3x3 Eyes

Official Blurb:

"On the streets of Tokyo, young Yakumo Fujii meets a girl named Pai. Yakumo discovers that Pai is carrying a letter from his father Satoru Fujii, who has been dead for four years. The letter tells of the ancient and powerful race called the Triclops (Sanjiyan Uakara) who hold the secret of immortality. Young Pai (now over 300 years old) is the race's sole survivor and desperately wants to become a human. Her only hope lies with The Statue of Humanity (The Ningen), an artefact from before the dawn of mankind. And Yakumo must help her find it...Yakumo's reluctance is soon forgotten when he is viciously attacked by Takuhii, a freakish flying monster which is raging through the Tokyo streets. Pai miraculously saves his life but Yakumo is left marked with the Sign of the Wu, symbol of nothingness. Now Yakumo also must struggle to regain his identity. A struggle which catapaults both he and Pai towards supernatural forces they barrly comprehend and must conquer to survive."

Creator:         Yuzo Takada
Director:        Daisuke Nishio
Copyright:       Yuzo Takada/Kodanshz/Plex/Star Child

First release:
Language Format: English Language
Running time:    58/58 mins
Certificate:     18/18
Label:           Manga Video
Catalogue no:    MANV 1007/MANV 1019
Price:           £10.99 each
Release Date:    5th Apr/6th Sept 1993

Compilation version:
Language Format: English Language
Running time:    116 mins
Certificate:     18
Label:           Manga Video
Catalogue no:    MANV 1167
Price:           £12.99
Release Date:    9th December 1996


Volume 1:

Yakumo's father has been absent in Tibet for several years, looking for the fabled "3 eyes" race. Yakumo knocks over with his scooter a strange girl who, when he takes her to the transvestite bar where he works, turns out to have been looking for him with a letter from his father. Yakumo is almost killed by Pai's pet monster bird Takuhi, and to save his life she makes him into a 'Wu', an indestructible being. Yakumo and Pai's lives are now inextricably bound together. The first episode (first 5 chapters) continues with a trip to Hong Kong in search of a three- faced statue which hopefully will turn Pai into a human. The likeable characters and exciting storyline make this one of the better pieces of recent anime, though the animation isn't anything special. The Japanese version is in 4 x 30 minute episodes.

Having seen the Japanese original, I was astonished to see "cert. PG" in advance publicity material. Apparently somebody besides myself realised this was a mistake, for a note later arrived saying that "3x3 EYES has now been confirmed by the BBFC as certificate 18, not certificate PG as previously stated." Mutterings of controversy continue, but it was obvious to me that this could never be a British PG! While 3x3 EYES is no UROTSUKI DOJI, it does have some rather bloody and disturbing scenes of a kind not found in the cert. 15 rated PROJECT A-KO and DOMINION. On the other hand, the main characters in 3x3 EYES are of high school age (Yakumo, the principal male character is 16, and Pai looks about the same age) so in Japan it was obviously expected that high school students would buy the OVAs. Indeed, the script gives some interesting insights into the lives of Japanese school students.

Pai has met Yakumo's father in Tibet, and after a four-year search finds Yakumo in Tokyo. At moments of crisis Pai's 300 year old San-ji-yan (3 eyes) personality takes over and a mysterious third eye opens on her forehead and she acquires various powers.

As for the Manga Video version, it is dubbed into American in much the same style as the PROJECT A-KO dub, and (invisibly to British buyers) the credits between the OVAs have been deleted, along with a short scene/credit sequence at the airport. Two different voices have been used for Pai as herself and as San-ji-yan, the former being very little-girlish. This makes Pai's dual personality much more evident than in the original. The voice of the frog-demon is so guttral as to be almost unintelligible. The plot of the first half-hour is as confusing as ever; and as that bit alone runs to ten chapters (five books) in the Studio Proteus translated manga, I can't explain it all here; you'd do better to track down the manga and read that.

This is one of MV's better releases. A complex and interesting series and well worth a look. [Geoff Cowie]

Volume 2:

At the end of Part 1, Yakumo and Pai go off to Hong Kong in search of the Ningen, a mysterious statue of Humanity which should restore Yakumo to normal and turn Pai into an ordinary human. As Part Two opens they are still trying, and sinister and baffling events soon ensue.

Those who have seen Part 1 will already feel involved with the principal characters. A new major character, Mai Shin, appears in Part Two, and without giving too much away, there are more nasty thrills and a few sentimental moments, leading to a poignant climax. The animation is quite attractive, with a few striking images, and the music is good. Despite the annoying American dub and what seems to be a rather free translation, this is easily the best of September 1993's releases. [Geoff Cowie]