Spirit Warrior

July 1, 2018 at 10:17 pm (3 Heads, Spirit Warrior) (, , , , , , )

Spirit Warrior – 1988 – Japan

Spirit Warrior (a.k.a. Peacock King) is a series of five episodic anime movies. This review covers Spirit Warrior: Revival of Evil and Spirit Warrior: Regent of Darkness since these two episodes form a single story arc.

In an alternate modern day reality, the Nazis have risen again and possibly taken over America. Lead by Fuhrer Siegfried, they fly around the world in their zeppelin (the Hindenberg) in pursuit of an artifact called the Dragon Orb. This orb, which is actually a skull, can apparently “engulf the world in darkness”. Kujaku, a Buddhist exorcist, joins forces with some Tibetan monks to stop the Nazis. Kujaku and his allies travel between Japan, America, Germany, and Tibet. Along the way, Kujaku discovers he is the reincarnation of the “god of light”, and his long lost twin sister is the goddess of darkness. The story ends with Kujaku and his sister in a spiritual battle for the fate of the world. After reconciling their differences, they both die.

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Venus Wars

June 2, 2018 at 3:35 pm (7 Heads, Venus Wars) (, , , , , )

Venus Wars – 1989 – Japan

A hundred years in the future, Venus is colonized by humans. The planet has been terraformed and has a breathable atmosphere, but it’s still a craggy wasteland wracked by acid rainstorms. The colonists live in rundown cities where they eke out a living in Venus’s faltering industrial economy. A young named Hiro and his gang of friends are professional rollerbikers. Rollerbiking is a dangerous, destructive sport resembling roller derby on single-wheeled motorcycles. When Hiro’s home city of Io is invaded by the neighboring country of Ishtar, Hiro and his gang become partisan guerrillas. They are joined by a spunky Earth journalist named Susan Sommers (who resembles the real Suzanne Sommers). They get recruited into a more organized rebel army, but their punk attitudes clash with the military leadership. Nonetheless, Hiro and his gang ride their motorized unicycles to war and destroy the Ishtar army.

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Dragon Half

May 7, 2018 at 12:20 am (5 Heads, Dragon Half) (, , , , )

Dragon Half – 1993 – Japan

Mink is a half-dragon, half-human teenager in a sword and sorcery fantasy world. She is obsessed with a celebrity dragon slayer named Dick Saucer (who “sings like an angel and fights like a devil”), and goes on a quest to see him. She is joined by a teenage elf and a little girl with a killer mouse. Along the way, she is harassed by an evil king and his half-slime, half-human teenage daughter.

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Marebito

May 7, 2018 at 12:07 am (7 Heads, Marebito) (, , , , )

Marebito – 2004 – Japan

Masuoka is a freelance news cameraman in Tokyo. He records a man stabbing his own eye out in a subway station, and obsessively watches the video. Masuoka believes the stabber is being tormented by a supernatural entity. In search of this being, he explores the complex of subway tunnels and crawlspaces beneath Tokyo. As he descends deeper, Masuoka discovers a cavern full of ancient stone ruins inhabited by a feral teenage girl. He takes her back to his apartment and names her F.

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Tokyo Tribe

September 25, 2017 at 12:15 am (10 Heads, Tokyo Tribe) (, , , , , , )

Tokyo Tribe – 2014 – Japan

In the decaying ghettos of Tokyo, flamboyant gangbangers sell drugs, run brothels, kill each other, and rap. The police are powerless and corrupt, and anarchy reigns. The strongest gang is Wu-Ronz, lead by the sadistic Yakuza boss Big Buppa. He sexually abuses, kills, and eats high school girls, and might worship Satan. He carries around a giant glass dildo. One of his sons is a wormy effeminate man who uses slaves as furniture. His other son is a psychotic muscleman who wears a thong and is really insecure about his penis size. The protagonists are a gang called Saru. They are a friendly bunch of dudes who just want to spread the message of love, peace, and hip-hop. They chill at a diner called Penny’s (not Denny’s) and flirt with the waitress. When their homie is murdered by Wu-Ronz, they start a rumble which triggers a war between all of Tokyo’s gangs.

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Tekkonkinkreet

September 24, 2017 at 11:42 pm (8 Heads, Tekkonkinkreet) (, , , , , , , )

Tekkonkinkreet – 2006 – Japan

Treasure Town is a lawless Japanese city that resembles an antique shop mixed with a decaying theme park. Black and White are preteen hoodlums living on Treasure Town’s mean streets. They hang out on top of buildings, rumble with outlandishly dressed gangs, and try to grow an apple tree. A sadistic Yakuza boss wants to open a children’s amusement park in Treasure Town. To clean up the city, he must eliminate the infamous Black and White. After White is nearly killed by Yakuza assassins, he is moved into a government orphanage and the duo is separated. Grief-stricken, Black goes on a homicidal rampage. Can White save his friend’s distressed soul?

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Kimera

September 14, 2017 at 11:13 pm (5 Heads, Kimera) (, , , , , )

Kimera – 1997 – Japan

Three pod-like spaceships crash in an isolated forest in America. Scientists capture one of the three pod-people. She is Kimera—an androgynous, green-haired, hermaphroditic, nymphomaniac vampire. She can breed with creatures of any gender or species. An ancient alien legend claims that her children will destroy mankind. The other two pod-people are also freakish vampire mutants. One wants to destroy Kimera and save mankind. The other wants to save Kimera and destroy them. Caught in the conflict is a young Japanese man who falls in love with Kimera. The plot climaxes in a bloody showdown inside a church. There are tentacles, cocoons, and giant snakes all over the place, plus an alien gray. In the end, the Japanese man spares Kimera, and they drive into the sunset. He says: “Kimera, I know what you feel for me isn’t love as I know it, but my love for you is real even if the cost is my own soul.” That’s a surprisingly strong sentiment, especially since Kimera never says a word the whole movie.

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Dark Cat

August 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm (3 Heads, Dark Cat) (, , , , )

Dark Cat – Japan – 1991

Teenagers Hyoi and Ryoi are sibling “Dark Cats”—cat shapeshifters with spiritual magic. After transferring to a new high school, the Dark Cats sense an evil presence. Their old master (an ogre-like Dark Cat) has turned bad and is using the negative energy of teenage emotions to transform students into monsters. A young girl, depressed by her unrequited love, becomes an amorphous mass of writhing eyeball-studded tendrils. Hyoi and Ryoi use their magic and martial arts to destroy her.

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Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01

August 6, 2017 at 9:18 pm (4 Heads, Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01) (, , , , )

Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 – 1987 – Japan

Here’s the plot of Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01: A military truck gets into a car accident while transporting a prototype combat mecha. The mecha ends up in the hands of a mechanic who doesn’t bother to read the manual. He accidentally gets stuck inside and decides to joyride around and go surprise his girlfriend. The military dispatches a robotic tank to track down the mecha. The tank’s driver is a crazy guy who hates mecha, loves tanks, and has a big chip on his shoulder. While firing the tank’s gun, he licks his slobbery lips and proclaims, “This scent—this taste—war is heaven!” The mecha and the tank duel to the death inside a high-rise.

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Dragon Princess

July 31, 2017 at 12:36 am (5 Heads, Dragon Princess) (, , , , , )

Dragon Princess – 1976 – Japan

Kazuma (played by Sonny Chiba) is a karate instructor in Tokyo. Assassins, hired by a rival instructor, attack Kazuma in front of his young daughter, Yumi. He survives with a crippled arm and a missing eye, but flees Japan to protect Yumi. Living in a seedy Manhattan apartment (these probably don’t exist in real life), Kazuma is a drunk who only cares about getting revenge and training Yumi in karate. He berates her, beats her, and makes her stand in the snow with bare feet. When Yumi writes in her diary, “I hope I never hear the word ‘karate’ again!”, Kazuma is somehow surprised.

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