Anime Meta-Review




By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-3 of 4
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • people: Go-Nagai
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Thu Jan 4 15:13:40 EST 2001
  • mod: none

Another day, another Go Nagai film. Although this one isn't too bad (quite a compliment for a Go Nagai anime) because it tries to be serious. Still, lots of violence, a touch of horror and a bit of nudity are definitely on the horizon.

The story certainly isn't overly complex. A young married couple are visiting the remote shrine to their family, in order to inform their ancestors of the pairing. This is, rather dramatically, interrupted as two huge Oni descend from the heavens and proceed to rip chunks out of each other. Although the female of the couple can't help but notice that one of them, eventually the victor, is guarding what appears to be a human child. Indeed he asks them to raise the child as their own, promising that in 15 years he will come to retrieve it. Obviously this doesn't phase them at all, because we cut forward 15 years to when the child is mature (and damn well built for a 15 year old). Something one of his female classmates seems to definitely have noticed.

Needless to say, being Go Nagai, it's not too long before horror elements start to creep in. It seems that the mythology of the Oni includes a single `Oni of light' who, along with two Oni guardians, is the only one capable of standing in their way. And since it's pretty clear they're the bad guys that means our lead, the title character, must be the only hope for humanity. Meanwhile the female has an important role, to get terrorized and occasionally stripped or tormented. At the same time there's also various allies, who also serve a vital function as cannon fodder in the growing war between shutendoji and the Oni of evil.

While, because it doesn't allow Go Nagai's alleged `humor' to escape, this is quite watchable it's not without problems. The first being that it feels very familiar to anyone who's seen any of his other modern horror anime's, or indeed anything in this genre. The second weakness is that the `horror' element pretty much collapses after the first episode, leaving the violent action to fill the gap. But the main problem is that the writing is pretty weak and wandering even for this sort of material. The characterization is really basic, the plot meanders along without much real direction or energy. And then in episode 3 there's some time-travel hookum which just feels like the author getting bored of the plot he's created. It's just pretty ordinary action fare once all things are considered.

And the animation is not going to make up for the weaknesses in the writing. As befits the subject the anime tries to be dark and detailed, but doesn't have either the budget or the style. As a result, while there's some decent backgrounds, both the characters and the action have a fairly `cookie-cutter' production style. Lots of sliding figures and still shots to be had. And while there's (lots) of violence it's all of the severed limbs and spouting clouds of red color. This combines with the fact that most of the characters are very shallow, possibly because of their short life expectancy, which means that as a result it becomes somewhat tedious. It's competent but unexciting production. The voices are largely uninteresting, but then there's little dialog, and while the open and end music was interesting the background music seemed to be largely absent.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:24 WST 2009