The co-founder of last year's rocky Japan Expo 1st Impact talks about all the dramatic changes to this year's event, what went wrong last time and what to expect from this year's show at the San Mateo Event Center.
Reviewby Chris Shepard
8 Man After
DVD Perfect Collection
A private investigator working a routine case involving stolen technology is mortally wounded. His only hope for survival comes from sacrificing his humanity to become 8man – a powerful cyborg crime-fighter enhanced with a living human brain. Resurrected as the ultimate high-tech vigilante, it is up to 8man to bring the lawless to justice and put an end to the escalating cycle of violence.
8 Man, which has been proclaimed by fans as the original Robocop, is one of the many cheesy anime shows of the 60's (a dubbed version is available on video from Right Stuf). With a similar setup as this OVA collection, Hazama, the original 8 Man, fought various forms of crime in wacky plot lines typical of a TV show of this era. Now, after Hazama has given up being the original crime fighting 8 Man and has disappeared without a trace, a new 8man is created to help fight crime. 8man After: Perfect Collection is the story of this, the successor of 8 Man.
As opposed to the standard keepcase that most DVD's are released in these days, 8 Man After: Perfect Collection gets the snapper case treatment. It's a cardboard case with plastic at the top and bottom holding it together and allowing it to open and close. These cases aren't horrible but they're easily susceptible to wear and tear. The cover for this title is dark and plain. Hazama is shown with the 8 Man behind him but that's it. Just a black background. It does maintain the cyberpunk feel of the anime but a little more detail would have been nice.
As with the packaging, the menus are cheap and lackluster as well. The menu starts with what would normally be a chapter selection section and contains nothing else but that. That's right, a very ugly menu with no extras at all.
While on the topic of technical aspects, last but not least, there is no Japanese audio track at all. This anime DVD is dub only. Luckily though, the dub is done quite well. All of the character voices fitted and the acting wasn't too bad either. Still though, a Japanese track would have been nice.
8 Man After looked very promising in the beginning. The characters seemed interesting, mysterious and intriguing. I found myself wanting to learn more about Kazama as well as his kid friend and whatever kind of pasts they had. With the cyberpunk feel and the inclusion of the superhero element, something not done very often in anime, I had the feeling this could turn into something great. Unfortunately, it didn't.
After the first half, 8 Man went into a perfect downward spiral. Character background was given minimal attention and the plot became clichéd. Kazama changed from being what could have been interesting to extremely dull. Except for a few scenes of Kazama trying to be a womanizer, he never really did much at all. As he started crying and whining about how he'd ever cope as the new 8 Man, I felt as if I had seen this all 18 billion times before. Such a thing just cannot be done when the viewer cannot connect with the cast. Kazama should have been fleshed out much more as a character during the beginning of the anime, because now as he's dwelling in his emotional troubles, I just couldn't care for him at all.
As touched upon above, 8 Man After does have a very cool cyberpunk feel going for it. It has that dark and mysterious atmosphere that many people seem to love. The type of action that coincides with this is odd. With 8 Man being a "superhero", he spins around enemies at lightning speed as if he were superman. This gives off an unrealistic and out of place feeling at times. The animation reuses the same stock footage of 8 Man running over and over again and the frame rate is to slow. 8 Man's attacks at high speeds include nothing more that just a little flash on the screen as if he ran by and slashed really quick. It doesn't look too good. As a whole, the animation and action remains sub-par just as everything else about this release.
8 Man After: Perfect Collection is not a horrible disc, just exceedingly average. The atmosphere was good but the plot never went anywhere. The action wasn't completely horrible but it did nothing to try to save you from the ill-devised plot. Every element is just extremely second rate and none of them ever developed into any kind of high point. If you're not a fan of the original, who would probably want to see this anyway, there is no reason to buy this. Keep it as a rental only.
Overall : C-
+ Good atmosphere. Interesting plot elements.
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