Life was nice for Hinomura Yo. As a young Japanese potter with talent, he had everything going for him… until the day he witnesses a murder committed by the 108 Dragons, a syndicate consisting of the world’s greatest assassins. He is captured and brainwashed into being a perfect killer who cannot return to his old life. The only semblance of his life as a free man are the tears he sheds every time he kills his target. Hinomura Yo is no more, in his place stands the Crying Freeman.
summary by Ender
Highs: Interesting idea
Lows: Tries too hard; lack of reasoning; poor animation; painful length
Sex and violence. That’s all this series is; sex and violence. And it’s not even good sex and violence; this is pointless sex and gratuitous violence. It makes me wish I hadn’t picked it off the rental rack all those years ago.
This is another one of those examples of a good idea gone south. However, it only holds true in the first episode; the rest of the series forgets this idea to show continuous situations involving Freeman killing and sleeping with people. I don’t even know why he’s doing it. In fact, there are a lot of “whys” through out this series: why is Freeman fighting these people? Why does everyone have to be naked while they’re fighting? Why does everyone get a monologue when they die? Why does everyone look so bored all the time? Maybe at one time this might have been entertainment. Maybe.
The series, as you can tell from the dates, spreads itself over a period when anime was going through changes, both in content and in style. Unfortunately, the makers didn’t seem to realize this fact and tried their hardest to be like Ikegami Ryoichi’s original manga. Needless to say, Ikegami’s art style does not translate well into animation. We’re left with a skewered dynamic smothered with ludicrous story presentation stretched out into hour-long episodes. It becomes a chore just trying to finish one episode, let alone the whole series.
Once upon a time, when anime was scarce, Crying Freeman was considered a classic. Now, it’s just silly. Somewhere in this mess, I have the feeling that there is a classic story lurking, waiting to be realized. But that era is long over, and this type of crime/action/sex series is considerably passé. If only this series got it right the first time around. Oh well.
Crying Freeman can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.