Demon City Shinjuku [1988]

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  1. Abishai100
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    Demon City Shinjuku is a novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi that was adapted into an original video animation (OVA) in 1988, directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The title has also been translated as Hell City Shinjuku and Monster City. The film was released in North America by Central Park Media in 1994. Portions of the opening fight scene were featured in the 1995 cyberpunk film Johnny Mnemonic (source of information: Wikipedia).

    Japanese anime has grown tremendously in popularity since the 1970s, and iconic titles such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Vampire Hunter D have become hallmarks for fans of anime and manga-anime hybrids.

    Demon City Shinjuku is a terrific foray into the dystopian world of ghouls, travelling warriors, damsels, and princes. It's an under-rated gem in the world of Japanese anime. I think its Western-sensibility stylistics, though subtle, makes the film feel more like a basic American animated action-adventure graphic film rather than an authentic/esoteric anime. I like Demon City (personally) better than Akira (a really revered film in this genre), though it's a tad gloomy/gothic in terms of doom-storytelling.

    Japanese storytellers seem to love themes about desperation and unexpected creativity...



    :5_1_12024:

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    The film begins with a battle between former friends, the evil Rebi Ra (also pronounced Levi Ra) versus the short-lived hero Genichirou. Rebi Ra has allowed himself to be possessed in order to gain the incredible powers of evil and plans to summon demons to conquer the world. Defeating Genichirou and destroying Shinjuku, a part of Tokyo, with a devastating earthquake, the area becomes a demon-haunted wilderness (source of summary: Wikipedia).

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    Ten years later, the World President, put in place to uphold world peace, is attacked by Rebi Ra with cursed plants indirectly to keep his old master, Aguni Rai, as the protector of the president, occupied. However, Rebi Ra did not know that Genichirou had a son who inherited his powers and more. After an emotional plea from the president's daughter, Sayaka Rama, the unlikely hero Kyoya Izayoi follows her deep into the heart of the evil city, finding new allies and terrifying enemies along the way (source of summary: Wikipedia).

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    Kyoya is the only one who can stop Rebi Ra, and he opts to take up the challenge after being moved by the pleas of the lovely damsel Sayaka Rama.

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    I'd compare the stylistics of Demon City to the sensitivity-oriented bravado of the original 1990s X-Men: The Animated Series, especially since apocalyptic/doom themes nicely-complement surprising soft-touches and moments of humanistic romance. There can also be made some nice similarities to Todd McFarlane's oddly-noir Spawn animated-series (HBO) from the 1990s. If you're trying to get into Japanese anime, I'd definitely start with Demon City. It'll get you thinking about the odd 'idealization' of survivalism...and urban moodiness(!).

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