What They Say:
Kiri Haimura loves cutting hair. Actually, he doesn’t just love cutting hair, he obsesses over it and even has a special set of scissors he delights in using. But when his mane obsession for a bit of trim draws him to Iwai Mushanokoji, whose long hair has never been cut, he finds himself entangled in a situation no shears can hack him out of. You see, Iwai is heir to a strange curse that makes her hair impossible to cut. Or at least, it was until Kiri’s clippers take off a lock, thereby revealing that his scissors are cursed as well!
But now that she’s shorn free, Iwai has a slew of “murderers” after her, each armed with their own cursed implements and eager for the chance to kill the “Hair Queen.” And if that’s not enough to make Kiri wig out, it seems that many of them actually attend his own school! Will this evil crew cut in on Kiri’s Hair Queen, or will he snip their ambitions in the bud?
The only audio track available was Japanese 2.0. English subtitles are provided for non-native speakers like myself. The audio quality was fine, but as always with sub-only titles I found it difficult to pay attention to what I was hearing. I’m an old man and I can’t divide my attention that well anymore.
Each episode is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. The video quality was fine with no discernable issues.
Thirteen episodes come packaged on three DVDs housed in a standard DVD case. The first two discs reside in a center insert and the final disc is on the inside of the back cover. The case takes up the same amount of space as a regular, single-disc DVD, which I appreciate. The case doesn’t have a slip cover, which is a bit unusual these days. The front cover shows the principal characters in various poses, most in profile against a red and white background. The show’s title cuts across diagonally from the bottom lefthand corner to the middle right. Intersecting the title is “Complete Collection. 13 episodes. 3 discs” creating an “X,” which is neat.
The spine looks pretty cool. There are splotches at the top, like a fountain pen dripped ink there. The title is in a good font and a line runs through it, as if it were cut. And one of the female characters is on the bottom, wearing a maid costume that shows a lot of cleavage. She doesn’t look too happy about it. The back follows the standard format with the story synopsis taking up the majority of real estate. It’s flanked by various characters from the show and screenshots. Beneath it lies the cast and crew credits and DVD specifications. Overall, it’s a solid design that gives you a pretty good idea of the content.
The menus are big fat liars. They follow the same format: one of the female characters takes up the right side of the screen and the left side of the screen has the episode and special features options. The female characters are drawn in very salacious ways, with disc two presenting us with a full-frontal shot of the character Ruka, wearing only purple stockings and sitting what looks like an ermine cape. I’m really not sure why the felt the need to draw her this way, because there’s no nudity or fanservice in the show. In fact, whenever the show gets sexual, it’s rather disturbing and kind of gross.
In terms of functionality, the design works fine. It’s just a liar.
Nothing to write home about here. You’ve got your standard clean Op/Ed and that’s pretty much it.
Based on the manga by Tatsuhiko Hikagi, The Severing Crime Edge follows the adventures of Iwai Mushanokouji and her protector/love interest Kiri Haimura. Iwai is the fabled “Hair Queen.” She inherited a family curse that makes her hair uncuttable. Her curse is also related to the mysterious items known as “Killing Goods”—tools used by serial killers that are imbued with special powers. The wielders of these goods are called “Authors” and legend says that if an author can kill the Hair Queen, then they can have any wish granted. So, basically, Iwai walks around with a big red “X” on her back at all times.
Because of the danger she faces from the Authors, Iwai lived alone in her deceased father’s house. The sisters Yamane Byouinzaka and Houko Byouinzaka, bring her groceries and medical supplies. It’s unclear at first why they do this, but we soon learn that Yamane is an Author, and that the sisters are under supervision by Kanae Sumeragi, who works on the sidelines for an organization called Gossip.
To backtrack for just a moment, Gossip is a powerful organization dedicated to observing Authors. It has deep roots and great political and economic power, but kind of serves the same as the Watcher’s Council in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in that they can guide, but their main role is to observe. Unlike the Watchers, Gossip seems to exist solely for the amusement of those in power.
See, the Killing Goods not only possess power, they also possess the mania and the fetish of their original users. This will often overpowers the Authors, causing them to act out the same crimes again and again and again. The only way around this is through the use of “Insteads” sacrificial lambs that stand in for victims. For example, Yamane possesses the Killing Good “The Injection of Eternal Sleep” (All Killing Goods have weird names), a syringe used by an evil nurse known as Nightingale. Whenever the urge to kill threatens to overwhelm Yamane, she injects saline into her sister Houko—her Instead—and even though she doesn’t kill Houko, she manages to scratch that itch.
The principal players exist in a kind of holding pattern until Kiri Haimura arrives. Kiri’s kind of a weird guy with a definite hair fetish and a pair of antique scissors he carries with him everywhere he goes. It turns out the scissors, dubbed “The Severing Crime Edge,” belonged to his ancestor Norma Grayland, a notorious serial killer said to have murdered over two hundred people. The moment Kiri sees Iwai, he obsesses over cutting her hair to the point where he trespasses on her property. Iwai, starving for human contact, lets him in, and after several failed attempts at cutting her hair with normal scissors, Kiri uses Severing and voila! her hair is cut.
This opens up a whole new world for Iwai. She starts going to school and generally goes out more. The only catch is her hair grows back to its former length every midnight, so Kiri must cut her hair every night. Since he loves doing that, he doesn’t see that as a problem. In fact, it becomes clear that Iwai serves as his Instead. Soon the two develop a deep attraction, but because they’re kids, they don’t know how to express their feelings to each other.
It doesn’t help that every five seconds someone new comes along to try and kill Iwai. Kiri protects her, and the power of his scissors is rather awesome to behold. But it’s also kind of a cheat, because I never really felt like they were in danger. Once Kiri whips out the scissors it’s goodnight, Irene for whatever poor soul decided to mess with his main squeeze.
The only exception to this was the two part episode where Kiri and Iwai go off to a weekend camp retreat. It turns out that the vice president of the student council at their school is also a Killing Goods Author (she’s the nekkid chick I described in the menu for disc two). Her Killing Goods is the “Pet Whip of Submissive Butchery” and she slap people with it, turning them into submissive zombies. Her plan goes into motion at night and Iwai has to run through a locked building, chased by her classmates who have been compelled not only to kill her, but to rape and abuse her as much as possible. It’s a truly disturbing scene, and I feel like it served as the apex point of this work. In terms of theme and technique, this was definitely the point where Severing Crime Edge lived up to its potential, but the show never quite reached that same height again.
Part of the issue is that Kiri is way too overpowered, but a larger problem is the inconsistent theme. Sometimes the show is cute and silly, sometimes it’s dark and frightening, and sometimes it’s weirdly sexual. Spit plays an important role in this show, but I can’t say what it’s supposed to symbolize. The Authors often lick their Killing Goods, leaving long, copious, damn near pornographic levels of spit, indicating a strong, sexual undercurrent to the Goods’ influence. Often the “killing” of the Insteads takes on an erotic tone that’s disturbing, but I’m not sure what the point of all of it is.
The show raises some interesting questions about morality, obsession, and compulsion, but it never truly capitalizes on it. Again, thematically, the work is all over the place, and my overall reaction to it was indifference. It’s not a bad show, but it’s not a good one either. If they went balls-to-the-wall and just rode the themes to their logical conclusion, I might feel differently, but this is solidly mediocre title.
The Severing Crime Edge features some interesting ideas, but it never focuses enough on the core theme to make this a good show. This is one of those series that I forgot almost instantly after watching it. Dr. Josh gives this a….
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: A (I guess)
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: D
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
Running Time: 325 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection