Friday, July 27, 2012

Shuten Doji Anime Review

Shuten Doji
ADV Films
Complete Collection - 2 discs
200 mins. - 4 episodes
$26.98 (2009) w/Mazinkaiser
$29.98 (2005) Vol. 1
$29.98 (2005) Vol. 2
ISBN 702727206221
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Junji Nishimura/Jun Kawagoe/Masatomo Sudo
Studio - Nippon Columbia/Studio Signal

Synopsis: We start with a battle across time and space between several giant demons called Oni for the life of a baby.  The battle ends with the demon Senki giving the baby to a human couple and warning them he will return in 15 years to collect the boy.  Fast forward 15 years to Jiro Shutendo, high school student, whose parents are agonizing over the return of the demon to take away their cherished son.  Jiro is a regular young man with an intense aura.  His classmate Miyuki has a crush on him, but he warns her off due to his malevolent aura.
Senki protects a baby Jiro by carrying him around in his mouth
A secret society of demon worshipers is targeting Jiro and attacks those close to him.  Jiro is supposed to be the prophesied 'Shuten Doji' (pronounced sh-ten doji) which is a positive opposing force among the Oni.  Now he must harness the growing darkness within himself to protect those he loves.  Will his parents lose their adopted son to his demonic true nature?
Jiro's parents try to save him as the demonic forces descend
The battle will take him across space and time, but allies rise to aid his quest: a group of teens indoctrinated from birth to support the Shuten Doji, two powerful Oni named Goki and Senki, and a giant figure floating in the remote recesses of outer space.  What caused the Oni clan's destructive nature and can Jiro solve the mystery in time to save those most dear to him?
Jiro rushes to save a naked and vulnerable Miyuki
Pros: Giant demons ripping each other apart, Miyuki is naked...a lot, high death count of cool characters (i.e. unexpected), neat sci-fi segway in chapter 3 (really enjoyed Jiro in space and Iron Caesar)
Jiro gets examined in his Shuten Doji form
Cons: No extras, no opening or ending themes, plot is really convoluted, the ending explanation is confusing and mildly unsatisfying, old animation style (this came out in 1989-1991), Miyuki's character seems to only serve the purpose of having her clothes ripped off and being victimized by the bad guys
An Oni named Goki comes to Jiro's father's aid
Mike Tells It Straight: Go Nagai (creator of Mazinger Z, Mazinkaiser, Demon Lord Dante, Getter Robo, Devilman, Cutey Honey, Kekko Kamen and about a hundred other manga/anime) we meet again!  Another anime title based on his work with a heavy dose of violence and nudity.  Shuten Doji is dark, perverted, and filled with demons.  It's classic old skool anime from the late '80s/early '90s targeted at an immature audience.  
A spaceship in the far flung future encounters a massive body
floating in a remote region of space
Horror fans will likely enjoy this show, but it's pretty simple and doesn't offer any real complexity other than the lame reasoning for the Oni clan's violence (from the final episode).  I found it somewhat entertaining (what can I say - I'm a sucker for old skool!) and actually enjoyed the segway into outer space.  The authors are utterly merciless with the supporting character death count - this is good because it keeps you guessing/in suspense on who is going to die next!
Oh hey, it's Jiro!  He's been floating in space for awhile
and just forgot his normal proportions
Overall an old, mediocre anime with a bunch of monsters killing stuff for a ridiculous reason (as explained in the final episode).  Can't say there's much suspense or build up of emotion here aside from characters getting offed fairly regularly.  If you liked Demon Lord Dante then you will probably like this one - although Demon Lord Dante was better and that's kind of a bad sign!  Until we meet again, Go Nagai.


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