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Wicked City review

Could you live a lie if it was your job? In April 1987, we watched as Taki lived as an electronics salesman by day, and a Black Guard by night, watching over the barrier between our world... and theirs.

Directing this 82 minute animation/fantasy/horror/sci-fi is Yoshiaki Kawajiri.

Some of the English voice cast is: Gregory Snegoff as Taki Renzaburo, Gaye Kruger as Makie, Mike Reynolds as Giuseppi Mayart, Edie Mirman as Kanako/Spider Woman and Jeff Winkless as Mr. Shadow.

Every few hundred years a new treaty must be signed to keep the continued peace between our world, and a demon world called Black World. Because not everyone from Black World agrees with the treaty, sometimes someone from their side will cross over into our world and cause trouble. That's where the Black Guards come in, they protect and keep the peace in our world. As luck would have it, the treaty is up for renewal. Since both sides want to keep the peace, a Black Guard from our world and theirs is sent to protect Mr. Mayart until it's time for him to do his part to renew the treaty. Unfortunately, a group called The Radicals from the Black World have shown up to stop the treaty renewal. Agents Taki and Makie don't know it yet, but this job is about to get difficult.

Originally this anime adaption of Hideyuki Kikuchi's Wicked City novel series was only a 35 minute short that Kawajiri was asked to direct by Japan Home Video. After seeing the finished product, Kawajiri was then told that they would like to see a feature length version of it. By 1992 there had been both an anime and a live action film (both films share the same name) that was loosely based off of Kikuchi's first book in the Wicked City series. Now, if you recognize the name Hideyuki Kikuchi but can't remember why, that may be because Kikuchi is also known for writing the popular Vampire Hunter D series.

Writer Kisei Choo wrote the story for this one and it's one I've always dug watching. It's a supernatural story that's about two worlds trying to find a way to coexist. The script is pretty simple, but gets the job done. Not a lot of time is wasted dancing around the story, they get to it and let it unfold.

The playthrough is pretty cool and the animators came up with some pretty imaginative stuff. It has a good pace and moves pretty steady. There are only a couple spots where everything slows down for a second, but gets going again so it never gets boring. So with everything going on between the story and the effects it held my attention with no problem. The only complaint I have is that it's over too soon. By the end I was wanting to see more.

As for the animation, everything looked good. Now the movement isn't always smooth and flowing but it's small moments, so it's nothing that distracts from the film. Even though we get to see what some of the Black World inhabits look like, I wouldn't have minded getting thrown across the barrier and seeing what the other side was like because the animators came up with some pretty cool looking characters, so I can only imagine what was on the other side.

Overall, yeah, this is a good one and worth the time to catch it. No, this one isn't non-stop gore every second, but it does have some killer scenes that make it worth catching.

Side note, you can find this one under a couple of other names like (the original title) Yoju Toshi and Supernatural Beast City.

It's rated UR (unrated) but has language, nudity and violence.

3 stars