What They Say
Urotsukidoji is the story of Amano Jyaku from the world of the Jyujinkai and his three-hundred-year quest to discover the Chojin. Accompanied by his sister Megumi and imp-servant Koroko he has searched the world of the Ninjinkai (humans) for centuries and now he believes he may have found what he has been looking for! But how can he be sure who the Chojin really is? And what will the Chojin’s “perfect world” really be like? As Amano is tormented by doubts and uncertainties one truth rises to light–before creation, there must first be destruction!
The audio presentation for this release is presented in its original bilingual form as we get both the Japanese and English tracks in stereo here encoded at 192kbps. The show is definitely a product of its time as it’s more of a full sounding mix than anything that’s really precise, but it works well with the way the show is designed. The character dialogue is straightforward with no placement or depth but it’s clear and easily fits well within the overall mix, even with the dub. The show works a bit better in the action scenes where everything has a bit more oomph to it, but overall it’s still fairly flat when taken in context to other shows that have come since. Largely, it all comes down to the age of the materials and they’re decent but they won’t stand out.
Originally released in 1987, the transfer for this feature film is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Considering how some past releases have looked and the age of the show as well as the amount of darker areas in it, I wasn’t sure what to expect here. Thankfully, this is probably the best this has looked on DVD in this region and Kitty Media did a good job with the elements they had. The bit rate rarely, and I mean rarely, dropped below 9.0 and that allowed them to work with the blacks really well since it avoided significant noise or break-up. Colors are generally muted which was part of the style of the show and it all comes across far better than I could have imagined. There’s some line noise to be had here and there and the print isn’t free of some dust and scratches, but for a show that’s closing in on twenty-five years old and is a hentai release, this is a strong offering.
The packaging for this release is pretty decent as it uses a good mixture of artwork that doesn’t shy away from its sexual nature. The logo is through the middle, using Urotsukidoji as well as Legend of the Overfiend, and that separates two different things. The top half has a good illustration piece that shows the Overfiend having his way with a naked woman while the bottom half has its own split as light shines through the middle and character artwork of the four main leads are split evenly on either side of it. It’s a very dark cover overall that has a murky feeling but doesn’t go to a really bad level. It’s one that makes you look a little closer to see what it is as it has a classic horror feel about it. The back cover uses a similar sense of color design about it as it’s split into four strips. There’s a good number of shots from the feature here and a decent little summary that doesn’t capture the scale of the show along with the oft-used quote from the Village Voice. Add in the production information and the technical grid and you’ve got a solid if not terribly exciting cover layout here. No shows related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for Urotsukidoji uses the same materials as the cover itself where it has the breaking light through the darkened skies that goes right through the middle. On either side we get some good character artwork, the left showing Amano and Megumi while the right pairs up Nagumo and Akemi, while the navigation itself is straight through the middle. There’s nothing on the disc besides the show and the trailers so navigation is simple and a breeze, though just a touch slow at times. The language presets weren’t picked up so it defaulted to English with sign/song subtitles. I’ll also note that once again the trailers aren’t in their own menu but rather just a selection that plays all of them in a row which you can skip through one by one. I find myself not watching trailers when they’re done this way.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are few anime titles that really made a name for themselves for quite a few years but one that did was Urotsukidoji. The original OVA series and its movie incarnation form was considered the height of sex and violence mixed together and either all that was wrong with anime or all that was right with anime. I had first seen the show in raw form which left me vastly intrigued in wondering what the deal was and then later on savoring the five laserdisc that Anime 18 put out. My mother even watched the first episode of that OVA series since she wanted to see all things anime at that point to see just how far it would go. Suffice to say, it left an impression.
Urotsukidoji is a straightforward story overall that’s blended well here with the first three OVAs being recut for this movie version. The feature revolves around a couple of central characters with the lead really being that of Nagumo, a high school student who’s something of a social outcast at school, especially when we first see him and he’s getting laughed at while at the basketball game where he had quite the erection. Nagumo’s got the hots for the very attractive Akemi which is what caused it but Akemi has no interest in him in the slightest. Where Nagumo’s life takes a strange turn is when he sees Akemi being taken into one of the school’s rooms by a teacher where she ends up being assaulted by her. Nagumo seeing this doesn’t have him jumping in to help though, since there’s little he can do as this monster takes form, tentacles and all.
What does shake things up is the arrival of Amano, a half-breed beastman and human that has come from one of the other dimensional worlds in search of the Overfiend. The Overfiend is a creature of legend that comes every three thousand years that Amano has been searching for information on for awhile and he’s convinced the time is now for it to arrive. And with the legend being that it’ll make everything into an eternal paradise, he’s eager to see what will happen and be there at the genesis of it. Akemi seems like she has some of the scent of it, but that’s not what it was. His rescuing of her has her confused though and she thinks Nagumo did it and the two instantly become hot and heavy. Which leads to a series of events that causes his death, which in turn reveals that he’s the genesis of the Overfiend and that the legend may not be all its cracked up to be.
Urotsukidoji works a very basic storyline about the end of the world but does the rather surprising thing of actually following through on it, though not until the end. It’s the rare movie that actually ends on quite the downer because of the way the world is on the verge of ending. The main thrust of the show is on Akemi and Nagumo as their budding relationship is shown and they try to go all the way. There’s a certain charm about how things go between them and the sheer amount of violence involved. There’s definitely a survivors thing going on here as Akemi falls for him after she thinks he was the one that saved him. Of course, he dies along the way, causes the end of the world and dies yet again. And not in that order. There’s a grand scale to events here with time travel to the future by Amano and a tie to the Kanto earthquake of 1923 that ties into this as well. The scale of it is what separates it from a lot of other shows as it does follow through on the story and wants to tell something that’s earth-shattering.
Of course, there’s more to this than just the story as there’s a good amount of sex to go with all the violence. The two are tied together, though there are some surprisingly sweet scenes and some fun ones as well, but the majority of it does come from the more demonic scenes and a whole lot of tentacles. From bodies bursting to tentacles causing a lot of tears, Urotsukidoji does take things to another level. It’s not quite as shocking as it was when it first came out all those years ago, but there are still very few shows that play this balance as well as it does. If anything, the sex becomes much less of a factor each time (though I do like seeing Megumi here) as the story becomes more and more of a draw. That and the more tender scenes between Nagumo and Akemi are what sells it.
It’s been over seven years since I last saw this movie and even though I do prefer the full OVAs more, the movie is a good deal of fun. The storyline here is one that I would like to see truly revisited and remade today or even a cleaner version of it since the end of the world stories are a big favorite. There’s a very good dark nature to all of this that does a great job of combining different factors and it still holds up well after all these years. The story of true love that will bring about the end of the world is handled with lots of blood, lots of tentacles and heavy use of dark colors and women exploding. It’s not for everyone but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t still work for me.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Kitty Media
Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.