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Wicked City

a.k.a. Yoju Toshi

wcity-2
Genre: Action
Company: Tacoma Studio Video Art
Format: 1 movie
Dates: 4/25/1987

For centuries the residents of the Earth realm have lived in tranquility, a peaceful cessation of hostilities with the demon world enforced by an armistice. The pact is up for renewal, however, and certain elements from the demon world thirst for blood. Taki and his partner, the mysterious Makie, are assigned to the task of making sure the resigning goes without a hitch. Unfortunately for them, things get a bit rough as the demon terrorists stop at nothing to ensure years of bloody war.

summary by Kain

 

Reviewed: 09/28/2001 by
Grade: 79% av-Kain

Highs: Oodles of stylish horror; film noir meets anime, at last

Lows: The narrow-minded and uninitiated will write if off as porn; some scenes are blatant ecchi fan service and add nothing

When I first watched Wicked City, I was at a point in my anime “career” where I was a tad bit green. So distracted was I by elements that many would consider hentai, that I had overlooked the rest. I’m glad I got back to this one with a better perspective of what it has to offer.

By no means is this a great anime. There are moments of gratuitous sexual violence which could have been left out and would have helped the pacing of the story. Don’t take that statement the wrong way; the scenes aren’t bad because they display material of a lewd nature, but are bad because they have no place in terms of plot advancement.

Aside from that, however, what we have here is anime’s answer to film noir-ish flicks like Pulp Fiction. Mixed in with the brooding nature of this movie are scenes of intense horror that actually had a rather stoic viewer such as myself cringing, as they should. A sleek drawing style and the use of cool blues for its dominant color scheme contribute heavily to the dark settings.

Those fans of film noir and/or horror will find something to like here. It was a bit too unnecessarily ecchi for me, but otherwise I found it thoroughly enjoyable. One bit I might be concerned about is that Wicked City does nothing to squelch the notion that all anime are filled with pornography. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

 

Reviewed: 03/27/2003 by
Grade: 71% av-Kjeldoran

Highs: Chill-inducing designs; suspense and action done well

Lows: Leaves an awful aftertaste; comedy and romance are out of place

You need to be careful when watching Wicked City. Show this movie to any of the soccer moms out there and we will never see animated features again. If you have the stomach for blood, sex and ultra-violence… and would like to see it mix with an actual plot for once… this anime is worth a look.

The dark, limited palette seems unappealing at first but turns out to be a crucial element in the gloomy mood this anime sets. The main factor is, however, the creature design; I have never witnessed such horrific depiction of demons and their abilities, but it is all in good fun and they are all very creative. What plagues most anime suspense is nevertheless present in Wicked City, notably the dreaded comic relief. Unbefitting and repetitive, comedy sure can destroy an ambiance. The romance also had the same effect. It is hard to be seduced by a love story when the lead female character is raped by demons every twenty minutes.

Hints of conspiracies and of a bigger picture gradually had me intrigued. Even as the ending includes all that it promises to deliver, the major twist is somewhat predictable and, at the same time, makes no sense. The screenwriters must have thought about it at the last minute because a ton of previous events do not compute when considering the ending.

Fans of Kawajiri Yoshiaki, best known for his designs and screen writing in Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, will surely be at ease with the graphic action; others should know that Wicked City is interesting to say the least but needs to set its priorities straight.

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