Reviewby Paul "Momotaro" Chapman
Ahhhh...Urotsukidoji, a.k.a. The Legend of the Overfiend, a.k.a. The Legend of the Wandering Kid. Few anime titles have been so controversial, yet at the same time so ground-breaking. Urotsukidoji is hentai, anime aimed at an "adult's-only" audience. But what's it all about?
It's about 250 minutes long. Just kidding. Giving away too much of this feature would be both a crime and a sin, so I'll only tell you this: the story, based on the popular hentai manga of the same name, is set in a dark alternative Earth, in which the human beings are generally unaware of two spiritual realms, one above their world inhabited by the super-human Man-beasts, the other beneath them inhabited by lowly, slime-covered Demons. In this dark reflection of our reality, there resounds an ominous legend, the legend of the Chojin (translated as "Overfiend") that states that all the universe and the three spirit-realms (including Earth in the middle) were created by the Chojin, and that once every three-thousand years, the Chojin awakens to behold his creations. Some think that the revival of the Chojin spells disaster for all creation, while others, such as Amano Jyacku, a cocky young Man-beast / human half-breed and one of the series' principle characters, believe that the Chojin's rebirth will signal a new dawn of peace and prosperity between the people of the three worlds. As a result, Amano has been wandering for hundreds of years in search of the human form in which the Chojin slumbers, all the while engaging in a sort of guerrilla war-fare with those of the human, Demon, and Man-beast realms that want nothing more than to prevent the resurrection of the Chojin at all costs.
And who does Amano's search lead him to? A group of hapless high-school teenagers (whom we are assured all are 19 or over) including the lecherous and clueless Nagumo and his sweet-heart-to-be, the nubile Akemi.
This anime feature, composed of five OAVs in the Perfect Collection and various sequels not yet available on DVD, is something of a tough pill to swallow. It's not intended for the weak-of-heart, for even though the animation shows the characteristics of the era in which it was made, i.e. the Eighties, the OAVs are replete with graphic, disturbing depictions of sex, violence, and violent sex. Urotsukidoji is the mother-of-all-tentacle titles, literally giving birth to a genre that is now populated by such imitators as Angel of Darkness, Demon Beast Invasion, and Venus 5.
The story itself, at least the canon storyline presented in the first three OAVs in all their uncensored glory (Birth of the Overfiend, Curse of the Overfiend, and Final Inferno,) is a stellar piece of work. Let's just say things are not as they seem to be, and leave it at that. Few anime titles can surprise me, and fewer still can leave me shuddering with an unadulterated feeling of pathos, and the first three OAVs of Urotsukidoji did exactly that.
The other two OAVs included in the Perfect Collection are another story, literally and figuratively. Legend of the Demon Womb and Battle at the Shinjuku Skyscrapers are a separate (i.e. non-canon) continuity placed somewhere chronologically between the events of the first three OAVs. How does their story compare with the original? It doesn't. For one thing, these two OAVs aren't uncensored...they suffer from a master-copy transfer in which the air-brushed blurring of sex organs could not be removed. (Although, I have hand it to CPM for being honest; no where on the packaging does the release claim to be totally uncensored.) Except for a bit of love, a bit of monster-sex, and a few subtle scenes that force the viewers to understand and sympathize with the all-to-human natures of the Demons, I'd say these two OAVs are better off avoided.
The packaging is good, not overly-suggestive like so many other hentai titles released on DVD in America. My biggest complaint is that although the art-work on both the front and back covers is original and interesting, and although the keepsake case is plastic, rather than cardboard, the Perfect Collection does not come with any kind of insert.
The menus are adequate, with pieces of still artwork sprinkled here and there. I have to say that for a feature this long (250 minutes) three chapter-stops per OAV does not cut it. Further, the chapter stops are like those in Beautiful Dreamer...all text, no visuals to back up what the heck occurs in those chapters. The minimalist format might be a result of the need to fit so much information onto the DVDs themselves. Or it might just be lazy programmers. (^_^) Who can say?
One big disadvantage for all you dub-o-philes out there: the Urotsukidoji Perfect Collection does not include a dubbed track, it's strictly Pure Japanese / Subbed Only. If you want to hear this title in English, you're stuck with the two DVD "movies" that Central Park Media compiled and released, but I believe these both are missing footage.
In summary, this DVD is a nice piece of work. It's not for everybody, that's for dang sure. Some people would lose their lunch as a result of the blurring of the boundaries between Eros (the physical act of Sex) and Thanatos (Death.) Here's an example of one of the relatively tamer eros-thanatos moments; Megumi (another Man-beast and Amano's capricious little sister) while making love consensually with a Demon, climaxes with a burst of energy so powerful that it vaporizes her would-be lover. Further, this series takes a stab at sex roles in general, vilifying males and females equally. Many men are depicted as sex-crazed raving brutes, while many women are portrayed as manipulative icy-hearted bitches or sex-toys. Make no mistake, this title contains graphic, violent depictions of rape, but it also depicts tender love scenes of the weirdest variety. If this is not your thing, do NOT buy this DVD! But bear in mind, you're missing out on a great story, if you can handle the media through which it is presented...
Overall (sub) : A-
Story : A+
+ Massive running length, great main storyline, great themes and imagery, mostly uncensored format
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