True Peacock King Anime Review
真・孔雀王 (天魔復活 / 崑崙鳴動)
Shin Kujaku Oh (Tenma Fukkatsu / Kunrun Meidou)
True Peacock King (Demon Revival / Rumbling in the Kunlun Mountains)
US Release By
2 48-minute episodes
1994-04-25 - 1994-05-25
In the distant past, the gods of darkness and light fought a war over the earth. The gods of light triumphed in the end, and the king of the gods of darkness was imprisoned. Eons later, there are some very bad men trying to resurrect it...
This stand-alone two-part entry in the Peacock King series is a well done little tale of some Nazis trying to bring about the end of the world. Although that may sound kind of Indiana Jones, it's much more of a supernatural drama than anything.
The characters are surprisingly well realized--they have believable personalities (by the standards of this kind of thing, anyway), and the character designs are sharp. In general, the art and animation are both good. The plot is interesting enough, and it actually seems to work with the grand scale on which it's written.
On the down side, it also feels like there's too much plot--the story tends to jump around (particularly in location--one minute, the main characters are in Japan, the next, they're in Germany, and two minutes after that, they're in Tibet). You can blame some of the abruptness on poor translation, but that's only a small part of the problem. Despite this, the story does manage to slow down for some good scenes along the way--it just outruns itself at times.
Overall, Peacock King: Spirit Warrior (Revival of Evil and Regent of Darkness) is a relatively well done tale, with good art and animation, and an interesting (if a bit weird) story. Not a must watch, but a pretty good effort if you like this sort of thing (trying to stop Nazis from resurrecting the lord of evil kind of thing, that is).
Notes and Trivia
The Peacock King series (aka Spirit Warrior) is loosely adapted from a lengthy manga series (also called "Kujaku Oh" - "Peacock King") by Makoto Ogino. The manga isn't available in English as of this writing.
US Manga Corps' release of the Peacock King series has been confusing, to put it mildly. I shall attempt to clarify.
First of all, there are actually two separate OAV series. The first was the three episode "Kujaku Oh" ("Peacock King"), originally released between 1988 and 1991. The loosely connected episodes are (in order) "Festival of the Ogres Return," "Castle of Illusion," and "Harvest of the Cherry Blossoms." The second series "Shin Kujaku Oh" ("True Peacock King") shares a main character with the first, but has very little else to do with it, and is composed of a first and second part, "Demon Revival" and "Rumbling in the Kunlun Mountains" (renamed "Revival of Evil" and "Regent of Darkness" for the US release).
The confusion starts because USM released the whole mess as one series, and didn't make it clear that the stories aren't really connected (or that the production team was significantly different for each). They also added confusion by treating the second series as the "first" part of the set (volumes 1 and 2), with the earlier series being parts 3 through 5.
Finally, as if that wasn't bad enough, the original VHS release went by the relatively accurate title "Peacock King: Spirit Warrior" (volumes 1-5, each with a subtitle). The new DVD release, however, just uses "Spirit Warrior"--no Peacocks anywhere.
I will say in USM's defense that since the stories aren't really connected, the order isn't all that important, and I'd certainly have wanted to put the two-parter at the beginning, because it's much better than the older series.
Oh, and there's also a 1988 Hong Kong action movie called Peacock King starring Yuen Biao and Gloria Yip. It is also based on the comic version, and available in the US from Tai Seng.
Available in North America from US Manga Corps on two bilingual DVD volumes, parts 1 and 2 of the Spirit Warrior set. All five volumes are also sold in a box set. Was previously available on two subtitled or dubbed VHS volumes, under the title Peacock King: Spirit Warrior 1 and 2.