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The Severing Crime Edge – Review

by Miguel Douglas

@isugoi

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Haimura Kiri is a seemingly ordinary boy with one slight problem: he is obsessed with cutting other people’s hair. One day he meets Mushiyanokouji Iwai, the “Hair Queen” who cannot cut her hair because of an inherited curse. Kiri finds out that his scissor, “Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge” is the only thing that can cut them. But little did he know that their meeting sparked the start of an old murder game to kill the “Hair Queen” using the cursed killing tools, the “Killing Goods.” Can Kiri protect Iwai from the Killing Goods Owners?

Based on the manga by author Tatsuhiko Hikagi, The Severing Crime Edge is an anime series that is as sincere about its characters relationships as it is glaringly adherent to its own bizarre, erotically derived fetishes. It is this odd dichotomy that initially positions the series as one that may appear as a seemingly modest yet creative narrative detailing the unusual obsessions of individuals, which is all before the series enters the realm of the absurd as it increasingly focuses on the gratifications of its sexual innuendos rather than its narrative. For fans of the manga series, this approach may certainly be appealing as well as solidly in accordance with the source material, but it is also an approach that may have some viewers simply questioning the appeal of such eccentric material in the first place.

For what it does well, The Severing Crime Edge does bring about some pretty exciting action sequences and genuine explorations of the bonds shared between its characters. It also does an adequate job in weaving an intricate tale of intrigue as we as viewers slowly unravel the mysteries surrounding Iwai’s ultimate purpose in the world and Kiri’s role in fulfilling his own destiny in accordance with Iwai’s. It makes for some pretty intense scenes in which Kiri begins to understand the drastic measures he has to take in order to protect Iwai, often times blurring the line between helping her and possibly harming her. Their relationship starts out relatively innocently, with the two characters sharing a bond that is strangely alluring as it somewhat believable. This coupled with the narrative’s complexity regarding ancestral influences and supernatural abilities, makes for a tale that is at the very least entertaining.

Where the series unfortunately falters is how Kiri and Iwai’s relationship is explored and subsequently resolved in the series’ concluding half, not withstanding the overly explicit focus on showcasing their own peculiar fetishes as well as that of other characters. What starts out as a imaginative premise – where Kiri is affixed on wanting to simply cut Iwai’s hair – becomes unnecessarily sexualized as the series proceeds. Now, this could have easily been an acceptable facet of the series given the construct of the manga itself, which was primarily emphasized on delivering an enjoyable narrative as well as appeasing certain fetish-driven audiences. Needless to say, there was a balance of sorts in the end. In the form of an anime series though, the narrative seems entirely too rushed, in turn presenting a series that is constantly struggling in deciding to focus on its narrative or heavily exploring its ecchi-like material. It is rather unfortunate to see that the series largely favors the latter, losing much of its luster it had in its opening episodes.

Alas, this approach does not particularly help the series evolve too much in terms of plot as well. What we do see are spurts of interesting plot developments intermixed with that of sexual eroticism, offering a series that could – and probably will – instantly turn off some viewers expecting to see a simple love story evolve between two characters. But while the focal point of the series is still that of Kiri and Iwai’s bizarre yet endearing relationship, it is continually hampered down by its choice to overly indulge in its own lewdness, a direction that does not add much of anything to the overall narrative of the series besides alienating much of its viewer base. Much of the time dedicated to such salacious scenes could have been spent developing the characters, providing a decent interpretation of the manga itself. This does not take away from the fact that it is still a very unique series considering its premise, but it is just that its problems lay within its adherence to its ecchi material, diminishing much of the emotional interactions of its characters. The Severing Crime Edge no doubt had much potential to be a noteworthy series in terms of creativity, sadly becoming another unremarkable venture that could have been much more than what it currently is.

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Author: Miguel Douglas

As an avid viewer of both Japanese animation and cinema for more than a decade now, Miguel is primarily concerned with establishing a critical look into both mediums as legitimate forms of artistic, cultural, and societal understanding. Never one to simply look at a film or series based solely on superficiality, Miguel has dedicated himself towards bringing awareness to Asian entertainment and its various facets.

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