"Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Wicked City is an animated chiller thriller. For centuries a non-aggression treaty has existed between the human world an the realm fo the demons. Without it humanityu would plunged into the terrifying and foul chaos of depravity and destruction."
"The pact is upheld by a group of undercover operatives known as the Black Guard. But the treaty is now up fpr renewal. Terrorists from both sides try to sabotage any new agreement; their target is the legendary Dr. Joseppe Malyart, without whom the Signing Ceremony cannot succeed."
"Flown in from his Italian retreat to Tokyo, where the signing is due to take place, the Doctor is put under the protection of two Black Guards. The fate of humanity is in their hands as the shadows begin to close in."
Director: Yoshiaki Kawagiri Screenplay: Maretoshi Naga Copyright: Hideyuki Kikuchi/Tokuma Shoten Publishing/ Video Art/Japan Home Video Language Format: English Language Running time: 83 mins Certificate: 18 (cut) Label: Manga Video Catalogue no: MANV 1023 Price: £12.99 Release Date: 1st November 1993 Also released in December 1996 on a double feature tape with Monster City for £12.99, and on video CD (cat no: CDV 0138).
A few years ago I came across a Chinese dub of Wicked City. I watched it for a few minutes but soon the boredom factor crept in, and I found something more interesting to do. So, when the Manga Video version arrived, I thought this was going to be a waste of time reviewing it, but I was pleasantly surprised.
This offering from Manga Video you will either like or hate! The first five minutes do not reflect the quality of the rest of the tape. The animation is jerky, and I got the feeling that I was about to watch a soft porn video. However once the story gets going things seem to improve, some animation gets quite good and some plot develops.
Wicked City is obviously aimed at Manga video's target audience, so there is a certain amount of sex, violence and exploding heads. However, there is some typically Japanese comedy. I particularly liked the old professor.
This story is a supernatural fantasy - there are two sorts of beings on the planet Earth, the humans, and the Blackside. The Blackside seems to consist of evil demons, and other supernatural spirits. A treaty is being struck between the two sides, to end centuries of fighting. To form this treaty an eminent doctor has to go to a special ceremony, which will join the two sides forever. As most of the blackside are evil spirit's, they don't want this ceremony to happen, and will do anything to stop it.
The old doctor does have two guards to look after him, or is it the other way round? One of these guards is human, and the other is from the blackside. To cut a long story short they fight together, fall in love, have sex. All the things that you would expect from a 18-certificate Manga Video. I don't what to ruin the ending for you, but lets just say that not everything is quite what it seems! The high point of the video for me, was the scene at the "Turkish Bath" it is just wonderful. Some special effects are quite good too.
A safe release from Manga Video, targeted at their market audience, and it will sell. So I expect we will see it in the HMV chart. However, for the anime fan it will only appeal to you If you like violence, exploding bodies. If you like the soft and cute end of anime (like me) you should save your money and borrow someone's copy, because this won't be a video that you will want to watch more than twice. [Steve Whitcher]