s pretty tame (on what was also presented in the anime, I did not read the entire thing). So this was just a stylistic approach of the anime. It’s pretty stupid because you can’t enjoy the fights and the already lack of gore made these scenes a touch disappointing. The ways the characters move are pretty decent though. During light hearted scenes, the animation had a comedic approach to give the show a laidback feel but it changes during mature scenes. Those moments where Kiri is feeling someone’s hair is uncomfortably detailed that you can really feel the tension in the air. The anime is heavy on censors though. The typical blinding light on what seems to be friendly gore to me. Look, I’ve seen Mirai Nikki and Blood C. The gore in this show isn’t even at the ankles of those anime and I find it insulting the anime would even cover it up. They also cover up anything graphic like injecting a needle in someone’s arm or exposing the breasts of a loli. The studio is either very strict minded or they just want people to buy the uncensored BDs to which I say is dumb.

There’s not a lot of blood but the anime still carried out certain graphic scenes. You won’t see it but the screams of pain and the blood splattering all over can give you an idea of how depraved the scenes can get. I think the Romance aspect of the story really toned down the supposed gore of the anime. I did check the manga and it does seem to suffer from the same unfulfilled potential. All I’m saying is that this show needs gore yet it doesn’t want to do that. The anime just asks your imagination to do the leg work.

The anime’s OP is “Unmei no Ori” by Aimi. This is a beautiful song. It’s a dark ballad about loving someone. It has some pretty dark lines to it that I think nicely captures the appeal of the anime. Aimi’s voice is pretty great. She has a deep voice and she gives the song a chilling vibe that I quite admire. The OP sequence is a brief summary of the anime. There are some spoilers but only those that involve the first half of the anime but the appearance of some of the enemies later on does ruin their debut a bit. It also nicely encapsulates the romance in the anime in a lovely montage with the couple often surrounded in flowers.

The anime’s has two ED. The first one is “Glass no Mikazuk” by Iwai Mushanokouji (CV: Kotori Koiwai). This is my favorite song in the anime. Iwai’s voice gives it a sincere note that made the lyrics more profound. Her voice is really outstanding and even the verse is already mesmerizing let alone the chorus. The ED sequence features some cute moment with the couple and then it fades to black. It only plays during the romantic moments of the anime. The second one is “Kimi to Futari” by YURI*KARI. This is the standard ED song. The song itself is pretty normal and it’s the typical cute romance song. It’s the voices of the duo of yuri kari that made this song special. Their voices stood out very nicely and they really gave this song a great personality because the slow pace of the song isn’t really remarkable in any way and the lyrics are too simplistic. The ED sequence features the characters in simple poses, mostly the girls with a bright pink background and petals swaying in the wind. It’s cute.

Overall Score

7/10 “It’s a wonderful mix of lighthearted youthful vigor and a strong dose of darkness and twisted mature themes. There’s also a lot of licking if you’re still not sold on the show. “

The idea of this show laying the groundwork for another season is a bit iffy but there are enough intriguing elements in this show to truly give you an awesome anime experience. If you enjoy dark themes that include murders and blood then you’ll like this anime. If you enjoy a wonderfully developed romance then this show is for you. I recommend it.

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