Demon Fighter Kocho Anime Review
US Release By
Demon-fighting Raunchy Comedy
What's In It
- Haunted Schools
- Dirty Jokes
- Sexy Ghosts
- Sexy Ghost-hunters
- Horrifying Transformation Sequences
- 4th Wall Breaking
- Violence: 1 (mild)
- Nudity: 3 (significant)
- Sex: 3 (significant)
- Language: 2 (moderate)
Kocho Enoki came all the way from Taiwan to study Astrology from the rather unassuming professor Kamo at Heian University. Along with her not-really-boyfriend Kosaku (whom she fights over with her rather worldly high-school-aged sister Koran), she is a member of the little-known Astrology Club. When the school is stricken with an increasingly violent spate of supernatural attacks, it's up to these four semi-competent heroes to use their dubious supernatural talents to get to the bottom of the haunting and banish the evil.
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Basically Devil Hunter Yohko without the action or even the pretense of horror, Demon Fighter Kocho is as short as it is lowbrow, so even though it's not outright bad it's also not much worth watching. There's plenty of randy humor and a lot of fourth-wall breaking, and it does manage to serve up three or four decent gags and keep the pace lively throughout. On the down side it's as sleazy as all get-out, takes every opportunity to expose some female flesh (and some male flesh you'd probably rather not see exposed), is shamelessly unoriginal, there's no character development at all (heck, there isn't even any character establishment), and if you charitably call the progression of events a "plot" it still feels more like a set-up for a series than a standalone story. At least it's not bad looking, though there's really no action to speak of.
Demon Fighter Kocho is too dirty and unoriginal to appeal to most, and even if you do enjoy the leering and sleazy humor, it's so short that it's not worth more than a rental anyway. It'd be a decent target for mocking with friends, except the humor is so self-aware that the characters will beat you to most of the punch lines.
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
Demon Fighter Kocho has the basic idea right--cute girls, dirty jokes, some semi-scary ghosts, and maybe a bit of action on the side. The problem is it's as short as it is lowbrow, so even though it's not outright bad it's also not much worth watching.
Basically Devil Hunter Yohko without the action or any pretense of horror, Demon Fighter Kocho doesn't even try to be serious. The humor may be base, but the characters break the fourth wall enough to elicit a chuckle or two, including a mildly amusing potshot at overkill narration. There are three or four good gags, among them one of the world's most hideous transformation sequences: The cute girls end up sans-clothing a lot, but it's the tubby professor who does it in classic anime style, with another character speaking up for the viewers and pointing out just how wrong it is. Wrong, but it made me laugh.
The characters are as sleazy as the humor. If you ignore the intro there are only four speaking roles in the whole thing, and apart from Kocho, who's generically perky, the other three are all dirty-minded in at least passably amusing ways. The young male lead is... well, the young male lead, although a little more lecherous than average. The professor is the high point--he plays the wise, demon-fighting trainer, but half of everything he does is an excuse (pointed out by the other characters) to get somebody naked or leer at them. Kocho's younger sister is certainly distinctive--a "kogal"-type character that you rarely see in anime, she's a brazen hussy, but there's at least one half-decent dirty joke that comes of it.
Hey, I give Demon Fighter Kocho credit for being an equal-opportunity exploiter--one female character as dirty-minded as the men, and there's some wholly unnecessary male nudity, even if you'll really wish there wasn't.
Its other strength is that it's reasonably good-looking. The animation is acceptable, the character designs are stock but passably cute (except for the not-cute but distinctive professor), and the backgrounds are functional--some shadowy school locales, if nothing I'd call creepy. Kocho's sister also has an uncommon-in-anime, heavily-tanned look going on (not full-on ganguro, though). There isn't, sadly, any action to speak of--people jump around and use demon-busting magic, but it's just flash, not fighting.
That's the positives. The negatives are pretty obvious: It's as sleazy as all get-out, takes every opportunity to expose some female flesh, is shamelessly unoriginal, there's no character development at all (heck, there isn't even any character establishment), and if you charitably call the progression of events a "plot" it still feels more like a set-up for a series than a standalone story. It's also a little too willingly dirty to qualify as a full-on parody. Plus, at under a half hour long you don't even get much bang for your buck. At least it keeps the pace up throughout.
The acting in Japanese is decent--energetic, if nothing else. I did like the professor--he's given a distinctive voice with a hint of sleaze by Kouji Ishii (who voiced the main character in Black Heaven). I only glanced at the English dub, which alters the humor significantly (in particular less 4th-wall-breaking) but sounds reasonably good.
The music isn't noticeable, with the exception of the end theme. Said theme is sung by someone who actually has a bit of talent and gets credit for having something to do with the plot, not to mention a whole lot of vague innuendo about "demon gates."
In all, Demon Fighter Kocho is too dirty and unoriginal to appeal to most, and even if you do enjoy the leering and sleazy humor, it's so short that it's not worth more than a rental anyway. It'd be a decent target for mocking with friends, except the humor is so self-aware that the characters will beat you to most of the punch lines.
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Nearly identical to the variety of Devil Hunter Yohko movies, but somewhat sillier and lighter on the horror-action. For a less randy take on the not-so-serious haunted school thing, there's Haunted Junction, and Phantom Quest Corp. also has some fairly lighthearted paranormal investigation.
Notes and Trivia
Based on a manga series of the same name by Nonki Miyasu. It's not available in English as of this writing.
Kocho's sister Koran is specifically called a "kogal" in the story, though AnimeWorks' subtitles just went with something similar. For those unfamiliar with Japanese fashion trends, "kogal" (technically "kogyaru") is a subculture of older high school girls and young women known for being obsessed with expensive designer clothing and accessories, wearing blatantly sexy school-uniform-style clothing, and a tendency toward being extroverted and openly sexual. "Raunch culture" is the rough US equivalent. They also frequently have artificially tanned skin and lightened hair like Koran, although they don't take it as far as the Ganguro look and subculture that they share many similarities with, and were to a degree a more-mainstream evolution of. The broader term "gal" (properly, "gyaru") applies to a similar type of girls and younger women, but includes a broader age spectrum and less emphasis on school uniforms.
US DVD Review
AnimeWorks' DVD has nifty-looking box art, and includes English and Japanese stereo audio and an accurate English subtitle track. The video looks reasonably good, although the credits are a little weird--the English crawl is over a montage of scenes from the show that look very grainy, and the song subtitles are hardcoded onto a garish border around the video and credits. The only special feature is a "behind the microphone" section of outtakes (with video) from the dubbing studio and some video from the dub cast party. On the positive side, this is quite long, and you get to see the actors working (or goofing off), which is kind of neat if you're into behind-the-scenes stuff. On the negative side, it's quite long (cumulatively longer than the entire feature, in fact), and the outtakes aren't generally very funny, so I lost interest after a bit. Still, some should find it interesting, and Kocho's English voice actress is certainly lively in the studio.
AnimeWorks calls it 16-up, and with good reason--dirty humor and semi-explicit mature content abounds.
Violence: 1 - There's some fighting, but it's sparse and mild.
Nudity: 3 - A moderate amount of flesh.
Sex/Mature Themes: 3 - A number of significantly dirty jokes and some offscreen hanky-panky.
Language: 2 - Some profanity in both the dub and subtitles.
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
Kocho Enoki: Haruna Ikezawa
Kosaku Urano: Koichi Tochika
Professor Kamo: Koji Ishii
Koran Enoki: Fumie Kusachi
Noriko: Mie Odaki
Takashi: Hidenari Ugaki
Female Students: Shiori Hasumoto, Yukiko Matsuura, Kanoko Koike, Kaori Watanabe
Male Students: Atsushi Tanemura, Masanori Katsuragi, Rei Kuroda, Hideki Ezawa, Yasushi Itomura
Kiyomaru: Mie Odaki
Boss Ghost: Hidenari Ugaki
Girl Ghost: Yukiko Matsuura
Samurai Ghost: Yasushi Itomura
Woman in Coat Ghost: Yukiko Matsuura
English Dub Cast
Kocho Enoki: Jessica Cavello
Kosaku Urano: Jamie McGonical
Professor Kamo: Michael Polak
Koran Enoki: Amy Fitts
Noriko: Sarah Hays
Takashi: Michael Sinterniklass
Kiyomaru: Michael Medlin
Based on a comic by: Nonki Miyasu
Director: Toru Yoshida
Screenwriter: Hiroshi Toda
Music: Toshihiko Sahashi
Storyboard: Toru Yoshida
Character Design: Kazuhiro Sasaki
Animation Director: Moriyasu Taniguchi, Kazuhiro Sasaki
Animation: Anime R
Director of Photography: Hitoshi Shirao
Assistant Director: Toshimitsu Himeno
Sound Director: Kazuya Tanaka
Theme "Demon Fighter Kocho"
Lyrics: Nonki Miyasu
Composition: Toshihiko Sahashi
Arrangement: Toshihiko Sahashi
Performed by: Hiroko Asagawa
Available in North America from AnimeWorks on bilingual DVD; was also originally available on dubbed VHS.