Released: 1986 (Slum King), 1988 (Evil Town), 1990 (Hell’s Wind)
Genre: Anime / Action / Horror
IMDB Rating: 5.3 (Slum King), 5.4 (Evil Town), 5.1 (Hell’s Wind) / 10
It’s been quite a while since my last run-in with anime when I was touched in a bad place by Urotsukidōji IV: Inferno Road. Given my complete lack of knowledge of the Japanese language I’m still trying to decide on the best way to watch the final episode in Overfiend’s saga, but I felt that it was time to bring the weird back to the World of Weird.
And so I settled on Violence Jack. It wasn’t nearly as soul-destroying as the Overfiend’s series, and for that I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies, but on the other hand it wasn’t nearly as much fun because I don’t need to undergo several counselling sessions to build myself back up. Perhaps I should be happy about that, but for some odd reason I’m not.
The stories in each OVA don’t overlap with one another so I’ll deal with them separately, but they do all feature Violence Jack (obviously) in a near-future world where the Kanto region in Japan has been devastated by an asteroid strike and subsequent earthquakes and other natural disasters. I guess the Indigo League will need to move.
Fuck only knows what the plot of this installment was. I watched all its 38 minutes of runtime had to offer, but everything I got out of it can be summarised thusly:
- Asteroid strikes Japan, chaos ensues.
- Mad Max-style breakdown of society.
- Angry bikers rock up.
- Angry bikers kidnap women to run their BDSM-inspired slave ring.
- Star-crossed lovers (?)
- Violence Jack rocks up to protect the weak and emancipate the subs from the doms.
- Helicopter crash
- Phoenix (?) flying across a beautiful dawn sky.
Ostensibly the most violent and deplorable of the Violence Jack OVAs, this was at least a lot easier to follow.
Following the earthquakes that rocked Kanto part of the Tokyo Underground has been completely sealed off from ground-level. The trapped survivors have broken off into what are essentially three tiny city states: Section A has all the white-collar survivors, who are trying to re-establish some kind of civil order; Section B has all the crazies and the loons who are headed up by Mad Saurus and his assistant Blue (who is either a transsexual or the victim of poor voice casting choices); and Section C, which is comprised entirely of models who got stuck on a train.
After being released from a concrete tomb Jack does the rounds for a bit before deciding that his brute strength is needed most in Section C after the women give him a little history of what’s been going on down in the Underground (all non-consensual sex, all the time). It’s up to Jack to help the ladies find a way out of the Underground before they fall victims to the outright loons in Section B and the suppressed loons in Section A.
At least some form of normal society remains in the ravaged Kanto region: Hope Town. Hope Town’s a tiny little place filled with good people who are just trying to rebuild their lives and regain some sense of normality. That is, until Hell’s Wind blows into town. Hell’s Wind are a group of deranged bikers who were once a small nuisance but who have really found themselves in this apocalyptic wasteland.
The people of Hell’s Wind are arguably more interested in destruction and personal violation than they are in stealing supplies, and when faced with that type of foe you need to meet violence with yet more violence (Jack). Jack will be assisted by Jun, a young secretary-type turned fuming Amazon who’s single-mindedly determined to get revenge on Hell’s Wind for ripping her boyfriend in two with a chainsaw. Hell hath no fury and all that I suppose.
Much like the story line, you have to hang in there and wait for it to gradually get better.
In ‘Slum King’ the animation was horrible, where in fact most of what was on-screen was either a still photo with some effects added on, or a repeat shot of something else we’ve already seen just being played again for a different scenario. Coupled with the very weak story the poor animation made for a very bland and uninteresting romp.
‘Evil Town’ and ‘Hell’s Wind’ were much better off as the animation was brought up to standard. ‘Hell’s Wind’ is the best of the two by a slim margin, which I attribute to it being the most recent of the lot, but in both you really do get to see the intestines flying in all their squishy, blood-dripping glory. It’s such a pity that 3D wasn’t as advanced when this was made as it is today.
Boredom and disappointment.
Perhaps others will disagree, and maybe I’m running the risk of sounding like a completely unstable individual, but my primary disappointment with Violence Jack is that I didn’t find it to be particularly violent. To qualify that, there is a lot of killing going on, and a fair amount of blood is flying all over the place. With that said, however, the killing is largely a slash-kill-blood-next affair, rather than the sadistic violence I have been subjected to in other anime.
My main way of judging anime of this sort is by how uncomfortable it makes me when I watch it, and with one or two slight exceptions in ‘Evil Town’ Violence Jack didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. This is not the kind of letdown I want to feel when I’ve psyched myself up and whipped out the good poncho in anticipation of flying bodily fluids that hardly materialise.
My Final Rating: 4 / 10
Buy Violence Jack at Amazon.com