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REVIEW: Wicked City DVD


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WingKing



Joined: 27 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:40 am Reply with quote
It's probably telling that even though he still works for Madhouse, Kawajiri hasn't had a credited directing job since Highlander: Search for Vengeance in 2007. His inventive visuals were always his greatest calling card as a director anyway, more than his stories, but it feels like anime as a whole has mostly moved beyond the kind of movies that he liked to make.

Kawajiri also lists John Carpenter as one of his favorite directors, and there are elements of Wicked City that definitely feel inspired by Carpenter's version of "The Thing."
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:30 pm Reply with quote
WingKing wrote:
It's probably telling that even though he still works for Madhouse, Kawajiri hasn't had a credited directing job since Highlander: Search for Vengeance in 2007. His inventive visuals were always his greatest calling card as a director anyway, more than his stories, but it feels like anime as a whole has mostly moved beyond the kind of movies that he liked to make.


It's also because Kawajiri has gone on record as saying that he's done with directing anime; the debacle with Highlander was the last straw for him. The only thing that can bring Kawajiri back to the director's chair is Ninja Scroll 2, which will pretty much never happen because, like you said, anime like what he directed just doesn't get made anymore.
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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:36 pm Reply with quote
Wicked City tries to be nothing more than a good time of exploitation goodness and honestly, if it tried anything deep or meaningful, the visuals would lose their impact.

Well, to be even more honest, that's how Wicked City isn't like the Thing; Carpenter used the grotesque and disturbing sequences like exclamation points while Wicked City had them as the story or maybe in place of a story.

It's not the greatest thing in the world but I can say that's it's not a boring 80 minutes.
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Spawn29



Joined: 14 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:46 pm Reply with quote
Yoshiaki Kawajiri has done the story board for Ace of Diamond. So it's not like he is totally retire. I love Wicked City. One of my favorite anime movies. I first discover it on Spill.com in 2008 when they did a audio podcast on different animated films.

Lord Geo wrote:
like you said, anime like what he directed just doesn't get made anymore.


That's a shame since I like those type of anime. It's better than what we get now. I would take most violent anime over the typical harem or moe anime that we get every season.
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Bamble



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:25 pm Reply with quote
Lord Geo wrote:
It's also because Kawajiri has gone on record as saying that he's done with directing anime; the debacle with Highlander was the last straw for him.


And subsequent to the issues with Highlander he also had his directing credit removed from his Gotham Knight segment, so it's understandable that he's backed away from the director's chair.
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WingKing



Joined: 27 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:37 pm Reply with quote
Spawn29 wrote:
Yoshiaki Kawajiri has done the story board for Ace of Diamond. So it's not like he is totally retire.


Oh no, he's definitely not retired. He's still doing storyboards and key animations for Madhouse shows - he had storyboard credits for One Punch Man last season, in fact - he's just not directing anything else.

It is kind of interesting that he did no credited work for Parasyte, though, which is the one thing Madhouse has done recently that would seem to have been right up his alley.
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Lemonchest



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:15 pm Reply with quote
WingKing wrote:
Spawn29 wrote:
Yoshiaki Kawajiri has done the story board for Ace of Diamond. So it's not like he is totally retire.


Oh no, he's definitely not retired. He's still doing storyboards and key animations for Madhouse shows - he had storyboard credits for One Punch Man last season, in fact - he's just not directing anything else.

It is kind of interesting that he did no credited work for Parasyte, though, which is the one thing Madhouse has done recently that would seem to have been right up his alley.


If he was involved, it wouldn't have been the parasyte's heads that split open to eat people.
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PurpleWarrior13



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:27 pm Reply with quote
What I love about this film is it's neo-noir atmosphere. So much of the film only has black/blue coloring, which really helps emphasize that. It's like an exploitation film shot like a film noir, and really interesting to watch. I wish they still made anime like this...
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TurnerJ



Joined: 05 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:41 pm Reply with quote
I won't get into my impressions of this movie (the less said, the better), but I will confess that this is probably the only Streamline-dubbed title I've seen where I can safely say that the Streamline version is the superior of the two by far. Not because it's anything spectacular; it's a passable dub at most, if nothing special. However, the real reason it is better is because the Manga UK dub is so distractingly goofy and laughable. It's also quite bad with a capital B, with performances misfiring across the board and some very choppy, robotic sounding delivery and lines that come across as so bad they're funny: "Don't ever think you can win this battle you pathetic ANIMALLLLL!" In fairness, the Streamline version has some bits of corny humor too, but at least the laughs are not unintentional.

I gotta hand it to Greg Snegoff and company; they came into the project knowing what they were doing and despite the occasional stilted moment, it's one of the few 90s dubs that ages fairly well. I don't know what the folks behind the Manga UK dub were thinking, but they seemed to REALLY be off their mark, aside from giving characters various accents for no discernible reason and throwing in "f" words into the dialogue every ten seconds. This kind of approach backfired with Demon City Shinjuku, and it's unfortunate the same is true here. (Ironically, Kawajiri also directed that latter film; that's another that needs a new dub; the Manga UK dub on that is too laughable and stupid to be taken seriously.)
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Zalis116
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:28 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
and both nudity and sexually-themed disturbing imagery are regular features. The latter includes one female character who manifests a toothy maw in her crotch, a sex worker who absorbs one male character into her body, and the production's most infamous scene: a Dark World woman basically turning her body into a giant vagina which sucks men in for mind control effects. And yes, you can absolutely read all kinds of unpleasant subtext into all of those scenes.
Gee, and I thought shows like K-On! and Lucky Star were supposed to be the chief creepy sexist misogynistic scourges upon the anime medium.
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TurnerJ



Joined: 05 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:37 pm Reply with quote
Zalis116 wrote:
Gee, and I thought shows like K-On! and Lucky Star were supposed to be the chief creepy sexist and misogynistic scourges upon the anime medium.


Well, some people could argue that this and Ninja Scroll also qualify as well. Both of those movies are highly acclaimed, but both also feature scenes in which an otherwise strong female protagonist is basically molested, and that DOES leave a nasty, misogynistic taste in one's mouth. At least I found both of them to be. Then there's also Urotsudojiki: Legend of the Overfiend. I didn't see that particular show, but my friend Bill Timoney (who had the misfortune to participate in the dub of that before he redeemed himself by voicing Parn in Record of Lodoss War) has outwardly spoken how much he detested doing that particular hentai, not only at a panel at an AN conference I went to years ago, but on an article written by RevolutionSF. He was quite horrified at the content of it. There IS a downside to hentai; while it can be used to show that Japan is not as squeamish about such subjects when it comes to animation unlike America, it CAN cause a lot of discomfort among unsuspecting fans. I know a theater classmate of mine was terrified of Anime because she suspected it was "Japanese porn". Obviously she hadn't seen the works of Ghibli, which I would recommend to any unsuspecting person skeptical of Anime as the perfect gateway to change one's mind about the notion that Anime is nothing but "sex and violence". That was a generalization I was guilty of carrying until I saw Kiki back on VHS.
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Desslok



Joined: 10 Aug 2014
Posts: 157
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:11 pm Reply with quote
Ah man, Wicked City - there's a name I haven't heard in a very long time. I was an anime fan for a long time previous, Star Blazers and Speed Racer and the like - but the old Manga Video releases of Wicked City, Demon City Shinjuku, and Ninja Scroll were the eye opening "Holy crap!" moments for me. They really showed off what the medium could be.

It may not have been a classic, but Wicked City was entertaining as hell. I'm picking this up for sure!
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anddo!



Joined: 07 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:32 am Reply with quote
Time to rewatch Wicked City. I loved that movie.
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GEO9875



Joined: 09 Dec 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:35 am Reply with quote
Sweet, it has both dubs, defo buying!
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Zin5ki
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:49 am Reply with quote
TurnerJ wrote:
I don't know what the folks behind the Manga UK dub were thinking, but they seemed to REALLY be off their mark, aside from giving characters various accents for no discernible reason and throwing in "f" words into the dialogue every ten seconds.

You may know that the company was eager to ensure that its releases earned a 15 rating with the local censors, hence the zeal for expletives. A show like this hardly required such wanton cursing to reach the desired emblazoning, though less objectionable titles such as Urusei Yatsura certainly did. The results were quite infamous.
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