"Back in the seventh century the ogre Shutendoji was defeated in Kyoto by Yoshimitsu Minamoto. Fast forward to the present and high school student Jiro Shutendo, the offspring of human and ogre blood, who possesses great but as yet unawakened mystical powers. He could lead mankind to Paradise -or to Hell-but can he use his ogre heritage to battle the great evil now threatening the human world?"
Director: Junji Nishimura Screenplay: Masashi Sogo Original work: Go Nagai Copyright: Go Nagai/Dynamic Planning, Inc./Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. VHS version: Language: Japanese with English subtitles Label: ADV Films Volume: 1 2 3 Running time: 50 mins 50 mins 50 mins Certificate: 18 (cut) 18 (cut) 18 Catalogue no: VHSSD/001S VHSSD/002S VHSSD/003S Price: £12.99 £12.99 £12.99 Release Date: 6th Apr 1998 8th June 1998 3rd Aug 1998
The people of He'ankyo witness a battle between a group of Oni, one of whom carries a baby in its mouth. The scene cuts to deep space where the battle between the Oni causes ships to explode. Another cut takes us to the modern day where a young newlywed couple, Kyoko and Ryuichiro, are visiting a temple. The battling Oni appear, and the one carrying the child is victorious. He presents the child to the couple and asks them to raise him. "I shall return for him in 15 years" says the demon and disappears. Kyoko and Ryuichiro name the boy Jiro Shutendo (referencing an ancient legend). The story then cuts to 15 years later when Jiro is at high school.
Jiro exhibits strange powers but is plagued by nightmares. When he is run over, Jiro is forced to come to terms with who he is. Other oni, led by Kitani the conjuror, pursue him but other forces intervene to protect Jiro. Using his classmate, Miyuki Shiratori as bait, the "bad" oni lure Jiro into a trap . .
Entitled Hyoki, this tape is the first of (according to Helen McCarthy's Anime Movie Guide) four OVAs. I'm not a great fan of Go Nagai, so I approached Shuten Doji with some trepidation. Although having a number of "etchi" scenes, Shuten Doji is no Urotsukidoji. It is story-driven, with the mystery of Jiro as it's focus. Of course, being the first part of a longer story the plot is incomplete, many of the mysteries of "hyoki" remain unexplained and are carried forward into later episodes.
Made in 1989, the animation and character designs are noticeably dated, though most backgrounds are nicely illustrated. When placed alongside more modern OVAs, most of which rely on "eye-candy" to catch and maintain their audience, Shuten Doji has a tough time. It doesn't have the most original plot in the world, and though watchable. could never be described as brilliant. It comes as no surprise that Shuten Doji has never attained the following of Nagai's other work (like Devilman or Cutey Honey).
Rating: 3 out of 5 [Chris Hartford]
Jeff Williamson: SHUTEN DOJI is yet another of the Go Nagai leftovers AD Vision has been releasing of late. This one seems to have some character design elements direct from Nagai, though the original concept is credited to him rather than the actual story. It reminds me of another 'DOJI, namely UROTSUKI. It's kind of a lite version of the Overfiend cycle, with the main character, SHUTENDO JIro, playing the part of the kid who has no idea what kind of power he really wields. There's some minor H stuff, some lackadaisical nudity, and ugly monsters with thuggish retainers. There's also an ending which is disappointing in its Deus-Ex-ness, though it retains a minor element of surprise. Unfortunately, it also leaves the whole thing feeling rather incomplete. The part I actually liked the most was the beginning, with its double-Oni conflict, and the "gentle giant" giving over the child to the young couple. Oh, and Shimamoto Sumi plays the love interest, whom Jiro seems not the least interested in--until she's in danger. Final Grade: D+ (Bleah overall, one or two bright spots, ask yourself if it's worth 40-odd minutes of your time.)