Thursday, January 19, 2006

Demon City Shinjuku

Demon City Shinjuku

3/5 Stars

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Studio: Cpm/Us Manga Corps
Released: January 1, 1993
Length: 82 minutes

Demon City Shinjuku is the story of a boy, Kyoya Izayoi, who must finish thetask his father began 15 years earlier, and destroy the evil sorcerer Rebi Rah before he unleashes the forces of hell on earth. With the help of his sensei, Master Rai, keeper of the mystical art of nempo, the President's daughter Sayaka and a street kid named Chibi, he must enter Shinjuku, which has been controlled by demons since his father's failure.

Directed by the renowned Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Demon City is a tamer version of his more violent, bloody, and edgy works, such as Wicked City and Ninja Scroll. Don't let that fool you however. Demon City is a great anime, and fun to watch, despite it's fairly typical demonic horror action plot and characters.

The characters are pretty typical, Kyoya is a boy who's been thrust into a situation he wasn't prepared but finds his inner strength. Sayaka is a naive young woman, mainly there are a love interest for Kyoya, and to be rescued by him. Her actions range from the naive to the incredibly stupid, such as going into the demon city alone. Chibi is a typical kid raised on the mean streets character, who' still a good kid at heart. Rebi Rah is a stereotypical, though well done villain, and is perfect for the film. Probably the most interesting character is Mephisto. Mephisto remains enigmatic throughout the film, and you're left wondering if he's a man, demon, or something else. He seems to be amazingly powerful, but his devil-may-care attitude places him in the odd situation of watching with idle curiosity as the fate of the world is decided. The anime is worth watching for him alone, in my opinion.

The art and animation are excellent for a film from the early nineties. The cityhas a horrific and haunted look to it, especially during one scene in a park haunted by those killed when the demon took over the city. Character designs are sharp and clean, and fit in well with the tone of the film. The demons and monsters are also very nice, and characteristic of Kawajiri's work. While by no means the best film in the genre, it's not the worst either. It's relative tameness compared to other demonic action pieces makes it perfect for anyone who's curious about the genre, but afraid they might not have the stomach for it. It's also great to show to friends who think anime is cutesy Pokemon and Sailor Moon type stuff.

Demon City Shinjuku (DVD)


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