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Cryptkeeper Matt Kamen introduces the living and undead cast of the new action-horror series Corpse Princess

Makina Hoshimura. Poor, poor Makina – murdered with the rest of her family, her one lucky break was that she was one of the rare candidates capable of rising from the dead as a ‘shikabane hime’, the corpse princess of the title. Fed with the life force of the monk Keisei Tagami, she’s one of the few beings who can bring down standard shikabane, revenant corpses warped beyond their roles in life, and out to destroy humanity. Wielding a pair of MAC-11 submachine guns, she channels her rage into slaughtering monsters, hoping to ascend to heaven once she has dispatched 108 of them.

Ouri Kagami. A 15-year old orphan, Ouri is what you might call ‘spiritually aware’. Drawn to strange goings-on, he discovers Makina’s body after an especially brutal battle, cut all over and definitely dead – making it all the more strange when she shows up, unharmed, a couple of days later. Sucked into the hidden world of the shikabane and those who hunt them, Ouri brings a an outsider’s viewpoint to the centuries-long battle, refusing to see either the undead horrors or the corpse princesses as just cannon fodder. Optimistic and kind, if a touch naive, his caring personality grates on Makina for a long time.

Keisei Tagami. A relatively young Buddhist monk of the secretive Kougun Sect, Keisei is trained to combat the shikabane alongside girls such as Makina. Despite his serious vocation, his demeanour is light-hearted, often pulling pranks on Ouri, whom he treats as his own brother. His day-to-day duties involve running the temple orphanage. His frequent jokes are perhaps a defence mechanism to distract himself from the weight of his nocturnal duties and daylight responsibilities.

Rika Aragami and Saki Amase. This powerful monk/princess team is the toughest around – and Saki in particular won’t let you forget it! Rika is the only female contracted monk, descended from one of ten great holy families and possessing potent healing abilities, while Saki is a ten-year old girl brandishing a ridiculously oversized and decidedly lethal hammer. Both characters are fiendishly powerful, and all but the most powerful shikabane pose little challenge to them.

Akasha Shishidou. The villain of the piece, though you’ll only see him floating in the background during the early episodes. Secretly manipulating the shikabane into even more ferocious forms, Akasha was once a priest of Kougun himself, whose own tragic past and the fate of the Shikabane Hime he was partnered with drove him away from his once-unshakable faith. Exiling himself for five years, Akasha has now resurfaced, working with a group of extraordinarily powerful shikabane known as the ‘Seven Stars’, aiming towards a common goal.

Just what that goal is, and whether Makina and the other Shikabane Hime can prevent Akasha achieving it is a secret only the complete first season of Corpse Princess can answer!

Corpse Princess part one is out on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

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