Wicked City Anime Review
Demon Beast City
US Release By
What's In It
- Violence: 3 (significant)
- Nudity: 4 (heavy)
- Sex: 4 (heavy)
- Language: 3 (significant)
There is Earth, our familiar world, and then there is the Black World which is a parallel dimension that very few people are aware of. For centuries, a pact between the two worlds has been observed to maintain peace, and terms must be negotiated and renewed soon to continue relative harmony. This time around, there is a militant faction called The Radicals that will stop at nothing to prevent the signing of a new treaty for inter-dimensional peace. Two agents of the elite organization known as the Black Guards - defenders of the balance between the two worlds - are charged with insuring the success of the treaty. Taki Renzaburo is a (Human) black guard agent from Shibuya and Makie a black guard agent who is from the black world. Their mission is to protect an old man named Giuseppi Mayart who is here to sign a renewal treaty of peace between the two worlds. Mayart is the only one who can keep the peace between both worlds. But if the The Radicals kill Giuseppi Mayart, the peace between the human world and the Black World will end in terror. Can Taki and Makie protect Mr. Mayart till the summit meeting?
One of my all time favorites, Wicked City does almost everything brilliantly. From the very opening sequence, you know you are going to be in for quite a ride. Wicked City is hard to describe. It's sort of a mixture between Blade Runner, and a soft core porn film. While it does the action/Sci-fi bits really well, some of the material seemed a bit overboard. But, I'll tackle that issue later on in the review.
First thing, this is a Yoshiaki Kawajiri film. Meaning that you can expect realistic character models, and some great creature designs. The animation is extremely fluid, which is even more impressive seeing as how old this anime is. The background and atmosphere perfectly fits the bill as we are immersed into a dark, seedy city nightlife. The Radicals all have distinct characteristic or power that sets them off from each other.
The sound is pretty good. Lots of fast, uptempo tracks during the action and mellow when it calls for it. However, there are many action scenes where there is no sound other than the people involved. It made the scenes stand out more in my opinion. The voice acting is done pretty well also. None of the lines sounded forced, or ad-libbed. Taki sounds like the cocky SOB that he is, and Makie sounds just as lovely as she looks. Giuseppi is basically your typical old man pervert. Whenever you hear him speak about going to massage houses and doing it with Makie, it's absolutely hilarious. The villains all sound dark and brooding.
With all this great stuff, and praise that I'm giving it, why am I not giving this a perfect score? Because of the issue I briefly touched on earlier. This anime really treads a fine line between mature-rated anime, and flat out hentai with a really good story. I know that there was a lot of sex in the novel on which it was based, but the degree of it seemed unnecessary in some parts. Like I said, it might have been in the book, but it took away from the experience just a bit. But this is definitely top of the line adult anime.
Overall, Wicked City is just a good film to watch. It has a nice blend of comedy, action, horror, and drama all rolled into one sweet little package. It also has sort of a surprise twist at the end. If you like the standard action flicks, you'll like Wicked City. But be warned! If you don't have a high tolerance for nudity and/or sex, you might feel a little odd with some of the scenes.
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Notes and Trivia
There were two releases of this film, as well as a Hong Kong live-action version. The Streamline Pictures VHS is out of print, the DVD through Urban Vision is available and the live-action version wasn't anything special. There is also a scheduled American live-action version being made for release in 2008.
US DVD Review
The DVD is fairly standard. Some trailers, language selection, and that's about it. I can get it in 5.1 surround, and it's worth it.
It would be fine for older teens around 16, but only if parents don't mind all of the naughty bits; Urban Vision appropriately calls it 17+.
Violence: 3 - There is mostly blood with very little to no gore. The Radicals also get messed up a bit, but they don't have blood.
Nudity: 4 - A lot of nudity, but only one scene where it's very detailed.
Sex/Mature Themes: 4 - There's consensual sex as well as a couple of scenes of rape.
Language: 3 - Some cuss words, but it's not too bad most of the time.