It's Japan in the 1920s, only not the one we know from our history — the politics are familiar, but steam-powered mechanisms are everywhere. And there's more... When 12-year-old Nakahito Kagura, brother of an Onmyouji priest and himself a priest-in-training, allows himself to be talked into trespassing in an allegedly "haunted" house, he accidentally activates Kurumi, a busty pink-haired battle android of incredibly advanced design. Because he awoke her, the innocent (and powerful) Kurumi regards Nakahito as her undisputed master, fawning over him and hanging on his every word. And defending him from harm — such as the bullies who sent him into the haunted house, or the steam-powered mecha of the Imperial Japanese Army...
When her creator Dr. Ayanokoji (who can't figure out why Nakahito could activate Kurumi when he couldn't) shows up, he is promptly kidnapped by an agent of an even more dangerous force than the Army, the mysterious group of scientists responsible for the anachronistic technology flooding Japan. With the help of Ayanokoji's former assistant Dr. Amagi and a second steel angel named Saki (initially sent to capture Kurumi but subverted), Nakahito and Kurumi begin a pursuit of her kidnapped creator. In the process they acquire more allies, battle the forces of their enemies, and learn the secret origin and purpose of the steel angels — and the dangerous secret hidden within Kurumi herself.
Steel Angel Kurumi was originally part of an anthology series in Japan, so each individual episode is not quite 15 minutes in length. The North American dub by ADV Films includes an extensive set of interviews with the English voice actresses; especially noteworthy is the presence of Claudia "Aeryn Sun" Black of Farscape fame in a surprise role.
Steel Angel Kurumi has proven to be quite popular. Four extra "epilogue" episodes were made for the original series. A sequel series (Steel Angel Kurumi 2, which is also available in North America) set in the 1990s and featuring Mark II models of all the android characters followed it. A prequel series (Steel Angel Kurumi Zero) is also available; it is set in the future and features the human girls on whom the androids apparently were based, but unlike the previous two series, it is a low-key romance-oriented shojo story.
This program provides examples of:
- Accidental Kiss
- Anime Theme Song
- Becoming the Mask: Karinka.
- Boobs of Steel
- Celebrity Is Overrated
- Cherry Blossoms
- Cipher Scything: In the OAV Zero, Kurumi gets to moon over a male character who we only hear about from her secondhand account.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Kurumi
- Curb-Stomp Battle: When Saki first meets Karinka.
- Demonic Invaders: Via flashback.
- Dirty Old Man: The general
General: Then, would she do things like... And things like...
- It's more than that. Consider the following dialogue, after the general finds out that Saki is incapable of disobeying orders after she is partially activated (Ep. 3):
[Dr. Akagi gives him a level, unamused gaze]
Dr. Akagi: [completely deadpan] If I order her to do so.
- The Ditz
- The End of the World as We Know It: In the far-distant future.
- Facial Markings
- Festival Episode
- First Girl Wins: Nakahito eventually ends up returning Kurumi's feelings.
- First Kiss
- Furo Scene
- Goldfish Scooping Game
- Happiness in Slavery: Kurumi tells Nakahito that he's her Master and she'll happily do anything he wants.
- HeelFace Turn: Karinka, although the opening sequence kind of ruins the surprise.
- Humongous Mecha
- The Kid with the Remote Control
- Magical Girlfriend: Kurumi for Nakahito.
- Marshmallow Hell: Kurumi hugs Nakahito on a regular basis.
- Meido: Kurumi's outfit makes her look like one.
- Ms. Fanservice: Pretty much every Steel Angel, who make up more than half the cast.
- Panty Shot
- Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame
- Perpetual Molt
- Puppy-Dog Eyes
- Rapunzel Hair: Kurumi's hair is down to her knees even when its in a ponytail. And Mikhail's Steel Angel form goes even past that and yet it doesn't impede her movement in the slightest.
- Robot Girl
- Schizo Tech: Albeit somewhat justified by timetravel.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Well-Intentioned Extremist antagonists wanted to deactivate Kurumi because of the dangerous secret in the Angel Heart Mark II. Due to all the fighting that they needlessly caused, that dangerous secret activates and it nearly destroyed the world without Nakahito's intervention and a needed "miracle".
- Sister-Sister Incest: Saki has a crush on Kurumi, who considers her a sister.
- Squeaky Eyes
- Stealth Pun: The opening ends with the phrase "Mi ra Kurumi." This doesn't mean anything, until you realize "Mirakuru" is the Japanese pronunciation of "miracle." Considering miracles are a big theme throughout the show...
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Koganei is instantly aware that Karinka has targeted Nakahito's lips, and can predict all the moves she is going to make (because she wants to make them herself).
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Nako Kagura acts very much like her great grandfather Nakahito Kagura.
- Sweetheart Sipping: Appears in one of Kurumi's fantasies.
- Token Yuri Girls: Because of the circumstances of her activation, Saki, a female android, has a romantic fixation on the title character, another female android.
- Unwanted Harem: Nakahito has Kurumi, Karinka and Koganei. The last borders on Squick, since she's an adult and he's only 12.
- Verbal Tic: Kurumi puts "desu" behind every sentence (including one word sentences and even one sound sentences), which is seemingly cute enough to be imitated.
- Waxing Lyrical/Title Drop: When asked about the source of her power in episode 15, Kurumi cites the theme song title ("A Miracle that Starts with a Kiss")"It all started with that kiss from you, Master. If Kurumi's powers are a miracle, the the thing that created it is your kiss, Master."
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Nadeshiko. If the name wasn't a big enough clue, Kamihito expounds at length.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Kurumi's pink hair. Steel Angel Kaori's hair actually is blue.