Anime Meta-Review


Yoma : Curse of the Undead


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Curse of the Undead : Yoma
  • seen: 1-2 of 2
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • genre: magic_war
  • made: 1988
  • Review created: Tue Jan 30 19:35:40 EST 2001
  • mod: none

Ninja, surely a safe bet for an anime topic. Then again demonic monsters are another fun thing to animate and big with OAV purchasers. Obvious answer, a horror based anime that involves cool ninja's fighting horrific demonic monsters. Cool, that should work.

And thus we get this interesting title, which has both its moments of cool and its occasional problems. We start looking over the familiar muddy bog filled with dead samurai. The sort of scene that makes Japanese history so interesting, although probably much more fun as a viewer than a participant. Through this two ninja patrol, one of them clearly shocked by the inhumanity of what he see's. In fact it seems to have actually broken him, for when their lord is slain by some demonic being he flee's. And since the ninja are pledged to hide the fact of their lords death, the task is given to his brother of tracking him down and making sure he does not talk.

Along the way it becomes obvious that other forces are at work here. Indeed in a strange town he catches a glimpse of his target. But the town itself is unusual, full of people eating food they did not farm and who have no memory of their own pasts. What is going on in this town, what is the aim and purpose of the powerful evils and what has become of the brother he remembers fondly but must now kill? Well, obviously i'm not going to spoil it any more than that. But I will say that along the way there will be some other characters, complements to the leads, that have also been drawn into this tangled destiny.

I have a suspicion a lot of people really hate this one...but I must admit I quite liked it. It does have some problems, with the second episode being way too much of a monster bash, but this is partly because the first episode got such a nice `horror' theme going. Likewise the story veers a bit, and characters explode onto the stage with little warning or introduction, which might be seen as mysterious but ends up feeling more like confused writing. And in addition the whole monsters and ninja thing has been done before. But then again, why should that stop doing it being done again? And given that the lead has mastered the grim and angst ridden ninja bit, his doomed companions are not without charm and even the evil has a certain sense of presence I could easily watch it again. I'll admit that it's a shame there's only two episodes, but it still manages to tell a complete story and even include a quite reasonable conclusion.

The animation is a bit dated and a touch dark but still carries a degree of class. There's some nice ninja fights and monster combats, and while they're not as smooth as one might like they're inventive and quite fun to watch. It's also a nice touch that both ninja and monsters are relatively `normal', there's no huge energy battles and both sides are quite killable. This gives it a pleasant sense of realism, even to such touches as travelling and maintaing all those glinting, sharp little ninja toys. Likewise there's a couple of effects which strain the animation but still look good enough, and some nice fog and rain atmospherics. All in all it's quite reasonable and eminently watchable animation. The voices are fine, although the dialogue is quite limited. The music is a tad agressive, but works quite well at getting the required mood across.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:27 WST 2009