Love can do some interesting things to people, and the first three chapters of Noguchi Takashi and Yumemakura Baku‘s Kurozuka are a great example of how someone’s face can evolve while falling in love. This post will study the gradual change in Kuromitsu’s facial expressions over the course of the first three chapters while she rapidly falls in love with Yoshitsune.
From the very first pages of Kurozuka, it’s evident that Kuromitsu is a mysterious woman. She has the face of someone with an important secret, and a sense of confidence in the fact that no one knows who she really is.
There’s almost a sense of evil about her. It’s clear that she’s up to something—quite possibly, she was planning to eat Yoshitsune and his servant at first, and this is the look of a serpent eyeballing her prey.
She seems to know that she wants Yoshitsune from the moment she lays eyes on him (below). Once again, I think at first she might’ve been planning to eat him, but as things progress, it becomes clear that she honestly wants him around for other reasons.
By the start of the second chapter, her expression changes a bit. Her smile and wide eyes don’t seem so evil, but rather pleasant. This is also where she starts to attach herself to Yoshitsune.
Shortly after this, Kuromitsu confesses her love to Yoshitsune, begs him to stay with her forever, and the two have a whole lot of sex. It’s quite clear that they’ve both fallen for one another.
That’s why Kuromitsu is terrified when Yoshitsune breaks his promise not to peek into her room, and sees her the way she didn’t want him to.
However, Yoshitsune defends her moments later when a group of assassins show up to kill both of them—
But twice. The face she makes the first time is surprised, but the second time, it’s both surprised and touched. She’s just realized exactly how important this man is to her.
Moments later, Kuromitsu gets her arm cut off, but she takes it up in her teeth and goes right into battle.
There isn’t a trace of sadism or evil in this face. It’s a face of determination to protect the one she loves.
As she explains to Yoshitsune the abnormality of her body, her eyes are pleading, hoping that he really does love her, and that he really won’t leave now that he knows the truth. (Of course he won’t!) Yoshitsune offers to make a heroic sacrifice for her sake, but Kuromitsu is ready to take him with her to the end of time.
So far, Kurozuka is a fairly interesting manga. I wasn’t grabbed by the first two chapters, but the third had some amazing action scenes, and I loved watching the changes in Kuromitsu from someone that was a little off-putting to someone that I wanted to follow to the end of time.
(Images taken from Izumo no Ryuu‘s scanslation.)