Kurohime : on the royal guard.
With the emergence of a grander Kurohime with them facing off against a bigger collective of foes (the exorcists), one of the plans was to have a team of corresponding enemies underwater to be on Shiro and Kuro’s side. Mostly.
They won’t make it in the final story except for, at most, a few mentions here and there and a small show of what the place looks like. I had a much easier time coming up with Ryuuji’s team, anyways. :))
Something I would’ve wanted to explore was how each of the important seafolk would respond to Shiro. The guy on the left is their answer to Ryuuji, Kaikyo (strait), the Captain of the Royal Guard.
Like everyone underwater, he’s semi-permanently in his half-fish form, and he’s a seahorse to reflect his nobility and bravery. Kyo would also have the added benefit of a sort-of childhood romance with princess Kuro and this is wont to protect her interests even after her return, but holds nothing against her, and even Shiro. He even comes with his own red neckerchief, a gift from Kuro herself, and everyone lampshades their looking similar.
I was supposed to do a full lineup in this picture but could only muster the motivation to do 3 of them. Girl on the leftmost part is Bei (named after a bay; they’d all take their names after bodies of water), then Irie (cove), who was based off a Blackout villager who had a crush on Shiro and helped him out during his fight with Kuro then volunteered to tag along and be the bumbling, unwanted idiot of the group. She still can’t get a break here, as she serves more or less the same purpose to Kaikyo and Kuro, and is a bit resentful of the latter upon her return.
More preliminary sketches! Bei is half sea serpent, Irie half goldfish. Down there, you can see a child Kuro with Kaikyo and Irie as companions. In the middle, height comparisons of the planned lineup including a full hammerhead shark who loves a good fight, twin troublemaking electric eels who used their tails as whips, and Kuro’s overprotective eldest brother, the cowardly but lovable crown prince.
Kuro’s parents, looking straight out of a period drama. I’m very happy with how her father the emperor looks. Mom will have a bit of a ethereal, floaty vibe to her, modelled after paintings called meiren hua (literally ‘painting of a beauty’, a Tang dynasty tradition). She’ll be even more elegant than Mira, and is a true woman of her time.
If you couldn’t tell already, the water kingdom and Kuro’s place of origin will have its aesthetic is based on ancient China to contrast the mainland’s Edo/Tokugawa Japanese look. The uniform of all the guardsmen will be based on Zhou dynasty armor, the way Ryuuji and his not-so merry band of exorcists have their own common look, although a less organized one.
Putting my thoughts on these guys on paper made me appreciate them a bit more. I might do more planning with them, even though I already know they’re not gonna make it on the final trailer for graduation.