When I was around 10-11 here in the UK a anime publishing company called Manga Entertainment were becoming hugely popular. They were introducing young animation fans to a world of cartoons that beyond Ulysses 31 and Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors we had never seen. Quite quickly they realised that their biggest successes where the more violent and sexually perverse animes and before to long they brought us the most violent and perverse of them all. Urotsukidoji: Legend Of The Overfiend. This film, even in it’s edited form, was one of the most extreme animes to receive a UK release. How does it hold up today? Click the link for my views.
Urotsukidoji still, to this day, is as dark, violent and sexually messed up as it ever was. The UK release is still edited to hell but man it really doesn’t lose any of it’s impact because of it. Not 5 minutes goes by without someone getting disemboweled, raped or both at the same time. Well OK sometimes it’s a little more than 5 minutes. Most of the time these acts of violence are caused by giant tentacle penises. So there’s a mental image for you.
The story revolves around a Man-Beast called Amano Jyaku and his search for a god like creature called the Chojin that will unite the 3 worlds of the Humans, Man-Beasts and Demons to create a utopia for all. The Chojin’s spirit is contained within someone on Earth and as is typical of pretty much any anime based around some form of demonic fate it’s always in the least likely of heroes. In this case the Chojin resides within Tatsuo Nagumo, a high school student that has serious issues with controlling his urges. We’re introduced to him as he spies on a group of girls, including his dream girl Akemi Ito, getting changed in the school girls gym locker room. Obviously he’s having a good old wank at the time. He’s quickly embarrassed by the school jock, and Amano’s hot tip for the Chojin, Norikazu Ozaki.
Obviously things aren’t how they seem and as the film progresses all sorts of bad stuff goes down before Amanao realises that Tatsuo is the real Chojin. Amano’s sister Megumi joins him on this 300 year search and, presumably because she’s a woman, she was right about who the Chojin was all along. See how I made a joke about how women are always right and stuff? Yeah, it was totally not worth it.
Thanks in part to a lot of BBFC enforced edits on this film large quantities of the shots are clearly cropped and zoomed in on to avoid some of the more grotesque moments. To be honest it really doesn’t effect too much of the films impact because what it suggests is happening is more than enough for your mind grapes to go wild over. It is pretty easy to get hold of an unedited version though if you look in the right corners of the internet though. I’d say the only recent anime to come close to this films graphic depictions of violence was Gantz and even that lacked the impact Urotsukidoji had.
This is a perverse and disturbing film but at the same time it’s utterly engaging to watch. You’ll either be dragged in by how terrible the storytelling or characterisation is or you’ll be spending the film cracking up at just how over the top it is. It has that same quality some of the best 80s horror movies had where you partly watch out of morbid curiosity. It is by no means a good film but it is one that any anime fan will have to watch at some point just so they can say they’ve seen it. Hell I’d say you’re not a true fan of the genre until you’ve taken in Urotsukidoji’s twisted delights as you will have failed to head all the way to the extreme edges of what the world of Japanese anime has to offer. On the other end of the scale you must also watch either Lucky Star or Hamtaro at some point.
As mentioned before the characterisation is really shoddy here. Everyone is an archetype, which is admittedly very common in Japanese anime. Characters react in very strange ways to the events going on around them. Akemi in particular seems to take being raped by a lesbian demon teacher in her stride. She’s upset for one evening and a few days later is getting all dirty with Tatsuo. I guess you could say that was the result of shock maybe but she doesn’t make much of a mention of her ordeal after the night it happens. She is later assaulted again by a dude who has a demon cock and then still takes the time after that, and after a particularly bloody battle, to get banged by Tatsuo in full demon form. Don’t go into this expecting much more than basic characters getting killed and tentacle raped and you’ll likely leave happy though. There’s a few saggy moments with the story in the last 40 minutes or so but generally this film does move along with quite a pace.
Overall Urotsukidoji is a film you need to see if you’ve ever been a fan of the darker edges of anime and horror. It’s a cult classic and it contains imagery that will likely stay with you long after viewing. Despite it’s very clear story and good taste issues the world that Urotsukidoji is set in is a very rich fantasy setting. One I’d like to see revisited one day in maybe a more well plotted manner. It’s actually a little bit of a shame that in recent years the more extreme side of anime has given way to the modern anime which is overly focused on stories of friendship, teamwork and a constant drive to be the best. All good lessons for kids I’m sure but sometimes you just wanna see people getting torn to pieces by laser firing penises. Well I don’t, but I’m sure you do. Sick bastards.