They’re the best Anime that 1991 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Dark Cat, Yami no Shihosha Judge, Shin Choujin Densetsu Urotsukidouji Mataiden, and more!
9: Dark Cat
MAL Score: 3.30
Hyoi and Ryoi, two brothers with the power to take the form of cats, must unravel the mystery of a creeping, tentacled, demon plague before it consumes them and their classmates. Ultimately, they must confront their old Dark Cat master Jukokubo, though whether they can put an end to the evil he has released remains a mystery.
It is time again my friends to dive into the depths of obscurity and uncover an ancient evil that has long since been buried. Dark Cats UNITE!
Anime has gone through many trends over time and although I often complain about cheap cash ins and cliches that plague modern anime, it is important to remember that the grass wasn’t always greener back in the good old days! In fact, even the most incompetent anime in 2014-2015 generally don’t compare in terms of technical ineptitude to some of the OVAs from the late 80s and early 90s. Dark Cat is one of those legendarily bad titles. It was basically the Mars of Destruction of the early 1990s! After all, you don’t simply get a 4.48 MAL rating on accident. This is a site so generous with its ratings that even Valvrave the fucking Liberator has over a 7.5! What did Dark Cat do to deserve such a low rating? I’ll explain.
The story is that 2 brothers in high school have the awesome superpower to transform into cats. Do they transform into ferocious werecats or thundercat creatures? Nope, just regular house cats. Together the 2 brothers must fight against generic hentai tentacle demons…even though this isn’t actually a hentai. These action scenes typically involve the brothers chasing the demon in their cat forms, then transforming back into humans and fighting with light saber ripoffs. The author was inspired to give the characters cat powers after reading the fact that house cats can run at up to 30 miles per hour, which is slightly faster than the fastest human. The problem is that house cats can only sustain short bursts of speed and are actually VASTLY inferior to humans at distance running. If you were going to chase a demon for miles through the woods like they do in Dark Cat, it would actually be a greater advantage to just stay in your human form. This makes the cat transformation, which is the ENTIRE selling point of this fucking series, absolutely worthless! If this wasn’t bad enough, Dark Cat has one of the stupidest romances in the history of anime! The dialogue is absolutely terrible and no 2 characters have even an ounce of chemistry together.
The reason for the relative fame (infamy) of Dark Cat is actually not the horrendous plot and characters though, but rather the ludicrously bad voice acting. For some reason, I keep reviewing titles that have insanely bad voice acting, but Dark Cat might actually dethrone Cipher for the title of all time worst! Why is that an accomplishment? The “voice actors” in Cipher were people literally taken off the street and asked to read cheesy lines with zero context. Not a single voice in Cipher was a professional voice actor. The voice actors in Dark Cat actually ARE professionals…but they are all early 90s hentai actors that aren’t use to voicing regular anime. They know how to make sexual moans, but they have no concept of how to deliver actual dialogue. Generally, bad voice acting makes an anime laughably cheesy and “so bad its good”. However, the degree to which “badness” is enjoyable actually follows the mathematical graph for a concave function. It goes up to a certain point, then rapidly starts decreasing and keeps going down further and further. Dark Cat is WAY beyond the high point in the graph and deep in negative Y axis territory.
The art and animation as you probably suspected by this point, is completely atrocious. This was just a lazy effort all the way through!
MOST bad anime have at least one thing I can say positive about them. The art was decent, I laughed at one scene, at least it had tits and gore, etc. For example, MD Geist had a freaking kickass theme song! Kite made me laugh a couple times. Seikon no Qwasar had fairly decent jiggle animation for the bouncing tits. I find the opening to Steel Angel Kurumi to be amusing. If you look hard enough, there is almost always a small silver lining. There is NOTHING positive to say about Dark Cat. This is one of those rare anime that just FAILS in every single category across the board. The art is bad, the music is bad, the writing is bad, the premise is bad, everything about it is fucking terrible! If you ever manage to see a physical copy of this on VHS or DVD, fucking burn it!
i think the cat guys were strange and jukokubo was an aamzing villain. so good i literally wrote a german fanfiction for it yay
im so proud of the creators for embracing their inner desires to make this and i hope there will be more in the future
who else wants a sequel guys??? i sure do i could do with some more snazzy character development
the ending really made my eyes water it was very emotional (no spoilers though)
jk even bamboo blade was better than this
One of the other plots trying to force itself to the front is centered on a girl, Takako, who is in love with her childhood friend Hiroki, who does not share her feelings. This plot line is presented with about as much time as the previous plot, which makes it difficult to tell a complete story on either end, with the 60 minute time limit.
In the end, I decided the story deserved a five rating. The base idea was pretty good, but was not capitalized on. The story had a bad habit of jumping from one story and back to the next, but making no connections in the process. Other parts of the story made no sense, such as Hyoi needing healing by a tree in a forest. By the end, the story had more holes than Swiss cheese.
Animation: The animation fluctuated a little too much. In many parts, the animation was pretty poor, but in other spots, it was well done. The best animations were typically done with the few gory parts. Due to the large jump between poor and great animations, this was given a rating of 6, though the good animation scenes saved this from a lower score.
Sound: The voice acting was not bad, but it was not great by any stretch of the imagination. The voices for Hyoi, Ryoi, and Jukokubo were the better of the lot. The music was just a crazy dash of horrible 80’s teen music, with the occasional piano piece set in the most emotional parts. Other than the piano parts, the rest of the music was placed in bad spots and ruined some of the moments. The sound effects were not too bad either. They were used appropriately and moderately, not bogging the story with unnecessary sounds. The piano parts and the sound effects were really the saving graces of this anime’s sound, warranting a six rating.
Characters: There were too many characters with too much air time to develop any well enough. Between Hyoi, Ryoi, Takako, Hiroki, and Jukokubo, it is difficult to focus on anyone character enough. This is one of the weakest points of the story. The situation between Hiroki and Takako is explained a little bit in the end, with just enough to have a basic idea of what happened between them, but a background story on them and the others would have really helped develop a better idea of who these characters were and why the viewer should care about them. I felt a five was necessary, due to the lack of development of any of the characters to a better extent.
Overall: This anime had some really neat ideas abounding, but decided to lose itself among all the random happenings. If this OVA had been given a little more attention and made a little longer or given a second episode, the story could have been really interesting and worth the watch, but as it stands now, it is hardly worth a mention.
8: Yami no Shihosha Judge
MAL Score: 5.34
Hoichiro Ohma works in an office. Everybody knows him as a silent, humble man. Even his girlfriend, Nanase, doesn’t suspect that he could be something more, but he is. When a person dies as a victim of murder; when someone kills himself with a curse on his lips; when someone’s death needs to be judged, he is there, for he is a Judge Of Darkness. Following the Laws Of Darkness, with a book made of human skin and an unusual parrot, he pronounces judgement over living criminals that would otherwise go free.
The manga is from the 1980s and is written by the same dude who created the far superior Gallery Fake. That manga/anime about art forgery that you’ve probably heard of but haven’t seen because almost nobody has. The anime is a single episode, 40 minute OVA from 1991 that was animated by JC Staff. This was a few years before JC Staff graced the world with Garzey’s Wing. Also like Garzey’s Wing, Judge was one one of the bad titles forced on to Central Park Media because it bombed hard in Japan. Central Park didn’t have a lot of confidence in Judge and released it without fanfare into bargain bins across America, where it can still be picked up for usually around 1-3 dollars on a cheaply printed DVD.
So what is Judge about? This is an anime all about the legal bureaucracy of the afterlife. Time for some background information. In the Abrahamic faiths, there is only one God and He alone is in charge of judgement. It’s an open and shut case whether someone goes to heaven or hell, so there is no afterlife bureaucracy. The very concept is utterly absurd to someone brought up with Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. In traditional Chinese folklore, the afterlife or court of the Jade Emperor worked basically the same as the legal courts and government of Zhou Dynasty China. The next life is just a continuation of this one, so of course the gods settle their disputes the same way as the Chinese government. That means TONS of bureaucracy, confusing power structures, bribery, and red tape. Unsurprisingly, this Chinese view of the afterlife was heavily influential on their neighbor Japan. Shinto is a very loosely organized religion that doesn’t have 1 central book equivalent of the Bible or the Koran. As a result, it actually absorbed quite a bit from Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, and even Hinduism. Remember that giant red guy named Enma from Dragonball? You’ve probably seen him in other anime as well. He sits at a desk all day and judges souls. Enma is the Japanese translation of Yanluo Wang, which was China’s regional spin on the Hindu god Yama. They’re all the same dude.
Judge takes this very traditional, East Asian view of the afterlife and makes it even more ridiculous by making it function like modern, Western legal procedure. This is an anime with a shinigami called the “Service processor of darkness” who delivers legal papers and informs clients that they’ve been served. That should let you know what kind of fucking insanity you’re getting into.
The main character is some dweeb who looks like Otacon from the Metal Gear Solid games. He’s a meek salaryman who gets abused all day, but is secretly the “Judge of Darkness”. At least in the English dub. He’s actually not a judge at all, but rather the “Prosecuting Attorney of Darkness”. His job is to deliver divine punishment to evildoers who managed to escape the law of mortals. He reads them their crimes, then tortures and kills them in this life before dragging them to Hell. His first task is to kill this bastard who forced a secretary to embezzle tons of money from his corporation, then murdered her and staged her death as a suicide. We learn this because he delivers all this information in a melodramatic monologue to himself for no reason. All while driving his dastardly foreign car. Otacon puts on lipstick, gets a perm, does his nails, and transforms into the prosecutor of darkness! He kills the first dude by drowning him wrapped in an American flag to symbolize his greed. Awesome!
In the next case, Otacon has to go after his boss because the boss paid an assassin in South America to kill his business partner. I mean his day job boss, not his afterlife boss. This time though, the prosecutor of darkness is met by the defense attorney of darkness! Despite being the prosecutor of darkness for many years, he had no idea that a defense attorney of darkness existed and was quite surprised by this. The gods decided that the whole divine punishment thing was unfair and gave permission to a Catholic priest who sounds like Droopy Dog to be the defense attorney of evil. This guy knows that his clients are guilty and the prosecutor is only going after them because they escaped mortal justice, but he believes it’s his duty to help evildoers escape. You also know the defense attorney is the bad guy because he charges 500 million yen for his services while the prosecutor works pro-bono. This guy is a divine being who works directly for the gods like a shinigami, but charges heavily for his services! Why?! What does he even do with that money? I think Bennett the Sage in his review had the only logical conclusion: he blows it all at the strip club.
Here is where Judge becomes a masterpiece. The 2 spirit lawyers engage in a magical legal battle! They fire lasers at each other and summon demons all while screaming legal jargon, written by-laws, and obscure statutes. Imagine a Family Guy cutaway gag about Jewish Harry Potter. That is EXACTLY what this scene is! At this point, the boss gets served by the service processor of darkness and is summoned to appear before the 9 judges of the supreme court of darkness. I’m not going to completely spoil the ending, but what happens is just as stupid as the rest of the series. All while taking itself COMPLETELY seriously. Judge never has an ounce of self awareness throughout the entire runtime. It has no idea how stupid and insane it is!
Another highlight of Judge is the insanely terrible character art. These are some of the ugliest characters I’ve seen in anime. However, it’s quite different from your typical, ugly looking anime. The character art in Kaiji isn’t exactly pretty, but the style is very consistent. Every character looks like they belong in the same world. That is NOT the case with Judge. Some of the characters like the boss look they belong in an entirely separate anime. The boss is drawn to look like a Grey Alien, but he’s not. He’s just supposed to be a normal guy and nobody mentions that he looks completely different from everyone else!
I just skimmed through some of the bullshit and insanity of this anime, but I HIGHLY recommend watching the whole thing. It has to be seen to be believed. I would have probably given Judge a 1, but it made me laugh so hard that I gave it a 4. I made the mistake of visiting the MAL forums last night and met some Zoomer elitist who thought Fairy Tale was what a 1/10 anime looked like. This is exactly why more people need to watch anime like Judge. Only 1,000 people on all of MAL have seen this piece of shit and I want to change that!
The main character resembles Clark Kent. He is a nerdy and kind guy at work but when no one is looking he turns into a super hero whose goal is to bring justice upon vilains (by killing tchem ofc). We don’t get to know why is he that way, who exactly is he and what is his story. He definetly isn’t a “generic good guy” but unfortunately he isn’t memorable either.
When it comes to the art & music they are fairly ok for a 1991 anime. My only objection is that the music sometimes doesn’t match the scenes.
And finally the most important aspect: “Why is YSJ not good as a horror?”.
#1 There were only 3 scary scenes in the entire movie. It definetly is not enough for a horror that lasts 48 minutes.
#2 All of these scenes were really unrealistic. Maybe it’s only me but i don’t find magical books, weird deformed ghosts and birds which can cut you scary.
#3 The ending didn’t leave me with any tention. When the story came to an end i felt as if nothing has happened. I think that if it was longer it might have been much better but it all happened to fast.
To conclude i don’t recommend you YSJ unless you are an otaku hipster and want to show off your anime knowledge.
7: Shin Choujin Densetsu Urotsukidouji Mataiden
Japanese: 真 超神伝説 うろつき童子 魔胎伝
MAL Score: 5.68
Nazi Germany, 1944: As American bombers soar towards Berlin, a revolting Satanic rite takes place below—Hitler and his minions are using the monstrous Nazi Death Rape Machine to render the dimensional boundaries separating the Human World from the World of Man-Beasts and the World of Monster Demons. Dr. Munhihausen Sr.’s life work is about to come to fruition—the conjuring of the Overfiend!
Cut to modern day Tokyo—Munhihausen Jr. searches for a monster with strength enough to conquer the omnipotent Overfiend. Since legend says that he who kills the Overfiend will rule all three worlds forever; Munhihausen is determined to slay the Overfiend and assume complete control over all three dimensions. His efforts seem fruitless—until Nagumo’s cousin Takeaki, infused with Nagumo’s blood after an accident, begins to develop monstrous powers.
As man-beast Amano Jyaku and his sister Megumi, together with faithful accomplice Kuroko attempt to thwart Munhihausen’s evil plan, nothing seems likely to prevent Munhihausen, descendant of a race of brutal tyrants, from enslaving the world under his despicable rule!
6: Shuten Douji
English: Shuten Doji – The Star Hand Kid
MAL Score: 5.74
As a baby Jiro was delivered to his foster parents by a massive oni, who said he would return for Jiro in 15 years. When the time comes Jiro must contend with enemy oni, dark cultists, and their minions while attempting to protect both his parents and girlfriend from their depredations. Ultimately he must embark on a journey through the past, future, and other dimensions to embrace his destiny as Shuten Doji reborn.
The 3rd episode is mostly an action horror and does a great job at it with the intimidating villain that cuts his way through everyone in his path.
Very sad well thought out ending. If I were to keep a list of the best endings in anime this would be on it. I have a weakness for parent child stories and the ending hits that weakness very hard.
The actual storyline is pretty sweet, and does actually make sense eventually, and completely fullfills all the supernaturalness it promises.
The amount of blood and guts is satisfactory, and mixes nicely with the amount of ‘love’ (both maternal, friend and sexual).
Overall i’d say it’s worth a casual watch, if only for the sake of having seen yet another anime where the main charecter is a supernatural being that get’s blonde hair when they power up… not that it’s common or anything *wink wink*
Shuten-dōji is a myth from the Heian era, as indeed the anime explains, but whereas in history this was perceived as an oni, in this series they are not as much, or perhaps what it tries to do is present a spectrum of this perception of fear. It tries to answer, as so many tales have done that mostly use the analogous concept of ‘demons’, but mainly asks “why is this felt so, or even, how is it conceived?”
Oni in this sense (could be generally when the creatures are a topic, but in this anime it seems to be indicated) is a psychological state that mainly represents negative emotions – whereas kitsune could be symbolic of deceit, or tanuki playfulness, oni are the darkest depths of the psyche.
It is abstractly conflict, but also internal turmoil, and as such hue can vary based on association. Oni can also be an idol for what a subconsciousness could constitute. Like architecture built out of human desires, but based on nature. What if oni are not outlandish creatures defined by what isn’t the norm? Read books and partook in contradictory habits? Could a cyborg be one? How about a distant attachment?
It can be also counterintuitive though, e.g. what is the likelihood that a hellish oni decides to protect the most vulnerable? To do not what its id – most base desires – strive for? This is hell visually, as any superficial inspection may show, but also not objectively, as is it hell if it is but a percept?
The id in this anime is very much in the picture, and it is in this way Freudian, with oni symbolic of Thanatos, the desire for death and destruction, and eros being simply what Nagai peppers the surroundings with.
It was interesting how the past was conjoined with the future, and even fables given rationalizations that, contextually, seemed plausible. How historical figures happened to encounter oni, and throughout they came in different sizes, including miniatures, seemingly to indicate the level of familiarity, with a curious origin.
Concepts, including sci-fi tropes, were introduced at a rate which assumed an intuitive understanding, but often animation is used to just show, and not tell, although in some instances it wasn’t that subtle, e.g. when the adjective ‘evil’ was used, as otherwise most oni and humans seemed to be somewhere in between, not absolutes.
This is horror only insomuch as one fears what may lurk in the shadows; oni use violence, but only because it at times appears to be what is expected of them as creatures of the dark, just as humans in gangs resort to plumb the depths of animosity – even when free will is not an issue (excluding peer pressure).
It showcases a battle, as most tales do, between light and darkness – which is what Ankoku means, from the name of the temple of the group after the protagonist, but in reality nothing is clear until the last moment, and even then the ‘light’ does not seem to believe the elucidation, per se. As such, one might end up seeing both sides of this divide to be as ‘in the dark’ as each other.
Everything might not be seen as perfectly proportional in this anime; the introduction of characters that have little screen time or purpose is a problem in mostly one episode, but even if most other incidents seem to happen randomly, they still have something meaningful, whether it is to highlight the differences between oni and those more familiar, or even historical mindsets.
This, like Teito Monogatari, mixes a slight bit of history (in SD mythology is more prominent) along fiction that is built on top of it, and like Onikirimaru it inserts interpersonal drama that juxtaposes the existence of oni along others’ lives, although they are more verbal than the ones in the latter series, and at a couple of junctures they even display sadness which oni aren’t typically associated with. The situation with which Yasaburou in Uchouten Kazoku contends with for just one episode is vaguely similar, as oni are similarly depicted in a different dimension, unlike kitsune or tanuki who can live in a plain world, oni seem to be inherently too big and scary, and this is where Shuten tries to approach this from, the points of view of a spectrum of oni.
It also seems to have cycles for some different things, e.g. in two instances both humans and oni roll over a hill, and the detaching of an arm seems to be a recurring incident, which is likely a reference to the original Watanabe no Tsuna legend.
In the end, this anime turns out to have a narrative that, despite being seemingly interested in superficial happenstances that have no other bearing on the story itself (besides fulfilling instinctual desires, as mentioned previously), is all-encompassing and more subtle than not (beyond the conflicts there is psychology), and attempts to be as existential as possible.
While it could have conveyed a similar approach using less violence, oni at times seem to be inevitably tied to the concept of conflict; this series, though, did at least attempt to convey a variety of coherence that most anime do not usually paint oni with. As such, it managed to have a more whole picture of the creatures than others like Onikirimaru had four years later, but if it spanned even longer perhaps the Hell Screen could be even more complete?
English: Spirit Warrior
MAL Score: 5.89
A young mystic without a past, Kujaku was born under a dark omen possessed of incredible supernatural powers. Raised by priests, he has learned to use these powers for good. But the evil Siegfried von Mittgard seeks to steal his birthright, and rule the world as the Regent of Darkness. He has dispatched bloodthirsty minions to destroy Kujaku before he can awaken to his destiny. Now, Kujaku must unravel the riddle of his past, before the power within consumes him!
The first story isn’t very intriguing and is actually more of an opening to the characters, but that isn’t a justification as that’d be an unnecessarily long introduction – the first ova just has a bland story. The second ova also has a cliche run-of-the-mill story for the Akira 80’s, but it isn’t quite bland since it carries all of that Akira gore. The second ova is definitely the most action-heavy of the three. The third ova is the most story-focused and carries the most impressive animation in a reserved and well-proportioned sense. The third ova definitely doesn’t have as wild and wacky of action, but there are no scenes that you might wince at, it’s continuously of good quality. The directing is also more-or-less good throughout all there, but the third ova really was striking in its presentation which led me to believe there were different directors working on these, but MAL seems to disagree – only linking to Rintaro (who is a great director still). Beyond directing, the characters aren’t that great and are at times solely tolerable. There is a macho guy throughout who is constantly portrayed as a bro-mance tsundere to the main character, risking his butt to help the MC then turning to the side to say “it wasn’t for you, you know?” Get’s old, but thankfully the third ova seemed to care very little for the characters and more for the story and the villain. The villains of the first two ovas aren’t interesting in the least and are typical world-conquering powerhouses, while the third is actually quite a bit more unique and detailed. Even though the third is a better and more interesting character though, her story isn’t that exciting still and her ranting about it dragged on too long for my tastes. I got to say though that the soundtrack for these ovas are effective and I found myself ripping a lot of the end-credits songs to listen later. The soundtracks are all 80’s electronic in some fashion, but they sound different enough that you can also reinforce that feeling that these ovas are all made separately as different beasts. I’d love to download the soundtracks for these.
I’d say all three of these movies are worth the watch, but if you don’t feel like watching them all I can be more refined in my recommendations.
* If you love 80’s animation, it’s gore, and it’s wackiness, watch the second ova.
* If you love something that’s well-directed and good cinema, watch the third ova.
* If you just want a little dark-grittiness with simplicity and action as-well (basically somewhere in-between what the other two ova’s offer) watch the first ova.
In my opinion, I’d say I enjoyed the 2nd and 3rd the most. Overall, the Spirit Warrior trilogy is some good 80’s fun, but don’t expect to be uncovering a diamond among these.
P.S. I also thought I’d mention the other film of this franchise “Spirit Warrior – Peacock King”. It’s worse than any of these three short ovas. Peacock King is basically an extended cliche world-dominating villain story with a lackluster ending attempting to make these dull characters part of an epic story-line. I’d skip that one and just watch these, but feel free to satisfy your curiosity. It does, at the least, have two great end-credits songs I ripped to my music library.
4: Teito Monogatari
English: Doomed Megalopolis
MAL Score: 5.96
When an evil sorcerer bent on crushing the “greatest city on earth” uses dark powers to awaken the destructive spirit of Tokyo’s historic “guardian,” Taira no Masakado, occultists, children, and scientists become embroiled in a ruinous struggle spanning two decades.
I’ve seen much worse. Much, much worse. This was reasonably solid and had a fair mix of good and bad points. At 3 hours it’s probably a little longer than necessary, and the transitions between leaps in time are a little awkward. Although some cheese is present, it never gets ridiculous enough to where you can’t take it seriously. In fact, part of the reason I kept watching was because despite being fairly silly at times, it still presented itself in a manner that at least made an effort to tell a real story.
Not the most original of stories, naturally, but few seldom are. I always say it’s more important how you tell a story than the particular story itself. A good writer can make even mundane everyday situations interesting. So to that effect, I’d say Doomed Megalopolis brings just enough intrigue with the introduction of plot elements, the development and progression of events, and the characters involved. There were a lot of confusing plot moments, like the ending, where something may get resolved, but you are left wondering, "So what was the point of all that?"
The chars are somewhat interesting, at least there was a respectable balance between realistic and symbolic ones. Not sure any of them are really developed well enough to be particularly memorable, or at least, the more memorable ones are probably the least likable ones…
The art was fine. Typical of its time. Nothing really stood out to me as bad or ugly, however, there was more nudity than really needed. (To make whatever point one tries to make by including nudity that is…) Also, the main villain really looks A LOT like Bison from Street Fighter :p
Mind you, the only version I have is the dubbed. This was probably my biggest problem with this DVD. I had my volume maxed at 100 just to be able to barely make out what the hell they were saying.
The base is there. I mean, it’s based off a novel, so it’s quite literally there. However, it feels incomplete, since it technically is- it’s based specifically on the first four books of the novel (which is around 1/3rd of it). It’s a darker (AKA more violent and sexualized) adaptation of the source material, which I’m okay with, but I can see that driving away potential viewers. The nudity is almost, if not always, unnecessary. Even if you don’t mind the darker aspects of it, you’ll most likely find that the story feels unfocused and even rushed at times. There’s lots of confusing plot elements, which can be explained with the knowledge that this isn’t actually the full story, but that doesn’t help anyone who’s unfamiliar with the novel viewing this for the first time.
Pretty standard for the time. Nothing really stood out to me, be it in a good or bad way. I personally really like this type of old anime styles that are a bit more on the realistic side, but that’s personal preference. Again, too much unnecessary nudity, that’s really my only complaint with it. Some of the animation was pretty good, too.
I watched the original japanese version, and there was an instance where I couldn’t hear what was being said (or sung, in this case)- I thought something was up with either the video or my headphones, but nope. The sound was just meant to be really, really quiet. Other than that, it sounded okay for the most part, keeping in mind that this is an old anime, of course.
None of the characters are fleshed out properly. This is a huge shame, especially with the main antagonist, Katou, and Yukari, another main character. These two are the focal points of the story, but just about nothing gets revealed about their past. The lack of development is a shame, especially in the case of Katou- we get to know he wants Tokyo to be destroyed, but not why, and that left me wanting more.
I know I’ve been complaining for about the entirety of this review, but I actually really enjoyed myself watching this OVA. In fact, there wasn’t really a point where I was bored viewing it. It’s just a shame that when analyzing it further I couldn’t get more than what I saw.
It’s not awful. In fact, I would recommend it to people who are into weird and/or old anime that doesn’t get talked about much. But if you haven’t watched it, don’t set yourself up to be disappointed- it’s fun and short, but it’s nothing spectacular. I can see that there was effort put into it, but it could’ve been better. And hey, it actually left me wanting to read the original story, so I guess there’s that too.
3: 3×3 Eyes
English: 3×3 Eyes
MAL Score: 6.75
3X3 Eyes is the story of a young man named Yakumo Fuuji, who through a strange series of events becomes the immortal slave of the last of a race of 3 Eyed demons. The demon absorbs his soul to save his life, making him immortal in the process. Now, he begins a journey with the female demon in an attempt to find a way of becoming human. Of course, there are many complications along the way, not the least of which being that the demon is a female with a split personality, one achingly cute and the other being no-nonsense destructive power, and the romances that develop between.
3×3 Eyes is a series most older anime fans have heard of, but relatively few have actually seen. The manga is a 40 volume epic that ran from 1987 to 2002. In the United States, Dark Horse adapted the first few volumes of the manga thanks to some generous financing by rock musician Rob Zombie. Thanks Rob! Unfortunately, nobody bought it and Dark Horse soon cancelled. Basically, this was never a very popular franchise in America despite the best efforts of a certain Hellbilly. On the other hand, 3×3 Eyes was a huge hit in Japan and I guarantee you’ve all seen tropes that this series started.
I mentioned the manga was 40 volumes, but guess how long the anime is? Just 7 episodes! The first OVA is 4 episodes and the second is 3 episodes! Both OVA series were made long before the manga finished, so the anime just kind of ends with no real conclusion. It also has a VERY rushed feeling. It doesn’t have any time to really build up its characters or explain the little details. In the first episode, the demon girl Pai runs into a drag bar and meets our main character. He claims he’s not a transvestite and only does this for money, but nothing further is explained. How the HELL did he stumble upon this job of all things? Why is he so desperate for money? The manga has time to explain stuff like this, but the anime just wants to cover as much plot as it possibly can. You’ll have a million questions and the answer is always “Go read the manga”.
Plot and characters
Deep in the mountains of Tibet, there was once a powerful race of demons. These demons were immortal and immortality tends to lead to eventual insanity and endless suffering. So, the demons created a magical statue that turned them human and gave them the gift of mortality. Unfortunately, one of the demons wasn’t present for the ceremony and has spent 100 years searching for the statue and trying to become human. This last member of the 3 eyed, Tibetan demons is a girl named Pai. A Japanese archeologist discovers Pai and promises to help her, but soon contracts a fatal illness. On his death bed, he sends Pai to find his son Yakumo in Tokyo, so that Yakumo can carry out the promise in his stead. Too bad for Pai, other species of demons desire her powers and pursue her relentlessly. One of these demons quickly kills Yakumo, but Pai absorbs his soul and saves his life by making him an immortal undead. Now he’s bound to Pai as her immortal servant and together they need to search for the statue, which could potentially turn both Pai and Yakumo back into mortals.
While only 9,000 people on MAL have seen 3×3, around 250,000 have seen “Is This a Zombie”. That series was basically created as a spoof of this one. A magical girl turns a hapless guy into her immortal undead servant. Remember Highschool DxD? That was ALSO created as a complete ripoff/spoof of 3×3. Familiar of Zero? Also wouldn’t exist without 3×3.
However, 3×3 wasn’t just a huge influence on a sub-genre of echii. Pai’s immortality caused her to lose her sanity and develop an extra personality she talks to. Whenever Pai is in danger, she switches between her sweet and innocent persona to her bad bitch persona. Both Chobits and Elfen Lied were originally created as tributes to 3×3 Eyes. While almost nobody outside Japan has seen this series, almost ALL anime fans have seen something it directly inspired.
The art is actually some solid work by Toei, which is something I rarely get to say. This was a 1991 OVA and Japan still had plenty of money for generous animation budgets back then. 3×3 effectively uses a dark color palette to create a moody and gothic atmosphere. The character designs are pretty neat, although it’s kind of weird to watch an anime where everyone has teeth. Every time somebody opens their mouths, they have teeth and prominent incisors. It’s shocking for me to not just see an upside down red triangle that flaps open and shut.
It’s a Kaoru Wada soundtrack. Have you seen Inuyasha? Have you seen Ninja Scroll? You’ve basically heard this soundtrack.
While far from a perfect adaptation, 3×3 is a pretty decent OVA and is fascinating for fans of anime history. Before watching this series, I had no idea how incredibly influential it was on other anime! Since this is only 7 episodes, I highly recommend giving it a try!
3×3 eyes is about Yakumo, a sixteen year old student, who is working in a gay bar, as a cross-dresser in order to make ends meet. He meets Pai, an immortal, who has been sent by his estranged and now dead father from Tibet to help her become human. To really make sure he follows through with this, Yakumo is turned immortal himself and the only way to turn back is by helping Pai. This is the first episode and the basic premises of the plot has been set, you are already pulled into the supernatural world of monsters, immortals and magic with Yakumo. Usually something like this would come off a bit unnatural due to the fast pace of the story and all the elements being introduced so quickly, but somehow it works, especially when you watch all the OVA. The four episodes gives you a good idea of what type of story of 3×3 eyes is and also leaves you on a bit of a cliffhanger at the end just to leave those who haven’t read the series to want more.
I thought what was quite well done is after their little adventure in the first episode was how Yakumo still found the whole thing quite unsettling, since he couldn’t just get up and leave his whole way life like that. It is realistic for anyone in his position, as it isn’t the easiest thing to go off and leave your friends and your whole way of life to go off on an adventure with someone to become human. Most series of this kind have the protagonists suffer this kind of dilemma, but they related it very well to a major point of the series: what’s so great about being mortal, or better said what’s so great about being human? They tie this in quite nicely.
The art is quite nice and has certainly stood against time and each character is realistic looking, Yakumo actually looks like a Japanese boy. How many times do you get a Japanese boy actually looking like, well, a Japanese boy in anime? Yakumo’s eyes is a good example of this, they are mostly closed since they are supposed to be slit eyes, you know the eyes Japanese actually do have. The animators uses the art also to show the split personalities Pai has, by making her have more gentle features to represent her cheerful and child-like personality. The second personality is not only distinguished by the opening of her 3rd eye, but also alter her whole face expression to represent her arrogant and cold personality.
I’ll give a special mention to the background of Hong Kong, I loved it! The grittiness of the markets in the final episode is tastefully done.
There is very little to say about the sound, nothing too out of order. A bit dated, but typical of its time, 90s background music with synths thrown in for good measure. It suits the mood of the anime, as it’s quite dark, especially the main theme.
Our two protagonists are both interesting characters, who don’t fall into the trap of cliché anime characters. Yakumo is a good-hearted sixteen-year-old, who means well. It was nice to find an anime character, who I thought I could actually be friends with. He is just very likable. (Seriously people, most of characters in anime do you think you could actually handle them for more than 10 minutes in real life?) Pretty much by the end of the series, most of his body has been broken in some kind of way, good thing he’s immortal, isn’t it? So you’d want to like him.
Now, Pai really is up there with one of the most original characters in anime, a schizophrenic girl: one personality is sweet and innocent, the other is stoic and ruthless. Both have their merits and neither of them irritate you, even the colder persona grows on you, unlike another schizophrenic in another series I could mention! Her multi-personality is also reference to the Hindu deity of Parvati, since firstly that’s the name of her second personality, who was known to have several personalities. This was another favourable aspect of the series since they used some culture background to help create characters and certain plot devices, but neither wholly relied on it that you suddenly needed to start picking up textbooks or wikipedia -(ing) on the Hindu religion.
The other characters each proved their worth and were all likable. I had a little soft spot for Lee Ling Ling, deputy editor for an occult magazine, but doesn’t believe in the occult and just uses it as a vice to make money. And she can really kick ass!
So why did I give it 8 instead of something higher, well, the problem was 3×3 eyes isn’t my cup of tea. So why all these positives you may ask? It did everything well and everything I’ve stated here is the truth, but you see it still does not make me want to go off and read the manga. 3X3 eyes is quite a classic and is something every enthusiast of anime and manga should read or watch at some point, as it’s the first to use this storyline and do it better than most. I did want to know some more at the end of the series, since the audience is left on a cliffhanger and I’ll definitely go and watch the second set of OVA, but I’ll spare myself the manga. This is simply something to do with my taste of anime and manga rather than with the series. I would recommend a watch (it’s only 4 episodes long) and see how you fair this!
The 3×3 eyes OVA gives us a good idea about what to expect from the manga and the producers use the 4 episodes to introduce the series quite well without trying to outdo itself. It does what it set out to do and you couldn’t ask for anymore than that!
The contents of “3×3 Eyes” reminds me slightly of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, as it involves a couple of people going around killing weird monsters, but it’s more bloody than Buffy. The action scenes are pretty awesome, but the storyline’s pretty thin: they slay monsters in order to obtain this statue of humanity thing. And then in the next episode, the statue gets lost again so they end up having to do it all over. Yeah… not exactly the most intricate of plots. Just to top it up, it had a pretty crappy ending too. I didn’t really like the humour contained in the anime either. The anime’s saving grace lies in its central pair of characters – they were very likeable and it was interesting watching their relationship grow.
That pretty much sums it up I think – there’s really not much more that can be said about an action heavy OVA that only has 4 episodes. 😛
2: Ningyo no Mori
MAL Score: 6.77
It is said that consuming the flesh of a mermaid confers immortality. This certainly proved to be the case for the 500-year-old Yuta and his friend Mana. However, most people who try to become immortal either die or transform into monsters.
Fifty-five years ago, Towa Kannagi was given mermaid blood by her sister, Sawa, in order to cure a fatal illness. Now, Towa maintains her youthful appearance, save her white hair and beastly arm. For years she has dreamed of restoring her body, resorting to blood transfusions from youthful corpses aided by the local doctor, Shiina.
Mana, mistaken for dead by Shiina, is brought in to have her blood used by Towa. When she discovers that Mana is alive, what lengths will Towa go to in order to restore herself? Will Yuta be able to save Mana in time?
The animation looked pleased for its time, tight handdrawn technique without too much pencil overshadowing and a more mature look to the charachters.
In 1991 there where still lloads of animation studio’s that used cheaper recording/sound tapes and still drew anime like it was 1987, though sometimes VHS also could downplay the production but that was normal the time, still this looked like and uncut , raw amethyst in its respect and good transfer of the pale colours used in the first 10 min or so , to the good indeep colourfull animation.
I din’t really had put my attention to the music, though it had some good musictones at action packed or violent scene’s , no its not like I LOOOOOOVE 1991 HOUSEMUSIC this is a horroranime for godsake ( not like there was any dancemusic in the anime or something) but if youre ol enough you can maybe recognise some old horror elements
Some of the Charachters where interesting , and that story goes back 80 years before 1991, in 1936, it all began as the ova describe’s and basiclly most of the charachters involve themself in the legend of eating mermaid flesh in an attempt to be immortal , even unwanted persona got heavenly tempted by it , thoughout the ova u see the struggles of the familly and the unfaitfull but strongminded Mana and Yuta, to see it all to a bitter end, or at least hoping for the least negative outcome, and others just where not strong enough to eat the mermaids flesh and dies right the next second you choose ur pick.
for me i mostly enjoyed the plot wich u think can go into a general scripted direction, but takes u by suprise and the way how some of the charachters respond to it, and its not the best horror anime i’ve seen but certainly entertaning enough to keep u going, just something different instead of a lot one way directed digitalized anime these days, i choose my oldskool ova,s any fucking day! enjoy !!!
Except this is one of her more flawed efforts – it has its good points, and yet there I have some issues. First of all, the artwork and animation are pretty par for the course – every Takahashi character looks the same, and the animation is decent enough. Where this story succeeds the most is in evoking a mood or feeling, she seems to have a good handle on what makes Japanese horror interesting.
However, it feels like you are dropped into the middle of a much broader story, and in fact that’s the case as Yuta has already been around for a few hundred years by the time it gets going (and there is also a flashback to much earlier to help explain things, too). But I never seemed to get a good “feel” for the character, or his motivations (or lack thereof) – it seems like he was just going through the motions. Which, I guess, would make sense for a reluctant immortal – but even so, it’s not exactly enjoyable to watch. And I could never understand Mana; the two sisters were not relatable in any way, it seems the only sympathetic character was the long-suffering doctor.
I read the Mermaid stories in manga format a couple decades past, and I recall them making a more coherent story in that format. But this anime feels like just a snippet of a larger tapestry, and there’s not enough here to fully grasp the overarching story.
1: Kyoushoku Soukou Guyver II
English: The Guyver: Bio-Booster Armor
Japanese: 強殖装甲ガイバー II
MAL Score: 7.02
Sho and his friend Tetsurou stumble upon an odd alien artifact while walking through the woods. Then, the alien artifact breaks free of its metallic bonds and enters Sho’s body, turning him into the Guyver. With this new power, Sho must do battle with the evil Chronos corporation and their genetically enhanced Zoanoids, who seek to get the Guyver back into their labs. No one close to Sho is safe from Chronos. He must fight.
Ultra Violence, Gore, Mecha-ish body suit(not huge ass robot), Fantasy/Monsters-Alien things, and superish kind of power(the suit). What more do you want? It would be considered cheesy and cliche these days, but back in the day, this was the shit. If you liked Ninja Scroll, Wicked City, Fist of the North Star, Akira, Urotsukidōji etc, then i’m pretty sure you would like this too. I don’t remember any nudity or sex scenes though.
I watched this years ago, so i’m rating everything based on current day expectations. However, i’m rating the enjoyment factor on what i remember. It was great then, and i’m guessing it’s still great now since i don’t mind watching older ‘b-grade’ stuff, and i really like my R rated manga.
The first four episodes are lackluster in almost all areas, most notably to me would be the bad and inconsistent animation. The battle scenes are poorly done; many battles are flashes followed up by falling limbs, blood spurts, or lengthy stills. Even some of the more gory scenes are weakly done. The artwork is also poor even by late 80’s standards with some generic character designs, which are total eyesores concerning the biological monsters called Zoinoids.
The series definitely shows its age in the visual department. Many fans believe it’s wrong to knock the series for its dated visuals but I choose to believe otherwise, especially when comparing the series to other 80’s anime such as Neo Tokyo or even the original Bubblegum Crisis, which both pre-date the Guyver by the way, and still manages to hold up to some degree. It’s also no real surprise to me that some of the fans never even heard of the former.
The basic premise is the main character Sho battling the biological beasts sent by Chronos. There are obstacles thrown in Sho’s way, and the plot is fairly simple but I won’t say it’s predictable. At times, the story becomes tedious because the characters are pretty bland and a majority of the new supporting characters are disposable.
The story makes attempts towards depth by revealing a character with a hidden motive, which questions his allegiance, sincerity, and traces back to the first volume. There is also talk of greater beings with immense power; but none of these things really come to fruition, because the series ends leaving it wide opened with plenty of loose ends left untied.
The final two episodes are by far the best. One provides plenty of background which can actually be thought provoking, especially to those whom have some belief of man’s origin supposedly being linked to extra-terrestrials. The action scenes are also the best here with some well animated and brutal action; but don’t expect them to be on the same level as the first volume. These battles can’t compare with the feuds that took place with the agile behemoth Enzyme, or the highly equipped and combat ready Hyper Zoinoid Team Five.
The artwork is also a big step up in the final two episodes with a very clean and well detailed polish. The soundtrack replays many songs from the first volume; a couple are new and the songs does manage to fit with what is taking place on the screen. The English dub to the show is horrible to say the least. The Japanese seiyuu really isn’t too much better either. At least the opening and ending songs are much, much better, and aren’t lifeless as opposed to the English tracks.
The Japanese sub also contains the uncut version of episode 12. I don’t find it to be much of a big deal, simply because the only difference is the fan service via full female nudity. However, you would be surprised as to how many fans actually complained about this being removed.
Guyver is a series that can only be valuable to the most die hard anime fans and lovers of really old anime titles. I recommend it to them and the curious. If you don’t fall into those categories then I recommend skipping it. I would instead recommend the 2005 remake. Although the remake contains an opened ending as well, there are still many areas where it out does its predecessor by leaps and bounds; but there are still better anime series out there to choose from with actual endings.
Lows: Very crude artwork, with some bad and reused animation at times, opened ending
First of all,it was the first anime i’ve ever seen! I remembered was 6 years old, my father took me from a kinder gurden,we went to a video\audio technics shop,there on screens was the Guyver…wow,it impressed me,i was so excited…My father noticed my interes,so it wasn’t a problem,he bought it
So many years passed but I still love it.
+Breathtaking plot,the story won’t let you get out of a screen!
+great animation (those monsters are so cool,how was I not afraid of them when i was a kid O,o), a lot of blood,meat 😀
+Characters’ temper and their nature are showed well!
So,I’m reading the Guyver manga at the moment,and so bad there are only 12 series 🙁
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kyoushoku Soukou Guyver II
2. Ningyo no Mori
3. 3×3 Eyes
4. Teito Monogatari
6. Shuten Douji
7. Shin Choujin Densetsu Urotsukidouji Mataiden
8. Yami no Shihosha Judge
9. Dark Cat