ANN Yoshiaki Kawajiri page

My average ranking: 4.86

Director Pantheon: Yoshiaki Kawajiri Rating
Birdy the Mighty (OAV) Decent

Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (movie) So-so

Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s usual mix of brutality, sentimentality, grotesquerie and dramatic posturing comes together here to produce what is arguably his most satisfying film. Thankfully, gratuitous excesses are kept to a minimum as the action neatly parallels Colin McLeod’s emotional catharsis. Likewise, character designs are an improvement on previous efforts even if they are typical Kawajiri stock. Backgrounds and animation, like the film generally, vary from brilliant to awkward and everywhere in between.
Ninja Scroll (movie) So-so

In the late 80s to mid 90s there was a slew of anime films that tried to push the boundaries of what was expected in the medium. Films such as Wicked City (1987), Akira (1988), Legend of the Overfiend (1989), Ninja Scroll (1993), Ghost in the Shell (1995) combined sex and violence with supernatural or science fiction themes in new and edgy ways. However groundbreaking they may have been, this effort, like the others, has aged poorly: the character designs are Kawajiri grotesque, the sensibility is disappointingly adolescent, and the animation techniques have been superceded by newer developments. I suppose the hero, the legendary Jubei, is mildly appealing, the heroine strikes some notable poses, the villains are fun in their way and the fate of big bad pre-dates the ordeal suffered by Dallas Genoard in Baccano! by some fourteen years. Even trying to judge this film through the lens of its time it's still both ugly and cheesy and fails to rise above its straightforward plot and flat characters.
Program (OAV) Not really good

Part of the Animatrix anthology. Stands out by having, in the protagonist Cis (see left), pretty much the only attractive character design in any Yoshiaki Kawajiri film ever. Other than the satisfying whack at the end, there isn't much to say about this training simulation program for Zion recruits.
Running Man (movie) Decent

In a futuristic car racing competition one driver, Zach Hugh, who has the ability to psycho-kinetically destroy inanimate objects around him (and thereby his opponents’ cars), crosses the line between life and death through sheer will power. Yes, it’s loaded with Kawajiri grotesqueries (which, at the same time, seem mundane) while, thankfully, there are none of his statuesque but repellent looking women. It all gets a bit silly at the end, although the final destruction of Hugh’s car is poetry in motion, probably my favourite sequence in the entire Neo Tokyo anthology.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (movie) Not really good

I'm coming to the conclusion that I shouldn't be wasting my time on vampire anime. I have yet to see an example that I didn’t think was crap. And that certainly includes Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. D ponces around and postures a lot but I didn’t find him remotely amusing. Perhaps I should blame director Yoshiaki Kawajiri for imposing his unappealing style on the character. And he's not the only problem: the pseudo Gothic atmosphere is entirely unconvincing.
Wicked City (movie) Not really good

There are some memorable images and scenes from this film but, unfortunately, the plot is silly, the characters unappealing and the animation ugly.