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Shikabane Hime (屍姫?, lit. Corpse Princess) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshiichi Akahito. Premiering in Monthly Shōnen Gangan on April 12, 2005, the series centers around the "Corpse Princess" Makina Hoshimura, an undead girl who is hunting down 108 undead corpses in order to gain entry into heaven with the help of a secret society of anti-corpse Buddhist monks.

Feel and Gainax partnered together to adapt the series into a thirteen episode anime series. The first season, Aka ( Light?), premiered on AT-X on October 2, 2008. A second season, Kuro ( Mystery?), aired between January and March 2009. The anime is licensed for North American distribution and release by Funimation Entertainment, which has already started releasing the episodes in subtitled form as Shikabane Hime through various online distribution companies and through its own website.

Plot

After being murdered, Makina Hoshimura turns into a "living corpse". Armed with dual MAC-11 submachine guns, she must kill 108 other corpses in order to gain entry into heaven. She is assisted in this task by Keisei Tagami, a Buddhist priest with links to an anti-corpse group known as the Kougun Sect. Her ultimate goal is to avenge the death of her family, by destroying the corpses known as the Seven Stars.

Characters

Kōgon Sect

Contract Monks

Ōri Kagami (花神 旺里 Kagami Ōri?)
Voiced by: Tatsuya Hasome (Japanese), Aaron Dismuke (English)
A normal high school boy who was raised at Keisei Tagami's temple. He treats Keisei as his brother even though they are not blood related. Kagami is able to appear where the corpses are because of a mysterious cat who began to talk to him. After the second time talking to the cat, Kagami knew that when he saw the cat he had to follow it, leading him to the corpses. He has also been nicknamed by the children at the temple "Hanagami".
Keisei Tagami (田神 景世 Tagami Keisei?)
Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara (Japanese), J. Michael Tatum (English)
Keisei Tagami is a Buddhist priest under the anti-corpse Kōgon Sect. He found Ōri Kagami as a three-year-old child and raised him at his temple orphanage. Tagami was an orphan himself, raised by Makina Hoshimura's father. When the Hoshimura Family was brutally murdered, he agreed to become Makina's contractor priest. He is something of a pervert, often offering (or forcing upon) Ōri sexual posters or skin mags.
Rika Aragami (荒神 莉花 Aragami Rika?)
Voiced by: Saeko Chiba (Japanese), Cynthia Cranz (English)
A Female contractor priest. She is one of the ten great holy Families. Which are the descendants of the ten senior disciples of the Founder and obligated to become contracted monks to shikabane hime. Not only is she the contractor priest of Saki, but she is well known for her ability to heal others.
Takamasa Sōgi (送儀 嵩征 Sōgi Takamasa?)
Voiced by: Tokuyoshi Kawashima (Japanese), Joel McDonald (English)
The contractor priest of Itsuki. Their relationship is a complicated one. While the two seem to have a romantic relationship, they claim that is not so. He often fights along side with Itsuki, using a bow.
Sadahiro Mibu (壬生 貞比呂 Mibu Sadahiro?)
Voiced by: Junichi Suwabe (Japanese), Eric Vale (English)
When the series starts, he is introduced as Ōri's manager. We soon realized that he is the contracted priest of Akira and is working undercover to keep an eye on Ōri and Keisei.
Shūji Isaki (伊佐木 修二 Isaki Shūji?)
Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita (Japanese), Mike McFarland (English)
The contractor priest of Minai. He does not care about others, especially Minai, who he treats like a tool. In the OVA its revealed little of his past and his hatred for his older brother. Isaki was made a contract priest due to his brothers contacts. He intended to use Minai to kill his older brother, and claim the reasons that Minai killed his brother was because he was unholy and became a shikabane. Isaki and Minai both knew they did not have a bond, but before Minai would turn into a shikabane he wanted to become higher status to be even higher than keisei and even be the main monks, to bring down his brother. In the end both Minai and Isaki accomplished to have a bond. In the end it turns out that they had a bond because they had a met a long time ago. In Isaki's family store, which Minai young went their frequently. Isaki dosent show compassion for Minai, but he actually did care for her.
Sougen Takamine
The contractor priest of Kamika Tomoroki and the former mentor of Keisei Tagami.
Kanechika Umehara
The only contractor priest that has two Shikabane Hime. Although in the series, we only follow one of his Shikabane Hime, Fresh. The other's name is Touma. Umehara is known for his perverted nature. He does also have the reputation of being well versed in Shikabane.

Shikabane Hime

Makina Hoshimura (星村 眞姫那 Hoshimura Makina?)
Voiced by: Nana Akiyama (Japanese), Luci Christian (English)
Makina is the main character and a contracted "living corpse". She is tasked with killing 108 corpses to gain entrance to heaven. She has formidable physical skills and her weapon of choice are two Ingram MAC-11 machine guns. Her contractor priest is Keisei Tagami. Later in the story it is revealed that her family discovered the process of making corpse princesses.
Saki Amase (天瀬 早季 Amase Saki?)
Voiced by: Mika Kikuchi (Japanese), Monica Rial (English)
Rika's partnered Shikabane Hime. Saki is a 10 year old mischievous girl who enjoys teasing Rika. She is usually seen munching on chips or drinking juice. Her weapon of choice is a massive hammer. Unlike other Shikabane Hime her contracted monk happens to be one of the ten great holy families, which means that no ordinary Shikabane can defeat her.
Itsuki Yamagami (山神 異月 Yamagami Itsuki?)
Voiced by: Sase Nakamura (Japanese), Cherami Leigh (English)
Takamasa's Shikabane Hime. She died in an automobile accident and came back with the regret of not living the life of a teenage girl. She bonded with Takamasa because she thought he was a powerful monk and would help her get to Heaven faster. Unfortunately, Takamasa knew nothing about the Shikabane Himes before that. Regardless, the two continued to work as a team. During their time, they began to develop romantic feelings for each other. However, they were unable to act on them because Itsuki was a Shikabane Hime. She fights with a pair of M945 Combat handguns.
Akira Tōoka (遠岡 アキラ Tōoka Akira?)
Voiced by: Aoi Yūki (Japanese), Anastasia Munoz (English)
Sadahiro's cynical Shikabane Hime. Often, she hits Sadahiro to stop him from saying something. Almost nothing is revealed about her past, except for her cause of death by some men. She fights using a sniper rifle.
Minai Ruo (瑠翁 水薙生 Ruo Minai?)
Voiced by: Yuka Hirata (Japanese), Colleen Clinkenbeard (English)
Isaki's Shikabane Hime. Her weapon of choice is a pair of brass knuckles. It was revealed throughout the first episodes that she committed suicide for killing someone. She believed that her becoming a Shikabane Hime was punishment for her sins, but after meeting Ōri, she came to see it as a way to save others. She did grow close to Ōri, but before a relationship could be formed, Isaki was killed; despite Sadahiro's offer to help her transferring her bond to Ōri, she ultimately allowed herself to be terminated rather than taking up the offer or reverting to a rogue Shikabane. In the OVA of Shikabane Hime, Minai's past is revealed of how she became a Shikabane Hime. Minai was in an abusive relationship and she struck him with a knife which killed him and then she committed suicide. Soon after, the Kōgon Sect got ahold of her. She was intended to be Keisei's Shikabane Hime but Isaki volunteered to be her Priest. From the start Minai was doubted as to whether or not she could be a Shikabane Hime due to the fact that her contract was incomplete. Isaki and Minai had to have a bond before the contract or else it would be meaningless. So Sadahiro and his Shikabane Hime were both sent to investigate. Later it was revealed that Isaki didn't lie about he having a bond with her. they had indeed met in the past.
Kamika Todoroki
Takamine's Shikabane Hime. Nicknamed as "Sword Hime," Kamika has been referred to as the strongest shikabane hime not necessarily for the level of her strength, but her regret and will.
Fresh (Flesh in the Funimation sub)
One of Umehara's Shikabane Hime.

Shikabane

Harem Criminal
A vampire like Shikabane who kidnaps women and kills them in groups. His power appears to allow him to control people he bites. He can also transform into bats. It is speculated that he made some of the women kill each other.
Kun Osaki
A J-Pop star who died of a heart disease. She became a Shikabane because she wanted to keep singing. She can use her voice as a weapon.
SUV
A Shikabane that takes on the form of an SUV. It lays in wait for people to get into it and start driving. It then takes control and forces the passengers to kill each other.
Bandit
A nameless Shikabane that was formed from a robber who killed his partners and himself when they were surround by the police. He is protective of the money he stole and uses it to attack people.
Tomoharu Kishibe
Initially a normal teenage boy and a friend of Takamasa and Itsuki. He died in a car accident with his parents and sister when a group of teenage drivers made them swerve off the cliff. He gained the power to control the engines of 4WDs and 2WDs. He used his power to kill those teens. After that, he began targeting teenagers who liked to drive fast and their spectators.

Seven Stars

The Seven Stars are seven Shikabane who work together for a common goal. They are extremely powerful.

Hokuto
A special Shikabane who has no regrets, obsessions or even nature within her. Her death however, makes her one of the most dangerous, yet powerful undead being around. She was raised as a sacrifice, born to be killed as a child. She never experienced grief, pain, sadness or even happiness. Right after being killed, she is reborn as a Shikabane.
Isaka
Known for his ability to open portals.
Hazama
Has giant centipedes for arms. At first glance, most assume that he is the leader of the Seven Stars. In reality, he is the right hand of the true leader, Hokuto.
Kowaku
His curse allows him to change the make up of his body. He is killed by Makina near the end of the first season.
Ena
Ena is obsessed with beauty. His curse allows him to switch from one corpse to another, as long as they are near by.
Hizuchi
Ori's mother was responsible for his death. Hizuchi is determined to make Ori pay for what happened to him.
Toya
The most bizarre looking of the Seven Stars. She appears to be a man covered in a coat, but where a head should be, there is a cluster of balloons. Her curse allows her to manipulate the minds of people. She can also place balloons on people that cause their happiness to grow, until it reaches its peak. At that point, the person dies. It is revealed near the end that Toya was a little girl from a very poor family. One day, she and her parents suddenly went to an amusement park for a fun day before they committed suicide. As a result, Toya views death as happiness.

Others

Nozomi Kasuga
A classmate of Ōri, nicknamed Omune-sama or "Breast Goddess". In the first chapter of the manga she and a few other students visited a "man-eating house", where she was attacked and injured by a group of corpses. She was saved by Makina, and since then she's developed a fascination with death. This fascination leads her to stalk Makina and later Ōri. She also becomes attracted to Ōri and desires to become a Shikabane Hime, so she could be with him forever.
Mizuki Inuhiko
A classmate of Ōri. She tends to be very observant and dreams of becoming the president of the student council.
Sumitori
Another classmate of Ori's. Very innocent and oblivious to the world of Shikabane.
Ushijima
The girl-obsessed friend of Ori Kagami.
Riko
The "Mother Hen" of sorts. She is in charge of the Dai Rin House, which is where Ori grew up with Keisei.

Terminology

Shikabane
Sometimes referred to as corpses. When a person dies with a powerful regret or obsession, they may become a Shikabane. As a Shikabane, they are undead but retain some degree of memory and intelligence. Their appearance may also differ greatly from that of a human. Shikabane are given superhuman strength and a unique ability or attribute called a curse. Shikabane have no feeling towards living and tend to kill them as driven by their regret or obsession. A Shikabane can be killed by destroying or otherwise severing their brains.
Shikabane Hime
Shikabane Hime are Shikabane that follow the Kōgon Sect. So far only girls of a certain age group can become a Shikabane Hime. Each of them is partnered with a monk, who provides them with life energy called Rune. In exchange, the Shikabane Hime act as shields for their monk. They are used to hunt and kill rogue Shikabane- in fact, once they kill 108 Shikabane, they receive the reward of going to Heaven (this number may be from the number of sins in Buddhism). Shikabane Hime keep their human form but do still have their own curses that occasionally manifest, and unlike rogue Shikabane, Shikabane Hime are not driven by their regrets or obsessions to the same degree of madness. If their partner monk dies and a replacement is not forthcoming, however, the Shikabane Hime usually die or become Shikabane. Despite their contribution to the fight against the rogue Shikabane, they are shunned by most of the Kōgon Sect followers due to their nature as Shikabane.
Contract Monk
Contract Monks are the partner monks of the Shikabane Hime. They usually provide their Shikabane Hime with support and is linked by via a bond.
Curse
A curse is a unique power that a Shikabane possess. Generally, it has something to do with their obsession or regret.
Investigator
A monk who acts as support for Contract Monks. They usually do not have a contract of their own.

Media

Manga

The manga series premiered in Japan in the April 12, 2005 issue of Monthly Shōnen Gangan where it is still on-going. Individual chapters are collected and published in tankōbon volumes by Square Enix.[1] The first volume was released on August 22, 2005; as of January 2010, eleven volumes have been released.[1]

Anime

Produced by Feel and Gainax, Shikabane Hime: Aka (屍姫 赫 Corpse Princess: White?) is a thirteen episode anime adaptation of the manga series. It premiered in Japan on AT-X on October 2, 2008.[2] The episodes also air on BS11, Chiba TV, KBS Kyoto, Sun TV, Tokyo MX TV, TV Aichi, TV Kanagawa and TV Saitama.[3] The opening and ending themes, "Beautiful fighter" and "My story", had a single release from angela on November 12, 2008.[4]

The series is licensed for North American distribution and release by Funimation Entertainment which is releasing the series as Shikabane Hime. On October 24, 2008, the thirteen episodes began airing online with English subtitles through Funimation's official YouTube, Joost, and Hulu.com channels, with higher end downloadable versions released on the company's own website.[5] Funimation noted that they hope this relatively quick release through online means will help prevent piracy. Traditionally, according to the president of Funimation Entertainment Gen Fukunaga, "by the time a licensing deal is signed to bring a series from Japan to the U.S. the episodes are already available as illegal downloads."[6]

A second season, titled Shikabane Hime: Kuro (屍姫 玄 Corpse Princess: Black?), aired in Japan between January and March 2009.[7] Episode 26 of the series, or Kuro 13, was released as a DVD only episode in August 2009.[8]

References

External links

it:Shikabane Himeuk:Shikabane Hime zh:屍姬

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