Saturday, November 5, 2011

Video Backlog: “Twilight of the Dark Master”

Publisher: Urban Vision (USA)
Format: Region 1 DVD, NTSC, Japanese Dialogue with optional English dub and English Subtitles.
Length: 45 minutes
Production Date: 1997
Currently in Print (as of writing): No

I watched this today, but until I read the synopsis of this OVA in “The Anime Encyclopaedia”, I really had no idea what exactly was happening in this show. The first sequence shows a young couple in passionate embrace, then we see a one horned monster, her severed arm after being attacked by the monster, and the monster escaping and finally being caught by what one would assume are the police, but they’re not. They’re actually here to capture the monster as its part of some sort of experiment by a company. Things get more confusing when the one armed woman (now with cyborg replacement limbs) sets out for revenge on the monster and enlists a bishonnen called Tsunami Shijo. It is unclear whether or not he is involved with the police or some sort of private eye. Then it is discovered that the monster is being kept at some sort of underground sex club and the monster is actually the one armed woman’s lover. There are also some demons and a bloody supernatural ending with a giant demon, but it was all rather incomprehensible to me.

The show is actually based on a manga and would probably make a lot more sense if I read that prior to watching it. In the manga a Great Mother Spirit created demons, guardians, and humans. In the OVA which set in 2089 in Neo-Shinjuku, the battle is still ongoing, with our bishonnen hero, Tsunami Shijo being a guardian who is fighting the owner of the club, Takaiya, who is a leader of the demons. Why he is turning people into demons and how this is linked to a drug company is mystifying and not explained in the anime.

The best thing about this OVA is the designs and the animation. Though a lot it is extremely dark and you can’t really make out too much detail. I’m unsure if this is deliberate, but I’m assuming this is the fault of Urban Vision who have most likely over saturated the colours for the DVD release. Visually the show is a complete rip off of “Blade Runner” There’s spinner like cars, a dark gloomy cityscape and there’s even a scene with the one the one armed woman appears in clear plastic raincoat with a shattering glass shop window in the background, much like the very famous scene in “Blade Runner” where Zhora crashes through the store window after being shot by Deckard.

I remember we were going to play this OVA at the club I was running back in 1998 or so. For some reason we didn’t. I sort of remember this show being a lot better and more horrifying (especially the very strange sequences in the underground sex club). Looking at it now, it’s much tamer and a whole lot more incoherent than I remembered. I’ve probably made it sound worse than it actually is. It is a lot of fun and the designs and animation are pretty good. Because of that I will give it 6 out of 10.

Remaining Backlog: 26 months (it's much easier this way than listing the number of discs).

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