What They Say:
Episode 1: “The Sleeping Princess”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based upon the original manga Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge by Tatsuhiko Hikagi, The Severing Crime Edge tells the story of Kiri Haimura, a boy who has an obsession with cutting hair, and Iwai Mushanokouji, a girl who is under a curse that prevents her hair from being cut. Sounds like a recipe for frustration. So, what does it really offer?
This show has to have quite possibly one of the most creepy beginnings I’ve seen in a while. After hearing a story at about a mansion on top of a hill where a long-haired ghost lives, Kiri Haimura gets off at the nearest bus stop and makes his way to the mansion, where he discovers a somewhat small girl with incredibly long hair whom he immediately dubs “The Queen of Hair.” He comes up to the girl, who is inside the greenhouse room of the mansion, where he fantasizes about cutting her hair. In the most near-psychotic manner possible.
The boy ain’t right.
The girl invites Kiri in and he tells her his story about hair, but instead of throwing him out right away (as any sane girl would probably do), she instead pulls out a small arsenal of scissors and allows Kiri to cut away. Except he can’t, since no scissors are able to do the job. The girl now gives her name, Iwai Mushanohouji, and tells Kiri about her curse. Though he cannot cut it, he still loves her hair. Disturbing scenes follow. (Okay, slight overstatement, but it is slightly creepy, his fondling of her hair).
Suddenly, two women break into the room and drag Kiri away. Iwai pulls Kiri aside before he leaves and warns him the two are psychotic killers (and Kiri isn’t a bit on the mentally deranged side?), or at least are descended from psychotic killers and are in possession of “Killing Goods.” Whatever these are are left vague for the moment, but it’s obvious that a marker has been laid down for the future. On the bus, Kiri talks to the two girls, the more boisterous and older of the two laughing heartily at Iwai’s accusation against them (Kiri himself, quite reasonably, doubts the truth of Iwai’s statement) and informing Kiri that the girl is cursed and under the supervision of an organization (unnamed as of yet) as both her parents have died.
Back home, Kiri thinks over his situation and boldly declares that as much as the thought of cutting long black hair excites him, Iwai will be the only center of his attention from now on. Yes, this show is not holding back at all on showing how much of a freak Kiri is. In school the next day, however, he appears different. One of his classmates who usually talks about her own hair, trying to get Kiri to do his apparently normal freak out about it, instead gets the cold shoulder. While we know the real reason (his newly sworn allegiance to Iwai and Iwai alone), the others put it down to his sudden seeming popularity with girls, as Byouinzaka from the next class came to ask about Kiri. Byouinzaka’s interest is different, as we already know, since she was one of the girls who dragged Kiri away from Iwai the day before. Interestingly, one of Kiri’s classmates is disturbed at the thought of Byouinzaka, since he thinks she looks like someone who has killed another person.
After school, Kiri goes to visit Iwai again, and again it ends with a confrontation with Byouinzaka and the older woman, who now threaten him with violence if he does not stop his visits. Again, the Killing Goods are mentioned, and it becomes slightly more clear these are murder weapons passed down in families. Back at home, Kiri goes into a funk and is questioned by his grandfather, with whom he lives (there is no sign of his mother, and mention of his father makes it seem that he does not live at this house). The grandfather thinks that maybe it is trouble at school caused by Kiri’s name. His name? Yes, his name, as it appears that the family is hiding something of a dark secret: several generations back, one of their ancestors was a notorious murderer. His instrument of choice? A pair of serrated scissors, exactly like the one Kiri carries around as part of his hair obsession.
That wasn’t obvious. No. No. Certainly not. (Okay, enough sarcasm).
So, of course he goes back to Iwai’s house and uses the evil scissors to cut her hair, and of course they work. Iwai now calls it The Crime Edge, since it was used in crimes and has now committed the further crime of “killing” Iwai’s old self with the cursed hair. Kiri adds the word Severing to it and thus is born The Severing Crime Edge, a pair of accursed scissors. Iwai’s dream of having short hair comes true.
While this opening episode is largely free of anything too bloody or horrific, hints have been put down for the future and the episode ends with a cryptic and deliberately sinister phone call between a mysterious man and someone else. “The game has begun.” Whatever this game is, we have no idea yet. What I can say is that this episode has only given us a brief sketch of the world and the players who will make up this drama. It doesn’t shy away from gruesomeness and the more disturbing parts of the human psyche. Having a show centered upon the descendants of psychotic killers who possess the tools of their ancestors’ horrible crimes is a somewhat interesting starting point, but it will all depend on where it goes from here. I’m not sure myself what kind of story they are interested in telling.
What is interesting is that all of the major characters who have been introduced so far are slightly off in one way or another, though that could be explained by all of them being descendants of psychopaths. What may be difficult in the long run is creating audience sympathy for any of them if they start getting too deranged for comfort.
Kiri is obsessed with cutting hair and Iwai has a lot of it, so it would seem to be a match made in heaven. But Iwai’s hair is cursed and cannot be cut, until Kiri discovers that he holds the one pair of scissors that can do the job, The Severing Crime Edge. Show over? No, this is just the beginning, as it appears that this world centers on a group of psychotic killers, or descendants of killers, who have in their possession the instruments of their ancestors’ crimes. Where will this lead? I am not sure of anything, except that there will be blood.
Episode Grade: B
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
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