Throughout history, there have been those whose actions allow them to exist far beyond their lifespan. Records, memories, stories, any number of medium detailing how one person managed to leave a mark on the world. Though not all are remembered in a positive light, having left their mark on the world in blood. Though, despite the horror of these past figures, solace can be taken in the fact that they are long passed. I mean, it’s not like there’s a collection of cursed weapons infused with their souls, ready to infect their descendants with a murderous rage…
Oh wait, there totally is. But we’ll get to that in a bit, first let’s meet some characters. Namely Kiri Haimura and Iwai Mushanokoji. So Kiri, he’s a highschool student who…ummm…really likes hair and the act of cutting hair. Yes, in that way. So when he hears a story about a ghost possessing tremendously long, silky hair, he has no choice but to check it out. Of course there’s no such thing as ghosts (that’d be silly), instead Kiri finds a sweet girl by the name of Iwai whose hair was cursed to be uncuttable. Totally legit. At this discovery, Kiri is filled with a mixture of joy and sorrow, both marvelling at Iwai’s beautiful hair and longing to cut it. After spending the barest amount of time together, a lot of which was awkward advances and ungodly amounts of mouth breathing, the two form some kind of inexplicable bond. It’s kinda like Romeo and Juliet, but hella creepy. Anywhat, Kiri returns to Iwai, after having been booted out of the house by her guardians/sisters/father’s murderers, holding in his hands a pair of scissors passed down his family line for generations (hooray for inheritance). Amazingly, the scissors are able to cut Iwai’s cursed hair and so begins one of the weirdest relationships ever in the history of anything.
But don’t let this lovey dovey relationship based on hair fool you, there is murder afoot. You see, as I mentioned earlier, there exist a specific collection of items imbued with the corrupt soul of murderers, known as Killing Goods. As I’m sure you can guess, Kiri’s scissors just so happen to be one of these items, along with being the titular Severing Crime Edge, as so dubbed by Iwai and Kiri himself. Though their existence may seem bad enough on their own, the items are actually connected to Iwai, who is in fact the legendary Queen of Hair…because let’s face it, Kiri is into that and his weapon is a pair of scissors. This plot point is just their to keep him interested, regardless of how convenient it is on a meta level. Anyway, because rich people are bored and have nothing better to do, Kiri’s involvement with Iwai kicks off a centuries old game of murder, wherein whoever kills the Queen of Hair will receive one wish. Thus Kiri vows to protect her with all his might…and also cut her hair every morning because it all grows back at midnight.
It is at this point that we meet a number of other Authors (the ones who wield the weapons) all vying to slaughter Iwai. Now I know murderers aren’t exactly known for blending into social norms, but the people Kiri faces have some serious issues. Ok, example time. In what I believe to be one of the best elements of the series, each Author has someone known as an Instead. These people act as a sort of release for the Authors, who are able to let out their murderous intent in a non-lethal way. This is necessary because failure to act on their urges causes a build up of corruption that breaks an Authors mind, turning them into a directionless killing machine. See, a pretty cool plot point. Now we come to the execution. The Instead really like their position. Like really like it. Now I know that everyone has their own interests in life, but they aren’t really something that everybody needs to be privy to. In this vein, I kinda felt like I shouldn’t have been seeing some of the scenes that played out before me. Literally only one of the Insteads presented didn’t get some kind of sexual gratification out of their position, instead taking a more innocent, romantic standpoint. They did also try to make Kiri and Iwai’s connection seem this way, but it continuously fluctuated between being sweet and creepy. From pleasant hair cut under the stars to forceful hair smelling in a bedroom, there was no consistency. I suppose you could refute that this was due to his Killing Goods, but his ancestor had nothing to do with hair. That’s all Kiri. Also, onto another pairing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen two people so happy about an injection before…and I don’t think I wanted to. Again, I get that these murderers are supposed to be crazy, but honestly most of the time it felt like fetish vs fetish. Be it the previously described interest in hair or a particular liking for passing out. Hell, one person just has a riding crop. I don’t even need to explain that one. I will admit that this attitude did seem to lessen as the series progressed, so that’s a plus. Either that or I just got used to it…
When the series actually decided to focus on the actual killing part of the killing game, things got a whole lot darker. Though fights were often swift, they did possess a decent amount of action which was presented pretty well. Though a tremendous amount of quick cuts and zoom tended to obscure the entirety of a fight scene, it did add a sense of movement and flow to the visual. Though, when it came to the actual action, I’m not entirely sure what the series policy was. Some fight scenes would show rather graphic slices that gushed blood, or slices that honestly made me hurt, whilst others would cut away right at the moment of damage. It just seemed like some episodes were using more censorship than others, it was a little weird. Though it can be agreed upon that the series favoured a monochromatic battle visual, I guess murder isn’t as frightening when everything is a shade of green. That being said, they certainly didn’t hold anything back towards the end of the series. These later moments also serves as an example of just how well facial expressions can make a scene. From sadism incarnate to a visage of pure terror, you’ll find it all when the series decides to live up to its potential. Though for the most part you’ll spend your time seeing visuals of billowing hair and more blushing than you ever thought possible in an anime. Though that fact that Iwai’s hairstyle kept changing over the course of the series was certainly a nice touch.
So there you have The Severing Crime Edge. A series about curses, murderers and carnage that spend most of its time dealing with the way-too-personal interests of its characters. Look, I’m not saying that the plot didn’t progress, I’m just saying that it didn’t progress enough. Ironically, the first episode suffered from the exact opposite problem, wherein too much happened too fast. Less than five minutes after it began, Kiri has met Iwai, creepily stared at her through a window, oddly complimented her hair, hurt himself and caressed her hair. A few minutes after that, he was smelling her hair while both of them breathed heavily. Seriously. So. Much. Heavy. Breathing. Made more real by the fact you can see their breath, so you know that things are far from cold. Look, I don’t mean to be entirely negative, but I feel that this was another series that had a whole lot of potential that was left untapped. Though there were moments when these displays of killing intent/affection were played as a twisted burden upon the Authors, they were far outnumbered by those that presented them as overt sexual moments. Which is honestly a shame. Had the series instead focused more on the burden and danger of the Killing Goods, it could’ve been a far more powerful series.
Though there were moments that I believe were truly constructed well, with a great deal of intrigue and emotion behind them, they felt disjointed from the norm of the series. Definitely ambitious in its desire to shift to whatever genre best suits the moment, the series winds up being too sporadic to truly find its place. Though this might sound a touch like a personal tirade against anime that don’t shy away from the more personal interactions of characters, I feel that they wouldn’t have been a problem if they were expressed in a more meaningful way, or at least had some noticeable lasting consequences. It’s also hard to overlook the fact that the series just kinda stops, obviously vying for a second season, as evidenced by the montage during the credits (of scenes yet to play out). At the end of the day, The Severing Crime Edge was and intriguing story about compulsion, corruption and murder that was just a bit lacking in execution.
*Snip snip* Why not make an appointment with the Authors over at Madman…before they make one with you Instead.