Striking The Right Note: Kurozuka

After doing a write up on the series itself last Monday, I found myself going on at length about the opening, and ended up deciding to make it the subject of this weeks Striking The Right Note article, just so I could get in depth with it. Which means there will be spoilers for the show itself after this. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want the ending ruined, just skip down and check out the awesome opening credit sequence. Otherwise, continue on.

To recap briefly, Kurozuka is a vampire cyberpunk mystery thriller, about a thousand or more year old vampire with amnesia, looking for his vampire lover in a post apocalyptic wasteland. You can get my full impressions of the series in my previous Monday Anime post.

Just to talk about the opening, though, there’s a fair bit to unpack and examine, especially regarding how it tells you everything about the story of Kurozuka, and can only fully be appreciated once you’ve seen the series as a whole. Which is definitely one of those things I tend to love, as it really showcases how on the ball the creative team was, that they thought to do that.

First off, there’s the initial images we see of Kuro, as he wakes up in ruins, beneath a stained glass painting of Kuromitsu, casting him as his savior figure from the jump. This is exactly how he views her for most of the series, believing that if he can just find her, all his questions abut himself will be answered.

This gets reflected in the final images of the opening, as we see pretty much the exact same shot, frame for frame, of Kuro waking up amidst the ruins. This clever use of the same images gives away pretty much the entire plot, that he has searched for Kuromitsu many, many times over the centuries, always to find her, just so she can chop off his head, make him forget, and start the entire sequence over again. Because it gives her immortal life some measure of meaning. The difference between the first and last shots, however, is that in the last one, Kuromitsu’s image is gone, highlighting the fact that she is not Kuro’s savior in any way, but rather, in a real sense, his tormentor.

Between those first and last shots, there are many scenes of Kuro just wandering, sometimes alone, sometimes in crowds, as faint, flickering images of Kuromitsu pass him by. Doomed to eternally search for that which will always be out of his grasp, Kuro is also always surrounded by people, but never allowed to be part of them, isolated in both his recurring amnesia, and his immortal state, with only his beloved torturer as a constant.

Several shots of Kuro fighting are added in, for he must always battle his way to Kuromitsu, possibly reflecting their first meeting, but to my mind, symbolic of how she chooses to challenge him to reach her. Through pain and suffering.

One of the better use of imagery present is that of Kuromitsu, in her beautiful state, slowly turning more abstract and nightmarish, until she becomes unrecognizable. As Kuromitsu is a pretty enigmatic figure until the last, this is at first just a shocking bit of eye candy that later takes on a fuller meaning, as we realize that this is how Kuro, when he does have his memories, perceives her. Once someone he sought, turning to fear, and finally, a person he doesn’t even know. It doubles as a way of showing his amnesia is recurring, since she is at first his goal, but steadily grows more and more sinister the closer he gets to her.

Probably my favorite part of this, though, is where he sees her, shining like a beacon, and runs towards her, only to have her shrink ever farther from him. No matter how many times they repeat these events, until the end of time, he will never truly be with her. She will always be a goal, one he can not ever reach, but can’t recall why.

The entire opening serves to highlight just how messed up their entire relationship is, how nightmarish his existence has become, and how hopeless everything that happens has truly become. Every major plot point is revealed in metaphor, and the clever use of imagery, but isn’t something that can be fully understood until after the end of the last episode.

That’s just artistic.

Add to that, the use of Wagdug Futuristic Unity’s punk song, Systematic People, and it’s the cherry on the top, as the vocals are frequently repeated, just like Kuro’s search for the woman he loves. All of it together creates the perfect opening for this vampire tale of the endless pursuit for love.

Check it out.

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