They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Kizuoibito, Shuranosuke Zanmaken: Shikamamon no Otoko, Tomoe ga Yuku!, and more!
English: Wounded Man
MAL Score: 4.23
Yuko Kusaka is a Japanese journalist sent to Brazil to do a report on the gold rush phenomenon that seems to be making many people rich from night to day. Rumors say that among the many “garimpeiros” (gold diggers) currently on the Amazon forest, there is a Japanese known as Rio Baraki. Reaching their destination, her crew member is promptly attacked and she is raped as a warning to stop their work and return immediately to their home country. Determined to do her job, she stays and finds out from the attacker that he is none other than Baraki, a white haired muscular man with a large scar on his back. Later she discovers that his real name is Keisuke Ibaraki. Once a promising quarterback, he ended up falsely incriminated by a powerful organization known as GPX.
I have reviewed MANY obscure, terrible anime on this site. However, this might be the holy grail of shitty exploitation OVAs! Remember those ultra violent OVAs with tons of pointless nudity from the 80s and 90s? They were dirt cheap to license overseas and thus they flooded the early anime market in many countries during the 1990s, including the US. These are the classic terrible anime like MD Geist, Angel Cop, etc. There exists an OVA in this genre with an excellent animation budget, but was never licensed overseas because it was SO shitty that even the buzzards like Central Park Media wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole! This is the head bashingingly idiotic tale…of Wounded Man!!!
I mentioned that this was never licensed overseas, so of course there is no English dub. However, every anime I have ever reviewed at least has a decent English sub somewhere on the internet. The only existing subtitles for this piece of shit is from a bootleg VHS that was clearly made in China. How do I know it was made in China? Literally ALL of the Japanese characters are given Chinese names by the subtitles. The character that the Japanese audio clearly calls Keisuke Iburaki is given the name Liao Hua-Mu by the subtitles. A girl named Ryuko is given the name Wu Xihu and a character called Natsuko is given the name Xia Xi. If you are like me and don’t speak fluent Japanese, I would recommend looking up a summary of the plot or reading the available manga online before watching because the subtitles are BAD! Not that the most dignified dub or translation on Earth would save this piece of shit!
SPOILERS! As if anyone cares.
I normally NEVER do this, but I’m just going to describe what happens in the first 2 episodes because this might be the worst plot I have ever witnessed in any medium of storytelling.
It is the 1980s and a massive gold rush is happening in Brazil. After geologists discovered a huge mineral vein with tons of gold in the Amazon rain forest, amateur prospectors have come from around the world to try strike it rich with their pales and pickaxes. We are dealing with a writer that thinks the 1980s had a goldrush like the California rush of 1849. This anime takes place in a world where a bunch of “Stinky Pete” cartoon prospectors and not global mining corporations are the ones to dig up newly discovered mineral resources. We’re off to a GRAND start here folks! The anime starts with us being introduced to a Japanese reporter lady named Ryuko. She arrives in Brazil to report on the gold rush, but literally 30 seconds after getting off the ship, she runs into our “hero” Keisuke. Keisuke is a Japanese American muscleman with white hair. He always wears a giant cowboy hat, blue jeans, and no shirt, which makes him look like a cross between the redneck android in DBZ movie 7 and a gay porn star! Before saying 1 word to the news crew, Keisuke beats the shit out of the male crew members and violently rapes Ryuko! He does this all while spewing out hilarious engrish fragments like “READY, SET, GO!!!
After he is done raping her, Keisuke explains to Ryuko that he did all of this as a warning to show how dangerous Brazil is. He tells her that the local Brazilians will do FAR worse and that she and her crew must go back to Japan immediately. He then gives her some gold nuggets as a token of his goodwill before leaving. What a gentleman! Keisuke walks off into the jungle and 45 seconds later, a bunch of racist black caricatures come out of nowhere to attack Ryuko and the Channel 5 news team. The Brazilians tie Ryuko to a log and rape her before pulling out a jar containing a “venomous cicada”. The venomous cicada immediately crawls up Ryuko’s anus and FINALLY, Keisuke shows up to save the news crew! Keisuke states that he only gave her the gold to lure out the local hoods that had been pursuing him. Keisuke brazenly states that his muscles can stop bullets and beats up the hoods with his “American fighting style” which consists of boxing mixed with American Football tackles! This is one of the most gloriously idiotic scenes in the history of anime folks! Since this violent rapist saved her from other violent rapists, Ryuko immediately falls in love with Keisuke! She thinks about heading home to Japan and gets on the boat, but then decides to strip naked and swim to shore. Then we get to see one of strangest scenes yet! The writer of this anime somehow thinks that vultures are sea birds that dive into the ocean to nab fish. The vultures mistake Ryuko for a fish and start attacking her, so Keisuke must shoot the vultures with his cowboy revolver in order to save her! Ryuko vows to live with Keisuke and the first episode mercifully ends!
This episode begins by telling us the story of Keisuke’s past. Keisuke was once a star quarterback in American Football and played professionally in the NFL. I have no idea why he is so good at tackling considering that the quarterback NEVER tackles anyone! One day, Keisuke was drinking with his buddies at the bar and he ends up flirting with the leader of a female motorcycle gang. She states that she will have sex with him if he can tackle her off her motorcycle while she tries to run him over! Keisuke of course has no problem accomplishing this and they fuck at a local hotel. Minutes later, Keisuke and the biker girl named Natsuko are drugged and kidnapped by an evil gang called GPX, which stands for “God’s Pornographic X-rated videos”. This gang kidnaps celebrities and forces them to make pornographic tapes that they can use for blackmail. Natsuko decides to thwart the gang’s evil plans by scarring herself and her lover with a hot fire poker, so no one will want to see them fuck. This enrages GPX, so they shoot her dead and flee the scene. We are then told that GPX planted drugs in Keisuke’s apartment and made a call to the police stating that they witnessed him committing the murder. This is somehow enough evidence to convince the judge and he sentences Keisuke to 10 years in American prison, which turns his hair white from the stress. After serving his sentence, Keisuke went to Brazil to find enough treasure to finance his revenge on GPX, inspired by the Count of Monte Cristo.
Our idiotic reporter Ryuko is very moved by Keisuke’s story and says that she will help him accomplish his revenge. In order to get back to America, Keisuke decides to use his massive treasure pile that he keeps in a cave. He finds the best shipwright in Brazil, who is of course a blonde lady with massive boobs. Keisuke wishes to hire her to build a ship capable of smuggling all of his treasure back to America. Keisuke shows the shipwright his treasure horde which causes her to randomly piss herself…I’m serious. She explains that she pisses whenever she is happy and this has caused 3 divorces…I’m convinced this series was written by Aliens! The incontinent shipwright manages to build the massive ship, but they are attacked by gangsters while sailing up the Amazon. Keisuke defeats most of the gangsters by lowering his shoulder and Football tackling them off the boat, but one of them manages to kill Ryuko the reporter lady with a sub-machine gun. Keisuke is deeply saddened by the death of Ryuko and doesn’t want to dump her body overboard, but he fears that the border patrol will discover the body and send him back to jail. Keisuke and the shipwright then devise a BRILLIANT plan to sneak past the border patrol without them ever inspecting the boat. This plan involves getting into a vicious fight in which they beat the shit out of each other, and then having passionate sex in front of the border guards. The plan works and the guards are too distracted to bother doing their jobs! Keisuke then decides to dump Ryuko’s body overboard anyways, making the previous scene COMPLETELY pointless! The shipwright decides to take Ryuko’s place as Keisuke’s woman and help him with his revenge! End of episode 2.
Art and music: the soundtrack is largely lacking, which is sad because these shitty OVAs often have some gloriously cheesy soundtracks. MD Geist has an amazing soundtrack! The art is done by the same studio that did the anime adaptation of Riki Oh as well as Mad Bull 34. If you liked the blood and titties in those anime, you will like the art here.
HOLY SHIT was this anime stupid! If your jaw didn’t hit the floor from the summary of the first 2 episodes, just consider that the anime actually gets EVEN WORSE! The second after I finished this piece of shit I had to know who the HELL wrote this atrocity! Surprise! It was the same motherfucker that wrote and directed Mad Bull 34! Suddenly everything made sense again! It could never have been anyone else. He can also write decent stories if he feels like it and somehow won a fucking Eisner award in the graphic novel category! I salute you Kazuo Koike for making some of the stupidest stories in the history of man! Live long and prosper you insane, glorious bastard!
Animation was pretty bad for the most part. Lots of nudity, but not well done in terms of stunning visuals. Violence was good at times with a couple scenes that were reminiscent of Riki-Oh, but not quite as gorey. Very dated as far as animation styling.
Story was ??? Not good, from what I could make of it. Kinda self-explanatory, except that it just doesn’t make much sense. One minute he’ll be fighting with some chic who hates him and wants to kill him, then he mourns their death like they were married for 30 years.
I gave it a 6 because it picked up the action in the last 2 parts and story kinda told itself. It played out kinda like Crying Freeman, but not nearly as good in any particular aspect.
Before starting the first impressions when I saw the DVD cover of this thing was “is this a B-film right and/or Porno right?” and I wasn’t too far from it. Some spoilers ahead.
The story of the Wounded Man is just an incomprehensive mess and that tries way too hard to be a tragic, mafia, porno with some historic points of what was happening in the 80s.
So the story starts in Brazil and presents us about some Japanese reporters going to the Amazon Jungle searching for gold because there is a gold rush there, to my surprise this did happened, the real story is that during that time on a place called Serra Pelada there was a rumour abour gold mines and if you look for images and documentaries on the thing, those men look like ants destroying the land for gold. So just a little curiosity.
Well going with the story our protagonist, an american football player, Keisuke Ibaraki goes there to escape his life from USA because he is convicted by a false crime done to his girlfriend and all of this was caused by a blackmail pornographic company that extorsions famous people so they can sell porno movies of them on the black market.
The first thing I must say from this show is that is very sickening to watch btw MAL how do you categorize what is hentai and what is not hentai? Because this could be easily be considered hentai. Since I have mentioned that there is porn then this show will shove it your face whenever they can. Our “poor” protagonist the first thing he does is that when the reporters try to understand the situation going on the Amazon, the idiot decides to almost kill the camera man and then violently he rapes the reporter. Yes, for some reason the story tries to make us feel bad for the miserable guy with his back story but in the first minute he appears he does a more sickening stunt and for what reason, so they can undestand the troubles the japanese are getting into. Like What the hell dude? So your answer to say that the place could be dangerous is that you are dangerous too? Wow what a genius.
In the end of the first episode then the reporter has a change of heart and says that she loves him, even though he raped her. Yeah this is the kind of intelligence this show has. Unless she enjoys being raped than consensual sex then that’s why she “loves” him maybe.
One big flaw of this show is the characterization of the female characters, they are sex objects, they just show them naked for just showing them naked. Do exercise; naked, use a pistol; be naked, cooking; be naked, everything these women have to do they have to shove their boobs all over the screen.
Also our main protagonist loves these women in this show so much that even has pictures of them even if they die. Keisuke is simply a MACHO MAN in everything and the asshole is inmortal yes, I am not kidding. He gets burned, he gets shot by guns, he gets wounded. But the girlfriends he has, they die in an instant. I don’t understand the physical rules of this setting.
The other characters doesn’t save also from this big rant. There is a scene where he decides to leave Brazil and go back to USA using a boat from another girl that lives there in Brazil and she decides to help her with the condition that some gold found must be shared which they do. But before leaving the maritime borders they get assaulted by some guys and his girlfriend reporter dies and for some reason when they are at the maritime borders, he and the ship girl have a fake discussion that leaves to this passionate sex and the officers just stand there enter look at the documents, see the dead girlfriend on the bed and they think she is sleeping. Like WTF? Try to do that on a border control and see what happens or simply the author treats the Brazilian police like idiots and besides passing the Brazilian guards, Tell me how you are going to be outside the view of 27 caribbean territories without knowing if you are near their maritime borders and remember this was a cheap boat that was built and not some highclass ship without some GPS or even a map. Yeah I am analyzing way too much.
Another factor that really sucks balls about this show is the action sequences and again the protagonist is the main problem, he has a special martial art that I am going to call Muay Quaterback Fu, because doing the same movements that you do as an american football player is very useful as a combat style and the action sequences. The action scenes are badly made. Oh look I am reviewing another Magic Bus anime, who would tell, and for being their first work it blows. With the action scenes they just repeat like 3-5 times the same movement over and over just to kill time. There is a fight between Keisuke and porn mafia guy that looks like F.A.N.G from SFV and they just do the same crappy movement with the knife. Other action scenes are just too quick with some flashy portraits to say that something “cool” happened but are lazy and terrible.
And since I am talking about animation, the producers couldn’t decided what tone skin Keisuke has. Sometimes he is black, sometimes he is mixed, sometimes he is white and sometimes the mixed of obscure backgrounds make some characters make them look like are just eyes floating and yes I have seen that in animation but here it is so notorious that if someone has darker skin color he or she is also the background. It is embarrasing to even say it nicely.
To finish this review the ending is simply idiotic. Since he wants revenge of everything tragic in his life he will go to practice his Muay Quaterback Fu to the governement and also I forget to mention that when he arrives to USA he becomes famous again and plays the sport, but also becomes a mafia boss and the problem is that with these 80s productions sometimes you had to read the manga to know what actually happens it is not like today that are adaptations of the manga mostly done chapter by chapter. In the 80s they just grabbed some part of the story and animated to the way they wanted but again if the bits they had picked were good and tried to make at least some part of the story tolerable this wouldn’t be bad or just go full fun like Cipher The video, which is what these guys from Magic Bus did years later. But no it is a mess from start to finish.
My final thoughts on this thing. If you want to watch this it would a big drag because 5 episodes of almost 40 minutes and with bad english subtitles or unless you know spanish because there is also an spanish subtitles version this will be hard. But also the payoff is not existent. The porn is stupidly bad and just to attract someone who really is desperately horny and the action is laughable with animation that seems to use their characters with toys physics instead of human physics and not understanding what the hell to do with a story that it could be horrible even for the manga, but I don’t know that.
Thanks for reading the review, hope you enjoyed, sorry for any english mispelling/grammar mistake. Take care in whatever you do and see ya around.
13: Shuranosuke Zanmaken: Shikamamon no Otoko
English: Sword for Truth
Japanese: 修羅之介斬魔劍 死鎌紋の男
MAL Score: 4.73
Shurannosuke Sakaki is a masterless samurai with a razor-sharp katana and a cold-hearted personality. Whenever you see the mark of two crossed scythes on his back, death is sure to follow. Because of his exceptional swordsmanship, Shurannosuke is hired by the Nakura Clan to rescue Princess Mayu from the Seki Ninja. In this mission, he must use his full potential to survive the Seki Ninja’s notorious henchmen.
Sword for Truth was widely considered by otaku during the 1990s to be one of the worst anime of all time! The infamy has died down and now it is simply unknown. It was released in the US under the title: Ninja Scroll 2. This is despite the fact that it was made before Ninja Scroll and has absolutely nothing to do with Ninja Scroll. A far more appropriate title would be: WHAT!? It is very appropriate that this was made during the 1990s, because you are going to say WHAT!? when viewing this pile of shit more often than Stone Cold Steve Austin!
This is quite easily the least coherent story in the history of anime. Not because it is trying to be artsy and is using layers on layers of symbolism. No, it is due to nonsensical scene cuts, plot points that are brought up once and completely abandoned, and the COMPLETE INEPTITUDE of the writer. A princess is captured and a powerful samurai is hired to get her back. The story starts out quite simple. However, the movie will cut away during a fight to introduce some random character that will never be seen or heard from again. One of the main bad guys is fighting the main character when random lesbian ninjas show up for no reason with zero explanation and fight the baddie while our hero wanders off. It never shows how the fight even finished between the baddie and the lezzies and fucking of course it never mentions any of them again! After capturing the princess, the bad guys try to use a hot hooker chick to make the princess fall in love with her and steal her family sword, which they were already demanding as ransom. This was the entire point of capturing the princess. So the bad guys went with 1 plan and then started a second plan that would only work if they hadn’t already gone with the first plan??! WHAT!? This is just an excuse for a hot girl on girl sex scene, that is generally considered to be the “highlight” of this fucking movie! The hero saves the princess, but while rowing a boat is randomly attacked by a sea monster with no explanation. However, the hero slashes the monster with his sword and it explodes….WHAT!? After returning the princess to her father, the father decides that the Samurai touched the princess and should be killed, but then changes his mind at the last second and offers a reward, which the samurai refuses because, “you can’t kick dog and then give him a treat”. The samurai then crosses paths with a character that it randomly cut to several times and is supposedly an assassin, but they don’t fight. They just say that they both reek of blood and the movie ends. This movie reeks of BULLSHIT!
Not a single character in this film has any level of character development. I can barely describe the characters using trope names because they don’t even have that much development. The bad guys have unestablished motives for why they want the sword. They are just bad guys. The hero isn’t cool, isn’t badass, has no interesting traits. The princess is apparently bicurious, but that is the entire extent of her character. She just has sex with every man and woman she comes across. huh huh… hey Beavis, I said comes! 90s moment, couldn’t help it!
Unlike Ninja Scroll, Sword for Truth actually has quite terrible art. This makes it fairly insulting to call it a sequel to Ninja Scroll, which was stupid as hell but at least it was well animated, coherent, and most of all fucking fun!
It actually hurts to watch this piece of shit. I only recommend watching this one with pain killers at the ready!
Dear sweet GOD this movie was bad! The only reason anyone ever rented this during the 1990s was because the false title Ninja Scroll 2. It takes a special kind of bad to be both physically painful and absolutely rage inducing. This is one of those anime!
We open with some soldiers out to hunt clandestine Christians when they find themselves being fed to the lions… I mean a tiger. The tiger is huge, being able to deflect their weapons and gulp up horses. It’s only stopped by the arrival of an enigmatic swordsman named Sakaki Shuranosuke. His services are quickly secured to help rescue their princess, who was kidnapped while the soldiers were away dealing with a tiger attack.
This actually has the same fatal flaw as one of Elfen Lied’s. The sexual content and gore are so absurd and over the top that they lose all impact within ten minutes. And the thing isn’t even an hour long. A little restraint would have gone a long way.
The other big issue the film has is that it’s clearly setting up a lot of future events which results in a lot of sequences that go nowhere and contribute nothing. Like the assassin who practices jujutsu or the whole thing with the Nakura clan’s special sword that these ninja clans are fighting over for no adequately explored reason and the kunoichi escape with, last we see of it. There’s also this weird, shadowy cultish group we see a couple times where the scenes don’t actually seem to have anything to do with the rest of the film. For that matter, the scenes about Sakaki’s past don’t really contribute anything since there’s no closure or arc of any kind.
There are some just plain stupid bits as well. We’re told that the tiger was drugged and that’s why it rampaged. But unless it’s a feral Tigatron, that doesn’t explain how its hide deflects or otherwise snaps a bunch of bladed weapons. And we all know Tigatron went on to become half of Tigerhawk, so that’s not the explanation. I’m going to go into spoiler territory on this next one. So, consider that your warning. The bit towards the end where the Nakura clan decides to kill Sakaki makes no sense. The dude just rescued their princess. All they have to do is pay him and he’ll be on his way but no, they have to decide he needs to die because… only Master Splinter is allowed to wear a kimono that colour. There’s not actually any explanation for it.
The characters are pretty much devoid of personality. You’d get a stronger sense of character from a bag of gummy bears than you get from this film.
The artwork is pretty horrendous. Expect some of the worst sex scenes ever to grace a film. I’m not exaggerating when I say that The Room has brilliant sex scenes compared to this. There are also moments where the art doesn’t work with the dialogue. Like the scene where the Seki ninja master realises he’s fighting female ninja and acts like it’s a surprise even though it was really obvious the second they showed up. The action sequences are slow, choppy and very low effort. It comes across as the studio just not giving a shit whatsoever.
The acting isn’t all that bad. They did get some skilled actors like Kazuhiko Inoue & Sakuma Rei. Unfortunately, the performances in this are all a bit stilted. It comes across like the actors were handed the scripts, told to read and then didn’t get second takes. The best part of the music is Sawada Chikako singing the ending song. Aside from that, it’s pretty dull.
One of the really bad sex scenes is between two women that we never see before the scene or after. It’s one of those pointless scenes that doesn’t do anything.
Areas of Improvement:
If you’re going to adapt a longer work into an hour long film, leave out all the random side plots you don’t have time for and condense the thing into a proper, stand alone story. Because this is a mess of scenes that seem to come out of nowhere and contribute nothing.
Leave out the sex scenes. I’m not against sex scenes that are well done and contribute something to the story. This doesn’t have any of those. It has awkward sex scenes involving characters we never see again.
Explain yourself. You don’t need to give us a long stretch of exposition. But we need at least off-handed explanations for basic things like how they’re breaking their blades against the hide of an escaped circus tiger or why this sword is so damn important or why the Nakura clan suddenly wants Sakaki dead.
I can definitely see why this is considered one of the worst anime. It’s a mess of plot threads that don’t go anywhere, characters with no personality, horrible art and lacklustre performances. The one thing I can give it credit for is that its crass sensationalism is slightly less rubbish than Elfen Lied’s. It’s still a 1/10 anime, but that’s something.
12: Tomoe ga Yuku!
MAL Score: 5.37
The title character of Tomoe ga Yuku! (Tomoe Will Go!) is gutsy enough to roller skate down freeways for thrills. After losing a friend in a roller skating accident, Tomoe joins a stunt group called Green Ship. Although still mourning her friend’s death, Tomoe has no reservations about embracing a relationship with the group’s leader, Kazusa. Soon she discovers Green Ship is a front for an assassin training camp. She must flee her new life and love and rekindle her fiery spirit in order to fight against the organization which wants her dead.
(Source: Animerica Extra December 2001)
11: Ninja Ryuukenden
MAL Score: 5.64
On a dark, late night in New York City, Ryu is chased and attacked by assassins. After disposing of them, he finds an I.D. card for the Friedman Company. The next day, it is announced that Dr. Ned Friedman has discovered a cure for cancer. But after providing no information at his press conference, a reporter named Sarah decides to investigate with the help of her friends Robert and Jeff. When passing by Dr. Friedman’s house one day, Ryu hears the voice of a young girl calling for help. When Sarah and her entourage investigate the house as well, they run into their colleague, Ryu. Upon that, they discover Dr. Friedman has been conducting experiments on live humans using biotechnology, and that it may have something to do with the power of the Evil Gods, whom Ryu had defeated in the past. But when Ryu’s friend, Irene, is kidnapped, he must dawn his role as a Dragon Ninja once again to defeat this new enemy and save her.
Putting that aside, it is a decent OVA. Unlike most OVA’s, at least now, it would appear that it didn’t have that high of a budget. This is no Akira which was done three years prior to this OVA’s release. The voice acting was average at times and the story really seemed to have started late. It started off strong for the first couple of minutes and then died off and didn’t come back around until about 15 – 20 minutes in; which would be fine if this was a movie but its a 45 minute OVA. Becase of the time constraint you could tell that they wanted to rush things along the last 10 minutes so everything could wrap up when the credits rolled. If they turned it into a 4 part OVA or into an actual movie the story line and art would’ve been much better.
With that said, the action sequences were rather fun. You definitely got to see Ryu lay down his ninja awesomeness but it unfortunately wasn’t enough to make this a must watch. Its something I would recommend people checking out if they are a fan of the games (old or new) or don’t mind the old school art style. Just prepare yourself for a rather average OVA and check your brain at the start of the show. 6.5/10
Let’s start with the story. A scientist supposedly develops a cure for cancer, although this entire piece of information turns out to be completely pointless but I’ll go into more detail about that later. Some reporters hear rumours that he’s been performing unethical human experiments so they break into his house to find out that the rumours are true and the scientist is involved in a plot to revive the evil Gods. To be fair scientists trying to revive the evil Gods could be a good Ninja Gaiden plot. The problem is that the execution is horrible. You’ll notice that the entire cancer cure could’ve been left out without losing a single thing. There’s actually a lot of padding involved in this. Establishing shots drag on and there are several scenes in the beginning that don’t have any impact on the plot whatsoever. There’s also a lot of clunky dialogue that really doesn’t serve a purpose. You might ask, are the action scenes at least good? Well, no they aren’t. Part of the problem is the monsters themselves, I’ll get to that later. There’s also the more serious problem of them being boring. The characters go through the enemies very quickly and they don’t seem to pose any real threat which causes a complete lack of dramatic tension. In the games slicing thorough hordes of enemies works because you know that a slight error could result in you dying, but in this it’s just boring.
As for the characters, Ninja Gaiden II has very few important characters. There’s Ryu, Irene, and Robert. This OVA takes place directly after Ninja Gaiden II. All three of these characters are included along with Sara, Jeff and a random girl with glasses. This is another problem. They have too many supporting characters. None of whom are given developed personalities or characters. The worst part is that the story focuses more on the support characters than Ryu, and he’s the bloody protagonist of the games. Aside from the cardboard cutout support characters, let’s look at the characters we actually know from the games. Robert is reduced to the cliche, grumpy, ex-soldier. As for Irene, remember in the NES games when she was actually competent and the only reason she got captured was that the odds were heavily against her? In this she’s a completely incompetent and cliched damsel in distress. She can barely shoot a gun, when she tries to use a sword she fails miserably, and she gets captured by two guys without even struggling. It’s really a disservice to her character since she was a CIA agent in the second game. Where did all her skills go? Ryu isn’t even done well. What little we get of his character makes him look like a melodramatic moron.
Let’s move into the art. It’s bad, even for 1991. The backgrounds are just lazy. When they’re actually present they’re done as simplistically as possible. There are a lot of cases of characters going cross-eyed for no reason. As for the monsters, I told you I’d get to this, they look ridiculous. Any dramatic tension that the battles might have had vanishes when you see the monsters. They look like they belong in a children’s fun house rather than a legitimate threat.
The sound is bland and the voice acting is pretty bad. None of the actors emote very well. This is especially a problem with Ryu and Irene, voiced by Nanba Keiichi and Touma Yumi respectively, since they both get some lines that should be emotional. I honestly blame the Direction since I’ve heard both Nanba Keiichi and Touma Yomi deliver very emotional lines. Zoisite in Sailor Moon and Refill Sage in Tales of Symphonia being two obvious examples.
There’s no yuri in this. So its yuri factor is a 1/10. It’s just as well. Given the writing it wouldn’t have been any good anyway.
My Final rating for Ninja Gaiden is a 2/10. It’s very bad. The premise could have been good but everything else is just terrible.
So besides having one of the greatest speeches in anime history, why should you watch Ninja Gaiden? It is a fun, old school, schlock anime that knows exactly who its audience is and what it wants to be. If you are a fan of classic NES games and early 90s cheap OVAs, this is a real treat.
This is a direct sequel to the original Ninja Gaiden game from 1988. The world is constantly under threat by demons, who are held at bay by the ninjas of the Hayabusa Clan. Our hero is Ryu Hayabusa, who currently lives in New York City and does…uh…ninja things. His girlfriend is a Chinese American named Irene who runs a Chinese antique shop. In my head canon, it’s the rival shop to Uncle’s from Jackie Chan Adventures. Suddenly, a pair of mad scientists want to summon demons and bring chaos to the world. One of them also kidnaps Irene, so now its up to Ryu and his 2 American mercenary friends to save the day! The plot is simple, but it works. This is an adaptation of a game where the main plot is that you keep getting knocked into holes by birds. This doesn’t need to be Shakespeare.
Ryu is a stoic, badass ninja who kills people in awesome ways. This anime doesn’t try to force a tragic backstory or shoehorn in some forced character moments. It knows it only has 40 minutes to tell its story and those 40 minutes should be filled with cool Ninja stuff. Honestly though it is Ryu’s mercenary pals that steal the show. The character Robert Sturgeon is voiced by the incomparable Norio Wakamoto and it just shows how a great actor can take a cheesy speech and make it GLORIOUS. Think Raul Julia in the Street Fighter movie and that’s like Wakamoto in this anime. This is the guy who voiced Cell, Alexander Anderson, Oskar von Reuenthal, Vicious, M Bison, and everyone’s favorite, the floating cat from Azumanga Daioh. His charisma is off the scales and here he is allowed to ham it up as much as he wants.
This anime was made by a nobody studio on a limited budget in 1991. Considering all that, it looks pretty damn good for what it is. The action scenes are plentiful and the blood is heavy. It has an annoying habit of often being lit really dark to hide the limited animation, but besides that I have no complaints.
So this an adaptation of a video game with a 3 sentence plot, made on a limited budget by a nothing studio. This has NO right to be a decent anime, and yet it honestly is. Who directed this beautiful schlock? Mamoru Kanbe. Of COURSE it was Kanbe. I have never seen an anime director so good at salvaging the worst possible situations. This dude is like The Wolf from Pulp Fiction. Why do I say Kanbe is underrated? Just ask the internet what it thinks of Elfen Lied. “Ugh..it’s overrated crap for casual fags just like Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Tokyo Ghoul, and Code Gayass!” Is there a difference between Elfen Lied and those others? Why yes there is. All of the other “casual trash” anime had budgets 40 times higher, were made by A-tier studios, and were based on red hot properties. Anybody could have directed Attack on Titan or Tokyo Ghoul and it would still be a hit. Kanbe was able to take a frankly horrendous manga and with a terrible studio and limited budget, craft one of the most beloved anime of its decade in countries around the world. The man has some SERIOUS talent.
Ninja Gaiden is no masterpiece…obviously. However, it is an enjoyable piece of oldtaku schlock that will only take up 45 minutes of your time. I honestly enjoyed it quite a bit and I think other people who love old, bad anime will get a kick out of this one.
10: Biohazard 4: Incubate
Japanese: バイオハザード4 Incubate
MAL Score: 6.16
After the Playstation port of Resident Evil 4 hit the stores Capcom released a new 97 minute DVD some time later which intended to summarize the whole story of Resident Evil 4. It’s played on English audio with Japanese subtitles. It also included a little book which explains the life on El Pueblo before and the arrival of Osmund Saddler. It also solved some plot holes like the whereabouts of the children. It contains many of the scenes original to Resident Evil 4.
(Source: Resident Evil Wiki)
Aside from game cinematics its patched togehter with actual game footage which is choppy and rideged at best. No where near high standards of animations. Not all of it is ridged and choppy just what wasnt a prerendered cutscence. It also does a lot of jump cuts without any explanation for the plot so you will be at Point A and then randomly at Point Q and be expected to know whats happening. You will also meet a very small cast with some great voice talents but not given much of a chance to do much else other than further the plot along minimally.
I really wanted to love this ova i truly did but it was just not meant to be a real ova. Its just a choppily slapped together recap movie. I wasted time watching this as it didnt offer any entertainment value. Fans of the series might enjoy it but i think outsiders will instantly condem this Ova as wasted time.
Resident Evil 4: Incubate, or Biohazard 4: Incubate is, let me put it simply, a RESIDENT EVIL 4 CUTSCENES. Nothing more, nothing less… No remastered graphics, no extended cuts, NOTHING.
If you want to watch this cutscenes, hell, you better play RE4 rather than watching this cut-scenes that has summarized for those who just like to skipped those cutscenes and said, “FUCK IT, I have a RE: Incubate… Why bother?”
Also, all of this were reused for this movie, the graphics, the voice actors from the game, the enemies, etc.. So, don’t expect something here…
-has some witty dialogue
-introduction was informative through narration by main male character.
-interesting concept used. Where some battle fights had some overlaying plot narration.
-transitions are abrupt. Like different save points to a game.
-graphics aren’t great.
-computer generated art may be easier to produce but lacks realism for upon close contact there is glitch moments. Such as character actions seem to transfer through solid matter. Similar to a ghost.
-unneeded black screen moments used as transitions.
Had a decent amount of character background. Not for all characters though.
I am sure those who got the PlayStation game were grateful to have some more plot content but as a standalone this doesn’t make for a good movie. At least the ending was nice and left room for a follow up.
9: AD Police
English: AD Police Files
MAL Score: 6.26
The year is 2027 in MegaTokyo, six years before the Knight Sabers will make their debut. Boomers (artificial humans) are still a relatively new advancement, and the implementation and integration of boomers into society is still a bit buggy — sometimes fatally so. Whenever a boomer incident occurs, though, there is the Advanced Police, a special force trained to deal with boomer crimes.
Leon McNichol is a rookie in the AD Police, and is just starting to become exposed to the horrors and tragedies one finds every day in MegaTokyo. He and his veteran partner, Gina Marceau, slowly learn about the ever-fading line that separates man from machine.
Someone saw more potential in the franchise and decided to take Blade Runner and blend it with Miami Vice. Inspired? Foolhardy? Definitely worth a shot. The cyberpunk genre can be blended with anything, and Bubblegum Crisis brilliant as it was, could have been taken in another direction entirely, and AD Police Files directs it into moody fatalistically romantic territory.
Leon McNichol is almost unrecognisable, not just due to a change in character art, but he’s a jittery straight-laced rookie in the first episode. A far cry from the ladies man, with a penchant for showing up at the right time with a big gun that we saw in the previous OVA. You’d think this OVA would chart a rites of passage for this character, throwing him into the deep end of sex-crazed Boomers in a lecherous city and spitting him out a grizzled veteran, but he’s just another character in the background to the city and its blood-soaked tragedies.
Whereas Bubblegum Crisis reminds you vaguely of the style of Ghost in the Shell at times, AD Police Files strangely and for a brief moment will make you recall Ghost in the Shell: Innocence’s opening assault on a building harbouring a crazed robot ‘doll’. This serves as another reminder of the Bubblegum franchise’s subtle impact on the cyberpunk genre within anime, very subtle indeed.
AD Police Files addresses one of the aspects of Bubblegum Crisis, that of the AD Police being completely and utterly useless at everything. This was not so much a flaw as it was a humorous running joke throughout that OVA. This time they get a lot of love and attention, turning up at crime scenes violently, intimidating ‘normal police’, and generally causing the same amount of destruction as the Knight Sabers except with a humorously bemused scowl upon their weathered faces.
Another aspect addressed in this OVA that was lacking in Bubblegum Crisis is more of a definition and elaboration of what Boomers actually are, and their role in society. In the previous OVA all we got was rogue Boomers, custom-made and with inconsistent personalities. There was no outline for why Boomers were made, or what they were made of exactly. The line was blurry and with the array of different personalities it wasn’t clear if they were cyborgs, robots or synthetic humans. Sure the name is a riff of baby boomers, but Bubblegum Crisis didnt really do anything else with that symbolism.
AD Police Files is more direct in its approach to everything. We’re told Boomers are artificial humans made up of proteins, artificial intelligence and artificial organs. A real mash-up indeed. Future Frankenstein monsters terrorising Mega-Tokyo with random violence due to mysterious bouts of insanity. Then there is the issue of people with implants, if over 70% of their body are cybernetic then they are classed as Boomeroids. After you’ve stopped laughing at that name you realise you’re in a perfect setting for philosophical musings.
You’d think after the previous paragraph that you’ll endure endless exposition and rambling but you’d be incorrect in that assumption. One of AD Police Files’ saving graces are the stylish art direction and minimal dialogue. There are many instances of wordless scenes, set to an 80’s synth score, and its absolute bliss for cyberpunk lovers, and seasoned anime viewers in general. We’re not getting talked down to in this OVA, and although we’re also not being asked to work our brains, we’re still being entertained without being insulted. Well, much. The content of the episodes is a bit on the nose at times, though the core plots for all three are still pretty good.
AD Police Files is required viewing for fans of cyberpunk and 90’s anime. It hasn’t got the quality of the best animes of the genre, but it has its heart in the right place. Ironic, huh?
The titular AD Police are a force that specialises in dealing with boomers, and humans with enough cybernetic parts. The story follows three different cases of theirs. The first involves them trying to find proof that one of their own didn’t commit suicide by boomer, while being stalked by a sex boomer. The second involves a woman murdering prostitutes. The final one involves a cyborg fellow who can’t feel anything except his own tongue and is losing touch with his humanity. It doesn’t help that he’s being molested by a sex-crazed lady doctor.
You might have noticed a bit of a pattern there. This series has a weird, unhealthy fixation on sex, especially as it applies to women. In the first episode we have the crazed sex boomers and a lady who gets turned on by the sight of blood, which never comes up again even though she’s in the rest of the series. In the second episode our serial killer was driven mad because (minor spoiler ahead) her husband was cheating with prostitutes because he thought their normal vaginas were better than her cybernetic one. In the third, we have the lady scientist who likes to wear lingerie under her lab coat and jump the cyborg she’s in charge of. Do these guys just live in perpetual terror of the idea that a scantily clad woman is going to do terrible things to them? Because if that’s the case they should see an actual psychologist and work through their issues in a constructive fashion instead of airing them in a publicly released OVA for anyone to see. Otherwise some strange person might try psychoanalysing them based on their writing and they won’t actually improve.
The second major issue with the series is that there’s never any sense of investment in what’s happening. Not only do we know basically nothing of these characters, but the set ups largely boil down to some action sequences and fetish fuel. Take the first episode. We’re supposed to care about a dude who had, maybe two lines of dialogue and got killed because his life insurance might not be paid out. Hold on, let me try to find a single fuck to give… Nope, can’t find one. A non-character’s woes after they die doesn’t make you interested in what’s going to happen. It’s completely not compelling. There’s also a bit of an issue with the cyborgs in this world. Our final episode cyborg can’t feel anything but his tongue, but the second episode cyborg is over 70% cybernetic and can feel things fine from what we see. They couldn’t have given the battle cyborg a switch so that he could turn off his sensations in battle, but so that he would still get sensations outside of it, possibly curtailing the obvious scenario that happens with him? For that matter, we see from the same comparison that they have cybernetic genitalia. Why can’t he have a penis and just wear trousers? Is it solely so that the “sex scene” with the scientist rubbing herself against him doesn’t actually make the OVA a hentai?
About the only thing I can say in its favour is that it’s set in the same universe as Bubblegum Crisis. So, if you’ve seen that then you know some interesting aspects about the world. Even if this series doesn’t convey them.
I briefly touched on the characters being about as interesting as a blade of grass during my analysis on what’s wrong with the story. So, rather than repeat myself over much, let’s try comparing them to the ladies in Bubblegum Crisis and see where this series went wrong. In BC, we get character focused episodes that develop our main cast. We see what kinds of things they do when they aren’t fighting. We see them interact with one another and other people at length. In this series, we get very brief snippets, some of which are actually just sepia-toned still images. The interactions are likewise fairly flat. There’s the whole scene where the sex-crazed officer tries to hurl herself at Leon because… blood. We get a scene where she asks him why he rejected her and he just kind of shrugs. Dude, you can just tell her that you’re not into the blood play. It’s not like it even makes you weird. There’s not enough here to give you a substantial sense of character. Nothing to move them beyond generic. For that matter, the excuses behind why our antagonists go crazy are pretty poorly handled. Husband cheats? Well, that has to lead to madness. Don’t pretend that you’ve never gone berserk and murdered a bunch of people when your significant other was unfaithful. We’ve all been there.
If Bubblegum Crisis had an unhealthy fixation on fan-service, this series suffers from multiple neuroses about it. There are several action sequences that get interrupted for the sake of tacky bosom or bum shots. All three episodes feature women stripping out of their clothes for unnecessary, garish reasons. To make matters even worse, the character designs shift a bit from episode to episode. You know, on account of consistency being cumbersome. The series still manages to feature some decent action sequences and some nice details concerning the advanced technology.
The performances in this are pretty weak. Which I attribute to the script not giving the cast much to work with. I know that Furukawa Toshio, Wakamoto Norio & some others can act really well. They don’t in this, but I know they can. The music isn’t particularly good either. Which is a bit surprising since BC had such a fantastic soundtrack. Then again, BC also had a lot of other good aspects to it that this series lacks.
There really isn’t any. The closest we get to ho-yay is an inquiry about one character’s sexuality.
So, that’s AD Police. If you want some mindless action and tawdry sexual content, you are in luck. This OVA was made for you. For everyone else, it fails pretty badly. The story telling is just bad. The characters are awful. The music and acting are weak. The levels of fan-service detract from the action and are just in poor taste. All in all, it’s terrible and I don’t care for it. My final rating is going to stand at a 2/10. Next week I’m looking at Mononoke.
with an special eye to episode 3, wich story and mecha design is partly inspired by robocop 2 (1990) end is damn violent!
8: Under the Dog
Japanese: UNDER THE DOG
MAL Score: 6.29
The year is 2025. Five years have passed since the Tokyo Olympic Games were called off after deadly terrorist attacks. An international school run by the United Nations now stands in the former Olympic site on the edge of Tokyo Bay. Seven teenagers with special abilities, known as “Flowers,” are among the students.
Their student identities are only a cover for their real identities as members of an intelligence organization run by the UN. Their objective is to assassinate other teenagers who have the same abilities. The Flowers have no choice but to complete their missions without fail. Their organization has taken their family members hostage to ensure this. For the Flowers, failure would mean death not only for themselves but also for their loved ones.
This is the story of their struggle against cruel fate, and of how it is human nature to find hope, however bleak the outlook.
(Source: Official site)
*explosions suddenly erupt in the background of this review*
Under the Dog is an aesthetically beautiful circlejerk of explosions and underdeveloped yet overtly heavy handed themes. Plainly put, this is a bad anime.
Story – 1/10. There is no cohesive story here. There is little to no narrative explanation to the premise, something that works very well in certain anime, but not in a 30 minute amalgam of explosions and blood. Without spoiling too much, Under the Dog tries to show you a heavy, dark story in the background of its fast paced, action-centric approach. However, nothing is explored beyond face value, and from what I saw, Under the Dog is more about angsty, killing U.S. Army soldiers fantasies, than any deeper thematic purpose(s).
Art – 9.5/10. The visuals are fantasic. Character design is very subjective, but I’m a fan of the approach they took. The cinematography is the strongest individual aspect of Under the Dog, with a plethora of fast moving angular shots there to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. The explosions, albeit mind numbingly gratuitious, were wonderful to look at.
Sound – 8/10. The OST was very nice, possibly even under-utilized in certain sequences. It was very dramatic, sadly the story and characters prevent it from striking the viewer the way it was intended to. The voice acting was decent but not memorable. It certainly wasn’t helped by the script. I appreciated the fact that they used native english speakers for the english roles, and this might be a bit nit-picky considering this is ultimately a Japanese anime, but they sounded more like random guys at the office than actors.
*brrrrrrrrr ksekjsetjkskjktttt (explosive noises)*
*more randoms explosions are detected*
Character – 1/10. The entire cast was completely underdeveloped and wholly unexplored, barring the female lead, and that was only in incoheret bits and pieces. It was very hard to take them seriously or build any semblance of emotional attachment. The male lead, an unsuspecting, run of the mill high school boy, is suddenly thrust into this world of hyper-violence and fictional destruction, but Under the Dog completely ignores what would be a great chance for character exploration via a shock setting change. I’m not expecting Shinji Ikari or Lelouch here, but some sort of characterization was there for the taking. Not once does he stop and ask the main character, “Why is the U.S. Military trying to destroy our high school, why is a cute high school girl like yourself capable of deadly assassination techniques, or why is there a giant monster in the hallway?” He’s just there for the sake of being there, and sadly, so is everyone else.
Enjoyment – 4/10. While Under the Dog is exceedingly dumb, and misfires at any serious attempt to make an anime that feels significant in any way, it does succeed at being a moderately thrilling watch, solely thanks to its excellent visual presentation. Its just enjoyable enough to not feel regret about watching it.
*reader shockingly explodes!*
Its more substance than style because I would say this is basically something a seasonal anime can accomplish with the animation. I guess its harder to sell a story that isn’t otaku pandering. But hey who knows maybe they thought they could have done this independently. But seeing as this is with KC and Orange I’m glad they worked with a competent studio. The CG is your standard Orange quality CG. Some scenes def looked more flashier than others and the backgrounds were simple but it got the job done.
I feel that Hana was a good main character for the amount of screen time she got. Sadly we don’t get to see the Anthea till the 22 minute mark. Again, it looks like they were selling a different product at first. Anthea’s introduction puts everything in to perceptive to why she comes so late in the anime. It isn’t a bad thing because Hana is still a good character. The last act is what the 2 acts before it built up to. And I do say it was worth the build up. The action scenes might not be OMG sakuga nut on my screen, but it was good and interesting.
Most of the story is placed in high school where we see a gun fight going on. Don’t let high school setting bother you because we only get that higschool feel for 2 or 3 minutes before everything goes ape shit. Whats great about it is that we get enough info in-between these shooting fight scenes but not overbearing to the point where we have exposition coming out the screen. There are plenty of things that the story shows you but doesn’t explicitly tell you. For example the monster having green eyes as well as Hana and Anthea. They even spell it out for you in the beginning about how their hope became their nemesis. But you forget about that by the time you get to the second act. Overall there are other things but I don’t want to go into detail just watch it for yourself. The entire anime is paced and directed in such a way where it feels like a mini movie.
The best part about the feel of this narrative is that it feels like a 90s OVA. Oh how I miss the OVA boom. Anyways to wrap things up, was it the over the top action/mystery flick we were planning to see? No, but it is a decent to good action anime with great build up and nice characters.
Enjoy the twist because this anime does something most anime wouldn’t have. Thats all I gotta say without spoiling your experience.
I seen titties so its a good anime.
Story: What story? We are just thrust into the setting with no clarification on what year it is or how the world became this way. This might work in other anime, but there is almost nothing here that pulls you in enough to even care. There’s a bunch of random terms thrown around like “flowers”, “the light of humanity”, “pandoralization” etc that are never explained.
Art: The art was decent. Definitely nothing to impressed about though, considering this took 2 years to make for an 28 minute episode. The animation was mediocre everywhere that wasn’t a fight scene. The character designs were bland and lacked any flair. Nothing stood out about the art at all, but at least it didn’t detract from the experience.
Sound: Music was generic action music. No thought went into whether the music was actually needed for some action scenes, so it was often distracting and detracted from the experience. The VA was nothing special either.
Character: This actually made me laugh a bit. there is absolutely NO decent characterization. Sure, it might be hard in an 28 minute episode, but considering it took 2 years to plan and make I would have assumed they’d make an attempt. Every line the main character spoke felt cliche and trite. She was basically a standard tragic hero, with no other substance to her. The other characters aren’t even worth mentioning. I don’t even know why they bother to give names to some of them.
Enjoyment: I did not enjoy it that much. The action scene at the very end is what made me bump it up from a 1 to a 2, but other than that I feel like I wasted 28 minutes watching this piece of crap.
Overall: I wouldn’t consider it something worth watching. The animation is mediocre and nothing worth mentioning(contrary to the trailer they showed us before). The music is forgettable and annoying. The plot is not explained clearly, and the episode is bogged down by silly melodramatic moments where characters talk and talk and talk and overexplain stuff.
MAL Score: 6.36
Two Japanese survivors of the Khmer Rouge massacres in Cambodia vow to find a sanctuary, even if they have to build it themselves. Returning to Japan, they take seemingly opposite paths: one becomes a politician, the other a gangster.
As Asami and Houjou work through the linked worlds of politics and crime in modern Japan, they don’t hesitate to do anything necessary to secure their own positions and stay true to their vow. Loyal to no one else, they find their friendship increasingly tested as they rise in their chosen fields.
This OVA doesn’t really give many details on the background of the story, and it certainly doesn’t end it, so I assume this covers something in the middle of the story… I’ll definitely be wanting to read the manga to find out more.
If you enjoy when one character pulls a fast one over on the other like in Death Note or Code Geass, you’ll probably like this. The main character, Hojo, appears to be a genius. He’s got a good position in the yakuza, but he has a great ambition that he works towards – apparently the whole “creating a sanctuary” thing, though this OVA doesn’t really touch on that much. I often found myself impressed and just laughing a bit at how awesome it was when Hojo’s plans took effect. He’s an extremely charming and likeable character.
The animation was smooth enough to be better than today’s standards. The characters actually moved around and there weren’t any “freeze frame” attacks or whatever. Unlike most anime, the characters look pretty realistic, which, oddly, drew me in quite a lot.
The soundtrack contained some nice piano pieces and some funky stuff reminiscent of the ’80s and ’90s. It was quite fitting.
I really enjoy realistic situations in anime; the characters in this OVA don’t do anything a person wouldn’t do in real life. This really adds to the thrill when they do things that ARE out of the ordinary since we can really relate to it and see how impressive it is.
I have two complaints with Sanctuary.
1. There’s a bunch of nudity and foreplay for no apparent reason. I could understand a little to show what these people are like, but it was pretty excessive to get that message across. I just thought it was pretty unnecessary and also felt a bit bad seeing it since I’m in a relationship.
2. There’s only one OVA.
Other than that, I found this amazing and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m kinda baffled why it’s rated so low (6.61 at the time of writing this), but whatever.
Stories like this fascinate me. Mobster movies represent a darker rendition of the typical “rags to riches” tale, where sentimental value is replaced by realism. They’re like most underdog-driven narratives, but with characters you don’t always cheer for and ideas you don’t always support. This is the genre that Sanctuary, Studio Pastel’s 1996 film, finds itself in. Almost from the start, Sanctuary tries separating itself from the others through its heavily political focus. As you would expect, the film chronicles a mobster’s rise to power but it also connects this to a larger plotline concerning favoritism. Sanctuary intends to criticize a system that only enables celebrities, bureaucrats, and children of older politicians to advance. Because he despises this practice, the film’s protagonist wants to undermine this system through his mobster influence. Along the way, Sanctuary forms several parallels between the political sphere and the criminal underworld, arguing that they’re equally corrupt.
Unfortunately, these ideas are overshadowed by a director whose vision is trapped inside mobster movie cliches. Characters lounge around and reminisce about old times under shimmering streetlights. Plot details are discussed inside lavish nightclubs and high-rise skyscrapers. Saxophones, pianos, and bass guitars supply the score for a string of sex scenes. The end result is a film that aspires for social commentary but fails to offer anything beyond the glitz and glamour and guns.
Actually, you can ignore the guns. Sure, they’re waved around quite a bit but the guns are never used. At no point in this film is anyone in any real danger, especially not Hojo. As Sanctuary’s protagonist, he provides cigarettes and a comb-over to his role but it’s his unwavering confidence that truly defines him. Hojo’s confidence is taken to ridiculous extremes. In a crucial scene during Sanctuary’s latter half, an employer of his requires him to partake in a test of loyalty. As part of the test, Hojo has to stab his hand with a knife without flinching. He not only pulls off the stunt but he also does so with a self-assured smirk; it’s obvious that even this test has failed to penetrate his air of confidence. The scene serves as a microcosm of Hojo’s overall character. No matter what obstacle he faces (whether it’s the police, the corrupt politicians, his deranged older brother, or the mob boss), he not only overcomes them but he’s also completely unfazed by the threat they pose. Because Sanctuary is unwilling to present Hojo with a legitimate challenge, what results is a series of conflicts that aren’t just unengaging but predictable as well. By itself, the lack of dramatic tension is damning material. However, this is merely part of a larger issue with the film.
Earlier, I described the mobster’s rise to power and why I’m fascinated by it. However, there’s a concept that I’m far more interested in: the fall from grace. Our unnamed protagonist has arrived at the summit but he won’t be there for long. Thanks to fame’s trappings, the same traits that fueled his success have changed for the worse. His confidence morphs into arrogance. His ruthlessness swells to surreal heights. And his ingenuity evaporates. Eventually, after burning enough bridges, our protagonist is reduced to nothing. A journey to the mountaintop can be entertaining; however, it’s falling from that same mountaintop that really resonates with me. Personally speaking, it’s captivating to watch someone claw and scratch to attain the finer things in life (fancy suits, fast cars, and high-priced cigars), only for it all to instantly vanish. Ultimately, the mobster’s fall from grace serves as a cautionary tale for members of organized crime; what it does is present the consequences of the lifestyle they lead.
With Sanctuary, though, there is no fall from grace. Matter of fact, there aren’t any consequences here whatsoever.
Take Sakura Shuichi, for instance. He’s a sleazy, sewer-dwelling rat that forces himself upon random women. He’s also a politician affiliated with the National Diet of Japan. So, naturally, when Hojo begins blackmailing Sakura with photos of his misdeeds, he is warned by the mob boss himself to stop. Hojo, however, insists on playing with fire. He tosses log after log into the flames, delighting in the disaster he’s made, before eventually deciding to pour a gallon of oil into the mix. Instead of being disciplined for his reckless behavior, Hojo receives a promotion. For another example, you can refer to Kyoko Ishihara, the police force’s superintendent. When she tries to infiltrate a mobster-owned casino, Kyoko is quickly discovered by Hojo, who drugs and rapes her. He suffers no repercussions from this; in fact, through a mind-boggling turn of events, Kyoko ends up helping him resist a group of kidnappers. Looking at the bigger picture, Hojo decides to become a mobster (or, in this case, a yakuza) and is never faced with the consequences of his choice. When you combine this with the lack of dramatic tension, what remains is a protagonist whose plot armor is powerful enough to neutralize anything, even the after-effects of his own actions.
By glamorizing its subject matter, Sanctuary falls victim to the same aches and pains that plagues every other dime-a-dozen mobster flick. It constructs a narrative of watered-down stereotypes, forgettable encounters, and incomplete character arcs. This film has no real identity, nothing that separates it from the herd, which is exactly why I’d recommend it to fans of the genre. If you happen to enjoy mobster movies, Sanctuary provides pretty much everything you’d expect from its category. Thing is, there was a spark of potential here. At first, the film wanted to take risks with its material but Sanctuary ends up playing it safe.
The art is really good, only 90s kids can remember before anime art became manufactured corporate trash. The jiggle physics and the fight scenes have some high tier animation, especially the animation of the guns and blood
Wish there were more Yakuza anime like this..
Overall I had a good time watching it!
6: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak
Japanese: ひぐらしのなく頃に拡 アウトブレイク
MAL Score: 7.22
It is 1983, and Hinamizawa is under quarantine. A mysterious and deadly virus has been discovered within the small village, and its residents—such as teenager Keiichi Maebara and his friends Mion Sonozaki and Rena Ryuuguu—are left confused and frightened by the situation.
As the villagers begin to search for a way to stop the affliction from spreading, some make drastic plans, which leaves Keiichi and his friends looking for a way to escape the village. But when tensions reach an all-time high, some of his group may not make it out unscathed as they fight for their lives against enemies both seen and unseen.
Basically you can think of it as another world where things went bad but this time you will see how everything continued until the end I guess. Who knows how will it end. We can meditate about it.
The style is similar to the previous Higurashi series but different from OVAs that were more like parodies. Kaku is very serious and you can see again everyone (yeah especially Rena and her insane face) covered in blood. You will meet all the already known characters and see the good old Hinamizawa again. Hmm yea, not good at all but you know what I mean… 😀
The OVA is about 50 minutes long so it’s like two anime episodes in one. I actually didn’t believe in the end that it is already over. It really got me so I forgot about time etc. Don’t wanna say that it’s the best anime OVA ever, some scenes and moments in the plot are a bit childish and naive I would say and could have been done better. (don’t wanna spoil much) However, I got caught by this OVA and I am sure that every fan of Higurashi will feel the same way. The plot is very fast (of course, just 50 mins for all the stuff in there) thus it’s not boring and it ends in the best. In other words there is no time for boring scenes.
This OVA also helped me a bit to understand more about the whole mysterious plot. Especially Hanyuu and Rika’s short dialogue is very interesting. To tell the truth, we never saw any of the paralel world coming that far as this one.
Btw, you know the song called “Dear You” from the Higurashi game? I remember tons of comments on the Internet that this song should be used also in the anime. Well, some dreams that may seem impossible sometimes come true. Thanks Oyashiro-sama.
The result? If you liked previous Higurashi series (and felt that you need more of Hinamizawa), definitely watch this OVA. No more to say. Even if you ignored the rest of the OVAs that were just weird parodies made for fun, this one is different.
Considering how disappointed I was with a large proportion of Kira, I was trying my best not to get my hopes up for this OVA but upon seeing the trailer, I found it difficult not to. It looked serious, it looked exciting; Rena had her cleaver and Keiichi is armed with the bat. What’s not to instantly get excited about?
In general, it was an interesting episode and longer than your typical episodes so that it is about the length of a double episode. It did however have a few flaws that with some careful thought about the plot could have been easily smoothed out.
This may be an obvious point but you should have watch series 1 and 2 before watching this.
Story: In general, the story is interesting. It deals with the ‘Outbreak’ (unsurprisingly) of the “virus”. I will avoid going into too many details but it deals with the action from external groups and more importantly the reaction of the villagers themselves. The plot-line is very reminiscent of the original Higurashi episodes. It is dark, there is plenty of violence and you can see the connection between the club members.
Character: With a couple of exceptions, I felt this is where the episode really fell down. It was without… ‘love’. Both Rena and Keiichi in particular seemed to do things that had very little emotion attached to them – unlike in the previous series, their violence seemed a little… like a spree rather than for any particular reason.
Actually Rika, despite her small part in the episode as a whole, gets me applause. Everything from her expressions and her ‘Bern-esque’ voice got me. I’m pretty sure there may have been some gentle underlying suggestions about the links to Umineko.
Overall: Overall I enjoyed it despite the little character flaws, it made a nice change from Kira and the ‘happy-happy-love-love’ Higurashi to something just that little bit darker. There seems to be doubt as to whether this is the last episode or whether there will be more. It seemed to me that the episode lent itself to a little more storytelling.
– Director: Alright staff! Lets recup: What did the audiences like in the Higurashi series?
-Staff 1: I know, I know! The mystery and never really knowing what’s going on.
-Staff 2: How human and full of flows the characters were. Even the killers had times when they were afraid, confused and in complete disarray about their emotions.
-Staff 3: How the community was a quiet, eerie place on the surface, full of dark secrets and people who moved in the shadows in the background. Also how cut it was from the outside world!
-Staff 4: How the characters are slowly slipping into insanity, starting to doubt if what they’re seeing is real?
– Director: Excellant! Excellant! You pointed out everything that we will NOT do in the movie!
– Staff1: But wouldn’t that just piss off all our viewers and send our ratings skydiving without a parachute? I mean we already fucked up with the OVAs…
– Director: Exactly! Now on to create a zombie apocalypse movie!
Yes, yes, it’s not EXACTLY a zombie apocalypse but, come on! The similarities are waaaay too obvious. The madness that covers the whole village takes the form of a plague that the world goverment is afraid of, there are killers walking around the streets missing a lot of brain cells and our protagonists go all Rambo on said killers. Oh and I do mean “all Rambo”
Supposedly EVERYONE in the world already had parasites living inside them which were the cause people became divided in religions, countries etc, depending on the parasite type. (Really movie? We’re going there?) And suddenly these become actively hostile towards the different variations of parasites meaning people go into a mindless manslaughter against people with different parasites. Well, that’s towards the middle part of the movie and the end. The movie actually begins with the world goverment putting the whole village our protagonists live in under quarantine. Yes, with tanks, soldiers, etc etc. Don’t you remember how you just loved seeing the world outside the village interract with the people in the village blowing away all the eerie atmosphere?
Anyway the people of the village consider Satoko the source of the evil curse that has befallen them and prepare to sacrifice her to the local deity. So the club members decide to rescue her! Aka Mion gets K.O.ed in an instant and is effortlessly moved around as a package by the protagonist’s family, while Keiichi and Rena singehandedly rescue Satoko. And oh, my God! There are over 100 people wondering around with guns and other weapons looking to kill them! How will the Keiichi and Rena manage to sneak past them? (Since… You know, they’re humans. With no super powers whatsoever. And they’re not Batman.)…Sneak past them? Man up you cowards! As Keiichi brilliantly puts it before grabbing his baseball bat : “A hundrend? Only a hundrend?”
Yes, I’m dead serious. Keiichi and Rena easily slaughter 100 people on their own while being cocky as f$”% about it. Are you starting to see the problems of the movie? It’s NOT HIGURASHI. Hell, even the OVAs were closer to the original Higurashi than this. It’s like making Sadako from Ringu a news reporter. The fact that she has something to do with TV doesn’t mean she fits there!. Same goes with the Higurashi cast. The fact that zombie apocalypse is a type of horror and Higurashi also belongs in the horror genre doesn’t mean that the Higurashi cast fits in a zombie apocalypse!
In the end they manage to rescue Satoko, escape the city through one of Mion’s family secret passages and Rika decides to stay behind and wait for civilization to begin again… Directors, if you can’t axe-off a cast member DON’T invent some stupid reason to get them seperated from the rest. I mean, there are writers who can pull that off, but clearly you’re not among them. If you can’t kill them let them stay. Anyway… Our protagonist go outside the village, into a world destroyed by the sudden mania the parasites have caused (boy we sure skipped fast through that one).
To sum up: It’s not Higurashi! Not even a fun spin-off. Stupid, uninspired, terribly written and doesn’t have anything that made you like the original series.
5: Another: The Other – Inga
English: Another: The Other
Japanese: アナザー The Other -因果-
MAL Score: 7.29
Shortly before the start of a new semester, Misaki Fujioka visits her twin sister Mei Misaki in Yomiyama City. The girls make full use of the last days of summer, roaming around a heat-weary town and visiting various places including a shopping center and shooting stall. When they prowl around her basement, Mei expresses uneasiness about her new class, which is said to be cursed.
Craving more entertainment, the twins decide to pay a visit to the local amusement park. But the leisure of a sleepy summer day could soon turn woeful as Mei sees the color of death on her sister—an unmistakable omen that a tragedy is bound to strike.
Now, you’re probably expecting a lot of bloodshed and mind twists right? That would be most of the cases for us die-hard fans into the mystery, thriller, and horror theme that the original series bought us.
However, in this OVA, we see a more brighter side of Mei Misaki and her “other half”. Talk about a splitting image.
We also get to see a bit more about her past as well as her “other half”. But you’re still probably asking yourself “should I watch this even if I’ve seen the original series?” Let me answer that with a 7-letter word:
Why? Because this is a mini-prequel. In other words, this is not what happens after the series or an anime that will throw bloodshed at your screen every 5 minutes. (well, there was one thrown in).
The OP song remains the same and as for the music, it’s a bit calm but still retains that darkening mood. The art remains beautiful just like the original series with some added bonus fan-service like a cherry on top. ~desu
As for the characters, there are only two. Yes, it’s the ones you see in the promo poster. What did you expect? I told you this is a prequel OVA, not the entire series. It is however quite interesting to see the relationship of Mei and her other half bond as well as her more energetic, cute, outer self.
This is perhaps the trailer for what some fans may expect before the calm of the storm if you decide to watch it first rather than the original series. And that calm will soon turn into calamity as disaster strikes into the heart of Yomiyama.
So, all in all, this OVA is entertaining but not something I’ll remember by for a long time; at least not like the death of you-know-who in the original series or that Nice Boat episode when the class went to the beach. But, is this OVA worth your time watching?
Well, that’s for me to know and you to find out.
This is a very heartfelt special addition to Another, and contrasting greatly with the original series, it progresses fairly slow. This really helped to enhance the feelings of intimacy conveyed throughout, and to allow us to connect more on a personal level, to Mei.
I have no doubt about it that by watching this prequel, you’ll come to understand Mei’s back story much more vividly. It seems as though this was the reason behind releasing an episode 0, and especially due to the inclusion of real scenes from episode 1 (of the main) – the story comes together beautifully.
I really found it nice to see Mei so happy for a change, during this episode. The show reflects some Slice Of Life-like elements, and it works well in bringing out the thoughts, feelings and emotions of Mei and her Sister, that were originally going to remain untold. However, contrary to this supposedly “dramatically less dramatic” feature, i can say however that the show retained its sense of uneasiness. Contrasting with what i’ve said about it being a chilled out piece, it still manages to incorporate some of the show’s signature fear inducing, edge of the seat presentation tactics.
This is an essential piece for fans of the show to watch!
Note that while there are no major plot expositions to be found here, i would personally judge this prequel to be spoilerific enough that people who haven’t yet watched the main series may want to watch that first.
The events of this anime move somewhat slowly from the beginning, we are shown the relationship between the 2 Misakis, heavily interspersed with Fanservice(significantly more than the main series ever demonstrated and much less subtly). From the midpoint it picks up a little in pace, however ultimatly the most you will likely get out of this OVA is some small fanservice and a few tidbits of information that weren’t properly explained in the original series
The art remains as good as it does in the main series, there isn’t anything special to really set it apart from it’s parent
The sound is good, though the errie and oppresive ambient sounds and creepy music of it’s parent are toned back here, especially early on in which the music is largely peaceful or missing altogether, it’s towards the end that the creepiness of the music slowly starts to work it’s way in nicely giving the effect of a change from a peaceful beginning transitioning in to the events of the main series
There is some character development for both Misakis which fans will appreciate, however little more
As someone who enjoyed much of the original series greatly the best term I can give to describe this OVA would be “Sufficient”. There was just enough little tidbits of information, fanservice and even a cheeky tease that I didn’t find it unenjoyable.
Overall – 7
It’s fair to say most fans millages with this will vary greaty, some will find it an abysmal waste of their time, or be greatly dissapointed with it’s choice of content. Others may think it a fine add on to the main series. Ultimately on it’s own this OVA fails to be satisfying however as with the background lore of a video game or the notes of an author that were never published if you’re willing to set aside a little time to peruse it you’ll find some small bits of information that might interest you.
4: Imawa no Kuni no Alice (OVA)
MAL Score: 7.40
Ryouhei Arisu is a high school student with no ambitions and just wants to escape from what he feels is a meaningless reality. One night when he is with his two friends Daikichi Karube and Chouta Segawa, they see an abnormally large firework shoot into the sky, an event which signals a permanent change in their lives.
Blinded by the incredibly bright explosion, the three find themselves transported to what is known as the Borderland. The only inhabitants of this world are participants of a deadly game where specific tasks must be accomplished if they wish to survive. As the three begin playing to determine how they can get back home, Ryouhei finds himself feeling alive for the very first time in his life.
I started watching this cuz I heard the netflix versions was really good so i chose to watch the anime first. the plot is really good its an amazing idea id like to see more off (so ill probs watch the netflix version).
The art is standart nothing special
The emotional songs are really good in this anime
I loved all the characters mainly Chouta.
This anime really has you on the edge of your seat the entire time, mainly episode 3.
I’d recommend this anime a lot, if it had more episodes it would probs have become one of my fav.
Actually Alice in Borderlands is one or my favorite manga, I enjoy reading each chapter, it has been a while since I read the manga, so I wanted to see these 3 ovas to see how good they are, after all for my Alice in Bordelands it was a great and I knew that, despite being 3 ovas, it could be a good thing from there (well, I was wrong).
The story does not change much, Arisu Ryohei, tired of his life and with an inferiority complex by his brother, appears in another world with his 2 friends after seeing some fireworks, in the “new world” (which is equal to the Earth, but without many people) there are some survival games in which Arisu will have to participate to survive, the plot is simple, but it can unleash many possibilities, but the pacing is terrible, the plot rushes so much that we can not get to Psychologically understand the characters or their actions, the ovas only take advantage that they are a game of death to play great and develop them well (that is a good point that the ova have at least) and then forget everything else, it shows due to the emphasis to make each game fit a game and making their preparations, which does not work because the grace that the games had was to see how the protagonists faced the games in a psychological way and in a way Inamica, while here they only focused on making the game great, leaving a kind of “style over substance”, since the reflections and deductions of the characters completely dislodge due to the inconsistency that the ovas had to prioritize and retract the games ( it takes very little time to explain correctly and dynamically).
The last game was the one I gave the most hope, but the flask forward (as opposed to flask back) that were recurrent in the chapter made the majority of the chapter’s dialogue meaningless and explicitly let you understand that something wrong It was going to happen (which is a simple way to put tension although with everything, this game was the one that best treated the tension), without the need to resort to psychological immersion, which generates, although all the games are raised in a way correct, the latter in particular could have developed in a great way, but the little immersion with the characters and the fact that we could not get into their mentality makes their deaths do not feel like something emotional or that has weight (although the soundtrack did a good job in general), so, despite the good approach, the development was mediocre.
The characters are where the ovas weakest, in the manga the characters are undoubtedly their best element (especially Arisu), due to the duration of the ovas the characters are very poor, you can not get to emphasize with any due to the emphasis that is only given to the games and in the ingenious way to solve them, it is not at the end of the third game where you can get to understand the feelings of the characters, but that only serves to generate an emotional scene where friends of Arisu die, if not for that reason the characters never managed to express themselves correctly, the exposition of deep themes is very superficial and pretentious (we never really get to know much about Arisu’s past or why Chouta feels a loading, they are only vague themes presented in a superficial way), so the exposition of themes is superficial and does not complement the characters due to their poor presentation in the chapters (although I always I talk about character designs in other reviews, here I have nothing to say, it is normal), the characters besides being poor do not get to express their personality well nor can we see great relationships with each other (which is a contradiction taking in mind that they are best friends), so outside the protagonist the other characters become very boring due to their little time on screen (it provides very badly the exhibition of characters, something that did not happen in the manga).
The animation is normal, although the scenarios are very muted and low in color that they use to express more the dark tone of the ovas themselves, outside of that the transitions are mediocre and the facial gestures too, the animation does not help to focus the viewer on certain aspects, at least the animation is not as bad as you might think at the beginning, it just does not meet decent standards.
The end of the ovas only leaves the viewer anxious, forcing him to read the manga, which makes it a concise ending, but with clear intentions, I really find that these ovas were totally wasted, the manga being a work that gives much emphasis to psychological aspects and the ingenuity of the games, the anime only gave emphasis to the “ingenuity” of the games (since the few that appear are not the big deal), well, a short review, if I don’t talk about other aspects of the ovas it is because it is irrelevant, I really would not recommend these ovas to anyone, or to someone who would like an anime about people in a survival game because in the end and seeing it in retrospect it is likely that there are not many things either good to get out of this animation
The Story has elements of suspense and drama, but ultimately is a coming of age type of story. Missing an ending.
Protagonist is definitely one of the most fleshed out characters I have ever seen. His internal conflict is one that many face, and the anime does a great job of detailing his character in such a concise amount of episodes. The supporting characters are memorable, but for the most part cliched.
Art and Sound are good Quality, with the art being outstanding in terms of direction and audience engagement.
3: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei
English: When They Cry: Rei
MAL Score: 7.42
The infamous series of unexplainable murders in Hinamizawa have been solved and the chains of fate have broken due to the efforts of Rika Furude and her friends. Rika believes she has finally obtained the normal and peaceful life she desired with her friends; however, she is proven wrong when the wheels of fate begin turning once again after an unfortunate accident.
Rika suddenly finds herself in a “perfect” world, the constant cycle of brutal killings having never taken place, where all of her friends are content and satisfied. Not wanting to abandon the world that she fought so hard for, she learns she must destroy an essential “key” to get back. But can Rika abandon the faultless world she is given the chance to live in, after all of her battles have brought her this far?
This OVA is broken into two basic sections: Silly episodes (the first and last) and plot episodes (the middle episodes).
You will likely not enjoy the silly episodes if you did not enjoy the silly/cute side of Higurashi. If, on the other hand you liked the antics throughout Higurashi, the silly episodes will probably just make your day. (They were the highlight of the OVA for me, though that’s just personal taste).
The plot episodes have more of a traditional Higurashi feel to them – suspense and mystery are essential elements, though it’s a different sort than we’re used to, I would say it’s much more ‘subtle’ than the main series. I can’t say I enjoyed these episodes quite as much as the main series, but I felt that they were still entirely worth watching, and were very well-done considering the options open to the storyteller at this point in the story.
In short – If you watched Higurashi, you should enjoy this. (If you didn’t like the silly stuff, just skip the first and last episode).
Even if you haven’t watched Higurashi, the first and last episodes are still entertaining.
Be advised: The first and last OVA are nothing like the rest of this short series. They serve as comedic buffers to the main storyline in which humor makes virtually no appearances at all. In light of this, some viewers may see these episodes as out of place and understandably so. If you are a fan of the brand of humor Higurashi had at the beginning of its arcs, then you’ll be right at home here. Both episodes are full of pretty good laughs, and that’s saying something for a series that is more known for shocking its viewers. If it’s not your cup of tea, then feel free to skip them. The remaining episodes make little to no reference of either one, so critical information won’t be lost.
With that out of the way, the focal point of this OVA can shine. The Dice Killing Arc, which consists of the middle three episodes, is everything that Kai could have and should have been. The storytelling displayed here is done exceptionally well, as everything moves at a decent clip. There isn’t an opportunity to slow down due to the short length of this arc, so each event cuts to the chase and moves on without having to resort to pointless dialogue or reiterated ideas to fill the gap. Despite the increased pacing, Rei never loses track of itself or advances too quickly to the point where information is lost. A note also has to be made for the vastly improved art and animation. Rei takes full advantage of an OVA’s increased budget and sports some very vibrant colors and smooth frame rates throughout its run. It’s nice to finally see a chapter of this franchise rendered with more attention to artistic detailing.
Suspense can be a tricky storytelling element to use; if it is used too much, then the story can drag for unnecessarily long periods of time and become tedious to watch. Thankfully, Rei handles this aspect wonderfully. No time is wasted between each reveal, which keeps things fresh on the plotline. As each pro or con of the new world is revealed, the situation becomes more engrossing, and the viewer is pulled even further into Rika’s shoes. The ultimatum that she faces is one that anyone would have trouble answering. This new Hinamizawa is Rika’s equivalency of the Garden of Eden; it is the world without sin or tragedy that she has desired for her entire existence without the sacrifices that had to be made to get it. Watching her agonize over which world is the correct one to choose left me hanging on the edge of my seat and made me wonder what I would do in her situation. That kind of connection with a character is a strong device to use, and it is used perfectly.
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Rei takes the pacing of the first season, the suspense of the second season, and combines them both in a neat, little package that doesn’t fail to deliver a solid story. With or without the first and last episodes, this series still brings some redemption to the franchise and vaults itself high on my list of recent OVA releases at the same time.
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Rei [Rei] is the third installment of the Higurashi series based on the games created by 07th Expansion. Like the game, Rei covers the events after Furude Rika had finally escaped the meandering halls of fate, breaking the cycle of repetition.
Rei serves as more of a side story, giving small view into life after reiterating summer. The first and last episodes of the set OVA’s are for purely comedic purposes. Nothing really happens and the only insight we get into any of the characters is that Rena finds Keichii’s ‘sea-bear’ cute. Yes folks Higurashi went there… they implied our brunette buxom wanted Maebara’s little friend.
The episodes in-between, 2 through 5 or the Dice Killing Chapter, serve as a more serious side story. Rika one day wakes up in yet another world where everything is seemingly perfect. Everyone she sees is spared of their sin’s from previous realities, their souls not torn into shards waiting to be duck taped back together.
It’s an interesting setup, but it fails in it’s execution. The three short episodes lack any sort of engaging drama, and the story is squeezed down your throat in slabs of monologue. I commend the tale for trying to shade in some background on Hanyuu, Rika’s goddess companion, but I didn’t find myself caring.
Rei is more of the same. The art hasn’t improved much from 2006 when the original Higurashi premiered. The animation was cleaned up a bit, and the colors a bit more vivid. It’s somewhat disappointing considering this is an OVA.
The sound work is still the same. The seiyuu remain untouched and the music is largely forgettable. The OP didn’t really set an ominous tone like the first two shows did. No special effort seems to have been made in the production of Rei.
Watchability and Enjoyment
The two comedic episodes are hilarious. Funny has always been a part of the Higurashi formula, and it was refreshing to watch an episode focusing on Humor.
Rika’s side story on the other-hand is about as engaging as wading through a swamp filled to the brim with molasses compared to the first season. Though it made the fifth episode all the more entertaining. After the dull chapter, the comic finale let me leave the realm of Higurashi with a sweet taste on my lips.
The Dice Killing chapter, through all it’s faults, posed an interesting dilemma: Which world would you pick, one you toiled endlessly to create yourself or a perfect one handed to you on a silver platter. The reality you molded from fate is imperfect but yours, you own it. Which do you keep?
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Rei is a mixed bag. If you enjoy Higurashi’s brand of comedy then check out Episodes 1 and 5. I couldn’t recommend The Dice Killing Chapter except to the most rabid fans who care to know even the palest of brushstrokes on Hinamizawa’s canvas. But if your that crazy your better off getting the sound novels.
2: Denpa-teki na Kanojo
MAL Score: 7.55
Delinquent Juu Juuzawa is a lone wolf who does not see much use in befriending people. So when a girl named Ame Ochibana claims they are linked together from their previous lives, he is highly skeptical and doesn’t want anything to do with her. Even stranger is that her fondest wish is to be his servant. Thinking that Ame must be delusional, he tries to distance himself from her. But when a classmate is murdered, Juu instead decides to keep her close, believing the strange girl to be the culprit. However, her intelligence and skill begin to prove invaluable as the two begin working together to solve the murder.
Denpa-teki na Kanojo weaves together a story of love, loss, and devotion, showing that allies can be found in the most unlikely of places.
In my eyes their are several reasons why i will watch an anime through and through -A. Well written story with no plot holes, B. Great Cast of characters that you really like and C. Great Director and Staff who have proven themselves before. This anime has all 3, but the biggest reason I believe this anime succeeds is the characters.
Juuzawa made this anime for me, I loved his character (then again i like delinquents and/or characters that don’t give a crap) FINALLY! I MEAN FINALLY! a character in a school setting anime that isn’t a pushover that does anything the girls tell him to do. Ochibana complemented Juuzawa perfectly, The reasoning for her attachment to him is a bit quaint but truth be told that doesn’t matter.
Im not gonna mention parts of the story because this is a 2 episode OVA, any mentioning of the story for an OVA this short feels like a spoiler. Director Kanbe, Mamoru did a great job with this one, the voice actors match all the characters spot on, and the dark yet upbeat feel of this anime makes for a great watch.
It’s a shame that an anime as good as this couldn’t get a full season considering the crap that Japan spews out. I would’ve given it a perfect 10 but considering how short the OVA is I can only give it a 9
Story – 7
As the title suggests, the story is about crazy girls. The protagonist, Juuzawa Juu, is a high school delinquent who gets involved in the strange happenings around him after being approached by a bizarre girl named Ochibana Ame. According to Ame, Juu was a king in his previous life and Ame, being his knight, swears her loyalty to him. Together, they attempt to find out the serial killer behind a spate of murders, which also claimed their friend’s life.
Overall, the story is pretty well-paced. There weren’t any moments which I found boring or rushed. I wouldn’t say the premise is very novel or creative, but the execution is good. A few twists in-between makes it more than a linear story. While it is not a really shocking development (in my opinion), it’s still a decent attempt nonetheless. Ame’s ability to correctly deduce the “criteria” of the killer did raise my eyebrow.
The second episode left a bigger impression on me than the first. After the murder case has been solved, the pair discovers a string of pranks that were happening around them. Ame, the super detective, again realizes that these pranks are more than meets the eye. The main topic in this episode is the way to obtain happiness. Does one obtain happiness by taking it away from others? This is not really a philosophical inquest but the events that follow leave you something to think about.
I like the fact that most loose ends are tied, though they never quite explain the reason behind Ame’s telepathic thoughts towards Juu. Is it really just a delusion or is it really their bonds from their previous lives as she claims? If they ever release more episodes, I hope more light can be shed on this.
Character – 8
I often grumble about the lack of meaningful development in the characters, especially for OVAs and movies due to their length. In Denpa, they did a reasonably good job in fleshing out the characters.
Juu is just your average punk who dyes his hair blond, gets into fights regularly, and acts like a bastard. He lives on his own and is bound by loneliness, as surmised by Ame. He seems to close himself off from other people, which is why he treats others rather badly and rejects the intrusion by Ame into his life violently. He does show a little sense of justice as he sets out to find the killer and slowly begin to accept Ame. A bit more emotional depth would have made him a better character though.
Ame is probably the most fascinating (and quirky) character here. She looks quite creepy most of the time with bangs covering her eyes completely. Her unwavering loyalty despite being rejected and suspected by Juu is truly remarkable. However, her dedication to her master makes her go beyond common sense. She’s like a bullet that charges straight towards her target without reservation, such as stalking Juu. To go to such great lengths based on a delusion makes her a “Denpa” girl without a doubt. Ame usually adopts a subservient attitude to Juu, but that’s not all to her. There are times where she sheds her bizarre self and behave like a normal girl. Whether she has a split personality remains a mystery to me. An unpredictable yet strangely interesting character.
I won’t comment too much about the supporting characters so as not to give out major spoilers. From girls who are sexually abused to people with twisted logic, there is no shortage of “Denpa” characters here. The character development is well-paced and the circumstances of the supporting characters are also properly explained. The characters are also realistic enough for you to empathize with them. Thumbs up for that.
Animation – 7
The animation is decent but I can’t say that I’m impressed. The backgrounds are generally well done and the subtle style provides a suitably gloomy and depressing atmosphere. The poster showing Ame holding an umbrella in the rain should give you a rough idea on what to expect. However, the designs of some characters (especially Juu) look a bit weird to me. Their motion and expressions lack a little fluidity to my liking. In some instances, the voices sound more agitated than the looks of the characters. I blame that on the art since the voice acting is pretty solid.
Sound – 8
First of all, I think the voice actors did a good job here as they are able to bring out the personalities of the characters really well. The background music is great as it complements the atmosphere perfectly. However, the instrumental pieces can get a little boring and are not really memorable.
Enjoyment – 9
Denpa is not a really ambitious attempt. Despite it being a thriller, I don’t find it intense or shocking enough. Perhaps my overexposure to this genre made my expectations a little too high. However, this doesn’t work against it as it doesn’t try to do too much. It doesn’t rely on the usual bloody, gory, or disturbing images. The characters are fairly realistic and not overblown maniacs. Denpa simply delivers what it sets out to do. Kudos to the overall direction.
Overall – 9
As you may have noticed, the scores I gave for each individual category are pretty modest even though I gave it an overall 9. While none of the story, characters, animation or art is particularly outstanding, they somehow seem to fit extremely well together in a neat package. This is probably a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I think this would be a good introductory piece for those who are fairly new to this genre. Denpa teki na Kanojo is definitely worth checking out.
I was right but so wrong and we had some of the best laughs yet.
Character motivations are ambiguous at best with our two protagonists putting themselves on the line in unrealistic and unreasonable circumstances. We get to know next to nothing about out generic yandere clingy female and ambitiousless male lead. We get to feel nothing for the charecters who are lost in the hopless edgyness of this anime.
Now, there is no problem with edginess. Elfen Lied, Higurashi or Shingeki do it well, but this is because they set up a convincing scenario where the gore is justifiable to the message. Denpa Teki makes it just seem so crass and immature. This is in part due to how one dimensional all the charecters are, but also due to how weak the stories are and convoluted the stories are.
Seriously, how can anyone not laugh at the end of OVA 1. it’s as if the writter came along and said “we aren’t quite being crazy enough so let’s just do a complete as pull in the name of gore”. Or how about the shear stupidity of the end of OVA 2. What about the constant spoon feeding?
I could honestly put these charecters and story on a Mars of Destruction Tier.
The only saving grace is the art which is well done, but overemphasizing on things which have no value to the plot such as the reacuring statue in OVA 1.
You guys wonder why it wasn’t a full anime… well it’s obvious to if you look hard enough.
1: Black Jack
English: Black Jack
Japanese: ブラック ジャック
MAL Score: 7.73
Kuroo Hazama, also known as “Black Jack,” is a legend in the medical world. Famous for being one of the best, as well as not having a license, Hazama and his assistant Pinoko save countless lives that other doctors cannot… for a price; an exorbitant price, in fact, which causes many to view the genius as greedy and heartless. Despite these claims, however, none can deny his skill and the lengths that he will go to treat his patients. This dark medical drama tells the story of the ominous and mysterious world of underground medicine as Black Jack risks his life to cure some of the most bizarre diseases imaginable, even if it means breaking every law in the process.
Black Jack is known as the surgeon with the hands of god as he can accomplish difficult feats in medical science. The appeal of this doctor is his lack of a license therefore asking for huge sums of money & often dealing with shady customers such as mafia & the like. While his motivations can be unclear at first, it all comes full circle once the operation proceeds. This character best represents Tezuka’s own beliefs & background as he did study for medical practice. Each episode is own tale ranging from medical epidemics, environmental issues, the consequences of war & the study of human emotions. Most tales are quite tragic questioning whether things were meant to be or could we learn from our past mistakes.
While the original manga was more humorous & kid friendly such as Black Jack Tv, this OVA places emphasis on a seinen tone where nothing is sugar coated to hide the dark truths of society. Tezuka has always believed that life & peace are sacred, & Black Jack is the closest to a representation of those beliefs. While the world can be gray, there’s always a shred of humanity that endures the struggle to eventually find solace on this Earth.
Episodes can be hit or miss (definitely ep 6 & 3 was a bit out of place for me) but pull through & you’ll see Tezuka’s skills as a writer. Also Black Jack Final(eps 11 &12) are 2 recently made episodes from 2011 being the lastly made Black Jack material thus far. If you enjoyed this series then I highly recommend the following:
Black Jack The Movie (1996)
Black Jack The Two Doctors of Darkness
Black Jack TV
Black Jack 21
The story follows Black Jack tackling many cases. Each episode follows a different case.
So, unlike the Black Jack TV show that came out in the 2000s, this “Black Jack” series is much darker. It is not family friendly.
For a 90s anime, the art is outstanding. It’s got that neo-noir kind of feel. They had a lot of OVAs that came out in the 90s, then they stopped for a bit, I believe. And they resumed in 2011, and they pretty much kept the same art style. I’m amazed that after all those years, they managed to keep the same art style and modernize it! So, the art is amazing and I really respect them for being able to keep the same art style while also modernizing it!
The series has four openings and four endings: Just Before Sunrise by Rhodes, Kioku no Kimi eby Another Moon, Moon Shadow by The Orange Vox, Rebirth by Kudo Eiko (openings); I’ll Be Back Again — Moonlight by Rhodes, Kono omoi tsutaerareru (I Thought I Could Convey This Feeling…) by Another Moon, Black Jack by The Orange Vox, HOPE — Not to be defeated, not to cry, and not to be daunted by Kudo Eiko (endings).
I really like how they changed up the openings and endings depending on the episode. The reason I gave it a 9 out of 10 is because I thought ending 1 wasn’t the greatest ending because it’s pretty much a rock song and all their openings are pretty much rock songs, and at the end of each case, it’s sad so I thought the best ending would be a mellow song and ending 1 wasn’t a mellow song. But overall, the soundtrack is just great.
So, if some people recall my review of the Black Jack TV show in the 2000s, I said that a bit of an issue was that the TV show didn’t really go in-depth on their patients. Well, in the OVA, this issue is fixed. Not only do they go in-depth on how Black Jack views his patients, but they also go in-depth on the patient’s past. We also see Black Jack interact more with his patients and grow a bit closer to them even. Also, Pinoco does not follow Black Jack in the OVA series, but in the appearances she made, they are good. I honestly prefer Black Jack alone rather than with Pinoco (Pinoco always follows Black Jack in the TV series).
I honestly couldn’t really find flaws with the OVA series. Everything is just good and the show keeps me intrigued and I feel some sense of sadness out of each case. I mean, this is a dark OVA, so it’s suppose to make you a bit sad at times. But, I overall really enjoyed this OVA series.
To me, this series is just perfect in so many ways. I really can’t find a flaw. So now people may ask, which one should I watch: The OVA series or the TV show? Honestly, watch both! They’re both really good, they just have a different tones. If you’re looking for something really dark and edgy, then watch the OVA series. If you’re looking for something fun, watch the TV series. But, honestly, I recommend both. To me, the OVA series was a bit better, but it honestly comes close ’cause I also really like the TV series. But, I really recommend both.
Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts on this review and any feedback you may have for me. Until next time!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Black Jack
2. Denpa-teki na Kanojo
3. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei
4. Imawa no Kuni no Alice (OVA)
5. Another: The Other – Inga
6. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak
8. Under the Dog
9. AD Police
10. Biohazard 4: Incubate
11. Ninja Ryuukenden
12. Tomoe ga Yuku!
13. Shuranosuke Zanmaken: Shikamamon no Otoko