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Steel Angel Kurumi (鋼鉄天使くるみ Kōtetsu Tenshi Kurumi?) is a manga and anime series following the adventures of its titular character created by Kaishaku. Directed by Naohito Takahashi, animated by Oriental Light and Magic and produced by Pony Canyon with character designs by Yuriko Chiba and Yuji Ikeda and music by Toshihiko Sahashi, it has been translated and released in North America by ADV Films. In 2008 Crunchyroll announced it had partnered with Pony Canyon to release all Steel Angel Kurumi series' for streaming and download.
The Kurumi series as a whole consists of the first show Steel Angel Kurumi, four OVA episodes entitled Steel Angel Kurumi Encore, and a second show by the name of Steel Angel Kurumi 2, plus a sort-of dramatic prequel "Steel Angel Kurumi 0". A live-action version was made, titled Steel Angel Kurumi Pure, but has a different continuity to the anime. This show was originally aired in Japan as part of WOWOW's Anime Complex.
The story follows a young boy named Nakahito Kagura. He is pushed by a group of classmates to go into a house rumored to belong to a mad scientist. Inside, he comes across what seems to be a life-like doll. At the same time, the Japanese Army carries out an attack on the house. During the attack the "doll" falls over and Nakahito accidentally kisses it, causing it to awaken. The doll turns out to be the Steel Angel Kurumi, who is being hunted by the military for mysterious reasons.
- Nakahito Kagura (神維 仲人 Kagura Nakahito?)
- The primary male protagonist for the show, Nakahito unwittingly becomes the master of Steel Angel Kurumi when he accidentally awakens her with a kiss. Hesitant and unsure of himself, he teaches Kurumi as much as he can while slowly falling in love with the hyperactive girl. A mystic of the Onmyou (yin and yang) tradition, he has no observable powers. Much to his chagrin, his older brother Kamihito boasts great control of spiritual abilities. Although he has latent potential, as evidenced by his awakening of Kurumi, Nakahito's numerous attempts at honing his direct abilities end in failure. Clearly caught between manhood and boyhood, Nakahito seems unsure of how to handle the relentless attention of Kurumi and his other numerous one-sided love interests.
- Kurumi (くるみ?)
- A Steel Angel built by Dr. Ayanokouji and equipped with a Mark II Heart, she is awakened by Nakahito's kiss in the first episode and immediately becomes possessive of him while simultaneously pledging her love and service to him. The main female lead and an incredibly wild individual, she is overwhelmingly manic when it comes to Nakahito, whom she calls "Master". She is very protective of her master and her sisters, she will stop at nothing to ensure their safety. She is impossibly strong and rather handily defeats all her opponents due to her Mark II Heart. Although she does her best to follow orders and help out the Kagura brothers, her clumsy and ditzy nature proves to be a significant stumbling block. She is the oldest of the Angel "sisters" and assumes a fairly typical "older sister" attitude when speaking with them. Kurumi has pink hair and wears a blue maid's outfit with red trim.
- Saki (サキ?)
- Another Steel Angel built by Dr. Ayanokouji, Saki was activated by Dr. Amagi with Dr. Brandow's help, and given orders to destroy Kurumi and seize her Mark II Heart. Amagi and the General decide to use the largest of the seized Angel Hearts to give Saki as much power as possible. Saki and Kurumi fight, with the latter being defeated easily due to Nakahito's still-standing order to not fight. The victory is short-lived however, as Saki's improper activation causes her to collapse. Kurumi kisses Saki, and her Mark II Heart re-energizes Saki's Angel Heart. The action permanently activates Saki, and the master-servant relationship is reinstated, with Saki pledging her loyalty and love to Kurumi. Kurumi largely ignores this vow, but the two mutually call each other "sister" from then on. Saki is very quiet, the anti-thesis of Kurumi, and is quite lady-like in comparison. She is the kindest, and maybe the sweetest character in the show. She maintains wild fantasies about herself and Kurumi, but never speaks about them or properly expresses her love.
- Karinka (カリンカ?)
- The third Steel Angel built on the design by Dr Ayanakouji, she was activated by the Academy to destroy Kurumi. She is very strong due to being installed with two Angel Hearts instead of one, however this also means she is exempted from following the orders of Dr. Walski, her creator. Karinka is infamous for kidnapping and nearly killing Saki. She is very temperamental, devious, and has occasionally shown traits of sadism. She later joins Nakahito and the group, originally to figure out Kurumi’s power, but she eventually develops a crush on Nakahito. It was thanks to Nakahito that Karinka became friendly. Like her elder sisters, she does not care if Nakahito sees her naked.
- Kamihito Kagura (神維 神人 Kagura Kamihito?)
- Nakahito's older brother. A well trained and powerful mystic, he runs the shrine that Nakahito lives in and was originally sought to be the mystic to awaken Kurumi, but it doesn't turn out that way.
- Dr. Ayanakouji (綾小路博士 Ayanokōji-hakase?)
- The scientist who built the three Steel Angels. He came to the area where Nakahito lives to find a mystic to activate Kurumi. He has connections with the mysterious Academy.
- Dr. Amagi (天城博士 Amagi-hakase?)
- She is a scientist in her twenties who works with Doctor Ayanakouji in a military development project. She is first an antagonist of Nakahito and Kurumi, but quickly joins their side. She is in love with Dr. Ayanakouji.
- The General
- The head of the Japanese Army. He is in charge of the research projects for the military, and he has a crush on Karinka.
- Dr. Walski
- The head of the Academy, the scientist who activates Karinka and rival to Dr. Ayanakouji. He is the antagonist of the first series, although near the end of the series it is revealed his intentions are actually of just cause. His physical similarities to Brandow seem to be more than a coincidence; they may be related, but in the anime nothing of the sort is ever mentioned.
- Dr. Brandow
- Walski's aide who also does field work for the Academy. At first he is sent to work with Amagi to help activate Saki, who in turn is sent to destroy Kurumi, but after Saki fails, he attempts to take Kurumi himself. However, when he attempts to attack Kurumi, he misses and hits Ayanakouji, who he thereafter captures and takes to the Academy.
- Two spies sent by the General to watch over and covertly aid the Steel Angels; they are junior officers in Army Intelligence. Koganei has a crush on Nakahito and Kichijoji has a crush on Dr. Amagi.
The manga was being produced at the same time of the anime however is significantly different from the anime. In the manga, Nakahito discovers Kurumi in the same fashion, he was being bullied and fell into Dr. Ayanoukoji's lab.
The academy travels back in time to find the world's greatest mystic. In order to do that, they give each nation the ability to design its own steel angel. They then hold a Steel Fight in order to see who the strongest mystic is. During the Steel Fight, all steel angels are shut down because of a revolt, and a demon exits her fake steel angel body. She places a curse on Nakahito and travels into the future. The crew also goes into the future to destroy the demon and remove the curse. They live with Dr. Amagi's granddaughter.
Steel Angel Kurumi
A 24-episode anime TV series was produced by the animation studio Oriental Light and Magic and directed by Naohito Takahashi. The anime aired in Japan between October 5, 1999 and April 4, 2000 on WOWOW.
Steel Angel Kurumi 2
An alternate story of the Steel Angel Kurumi series set in the early 21st century. Bringing back the feeling of love polygons, the twist in this 12-episode continuation is that almost all of the characters are female, bringing a Yuri element to the story.
The story takes place back at the Kagura Shrine, in AD 200X, about 4 generations after Nakahito Kagura. One day, Nako Kagura and her best friend Uruka get lost in the shrine's basement labyrinth (formerly a bomb shelter) and run across a dog and a giant, scary, flying statue. As Nako and Uruka run away from the scary flying statue, Nako trips and is caught by the statue, which covers her in a divine light. She is then given a message by Dr. Ayanakouji through the statue, the statue then breaks apart and out falls Kurumi, right onto Nako's lips. Again, the events come full circle, and Kurumi awakens from a new master's kiss.
Steel Angel Kurumi Zero
This story takes place in the distant future in which Kurumi, Saki, and Karinka all live inside of an apartment together along with their landlady Excelia. The 3 episode OVA takes place mainly inside of the apartment as Kurumi comes home to the apartment from school to notify her house mates that she has met a boy at school whom she has fallen in love with.
The story then proceeds from there as Kurumi handles her depression and loneliness after the boy she is in love with moves away from her, and then finds out that he is dying. In every episode, the feelings within Kurumi causes a glowing angel to appear before her, and later, in front of the others.
This series has a much more darker story, with no comedy or action elements as evident in the other series. The color palette is very limited except for the characters who still keep their colorful, bright hair.
Steel Angel Kurumi Encore
Four additional short stories of the Steel Angels: Saki becomes a film actress, Karinka goes on a blind date with Kamihito, Kurumi practices the art of becoming a traditional Japanese woman, and the rest of the Steel Angels engage in a contest to win Nakahito's heart.
Steel Angel Kurumi Pure
A 24 episode Japanese television drama was produced in 2002. The story is set the 21st century where the rapid evolution of robot technology makes it possible to use them as nurses in hospitals. These new robots are then referred to as 'kangoroids'. Ayanokouji Corporation is the leading company in this area. They are developing new kangoroids for home use, which has the code name 'Steel Angel'. When the 1st prototype named Kurumi is completed, they choose one boy as its monitor. The boy is Nakahito Kagura, a nephew of the president of Ayanokouji Corporation. He is a junior high student but he has contained himself in his room after an incident and refuses to leave. He soon receives a package in the mail that contains the prototype Kurumi kangoroid. While he's embarrassed with Kurumi at first, her devotion slowly makes him accept her.
- "Steel Angel Kurumi Release Details". Anime News Network. March 11, 2003. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- "Crunchyroll Adds Steel Angel Kurumi, 2 Spinoffs (Update 2)". Anime News Network. December 15, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- Kaishaku home page Publisher of the comic. (Japanese)
- Steel Angel Kurumi (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Steel Angel Kurumi (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia