Thursday, May 12, 2016

Doomed Megalopolis OVA Review

Doomed Megalopolis a four episode OVA adapting the first four novels Teito Monogatari by Hiroshi Aramata. Chronicles the vengeance quest of Katou Yasunori the spirit of a slain military officer who comes back to destroy Tokyo by doing away with the city's guardian deity Taira no Masakado. This leads Katou to become involved with the highly dysfunctional Tatsumiya family consisting of siblings Yukari and Yoichiro with Katou using Yukari as a human gateway to bring about the destruction of Tokyo. While other mystics and Sorcerers seek to avoid this destruction all while The Meiji Restoration grinds forth dragging Japan into the world more in tune with Science than the occult mysticism of Katou and his ilk. This OVA directed by Rintaro (Dagger of Kamui and X The Movie being two of his other works that have been released in America) is a mixture of outwardly bloody occultic battles, sexualized torture, and an over all ethos of dread and doom. It's in many ways now a museum piece to a previous time of Anime when titles like Ninja Scroll, Wicked City, and Vampire Hunter D were the main stay of Anime licsinsceing. Now Doomed Megalopolis feels old fashioned in its blood and gore with an industry now more replete with Moe tropes and adaptations of Manga, Light Novels, Visual Novels, and an over all cute aesthetic and character design. As a piece of visual story telling Doomed Megalopolis has amazing scenes of carnage and brutality mixed with an ethos of dread and gothic horror was the real monsters are not the summoned beasts or demonic parasites that torture poor Yukari. No the real monster in the series I feel is Yukari's brother a self-absorbed employee of the Financial Administration who cares more about public presentation while in private life he is a rapist, abuses women, and is more concerned about his personal comfort than caring for his traumatized sister. One could see the monsters in the series as an outward manifestation of the broken and unpleasant family dynamics. A sort of externalisation of inward feelings and it's this storyline the question of how one really is as opposed to how one wishes to be perceived is the stronger element to the occultic spectical of Katou trying to destroy Tokyo. A kind of occultic Id spewing forth hatred and loathing. Some will look at it as a gory piece of exploitation with little explotation of what is happening and admittedly it is hard to follow but that is more due to only haveing four episodes to adapt four books from a much larger series and Rintaro's Directoroal choices on what to focus on it's not gore for its own sake but definitely not for the squeamish. Still as a look at a different era of Anime, it is worth watching if only for the history of the medium. While the visuals are superlative in some places from the scene of Katou riding on the back of a giant occultic sting ray to the use of light shadow and how scenes are shot. The difference between the Dub and the Sub is noticeable the dub invents backstories for characters creates entire storylines and speeches out of whole cloth and overall has a grungy wooden feel in line delivery. While the Japanese track is loud bombastic and dramatic in particular because Katou's Seiyuu was (in his only Anime role that I can find) Kyusaku Shimada was and is a drama actor. While music is old synthizier and rock making it sound like a SNES promo video.

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