3x3 Eyes (1991)

 

Format: 4 30-minute OVA episodes on one DVD (Collector’s Edition including sequel series is available)

 

Rating: R (AC, GV)

 

Type: Supernatural

 

American Production: Pioneer (now Geneon)

 

Japanese Production: Kodansha/Toei

 

Grading

 

Premise:

B

Story:

C+

Writing:

C+

Character Design:

C+

Animation:

C

Artistic Merits:

C+

English Dub:

C+

Musical Score:

B

Opener:

n/a

Closer:

C

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a

Action Content:

B-

Drama Content:

C+

 

 

DVD Presentation:

not reviewed

DVD Extras:

not reviewed

 

 

OVERALL:

C+

 

Synopsis

      Yakumo, a teen-age lad whose father left him behind in Japan to go off on an archeological dig in Tibet, has led a tough life. He lives on his own, attends school, and to make ends meet he works at an establishment where all of the waitresses are actually transvestites. Only a tight-knit group of friends keeps him sane. His world suddenly gets much stranger when, while riding on a scooter, he accidentally runs into a Chinese girl named Pai. He soon learns that Pai was actually sent to look for him by his father, who had promised to help her in an important task. Because he was dying, he passed the responsibility for helping Pai in her task down to his son. To Yakumo’s disbelief the “important task” turns out to be helping Pai obtain a special statue so she can perform a mystical ceremony that will make her become human.

      The ceremony is necessary, Yakumo learns, because Pai is the last of the Sanjiyan-Ungara, a race of immortal triclops. When her third eye (in the middle of her forehead) is closed, it disappears and she appears and behaves as just a normal girl. When it is open, a second personality emerges and she has access to enormous supernatural power. The rest of her kind have forsaken their immortality by interbreeding with humans, and have thus either died or been killed off. Pai doesn’t want to remain as the last of her kind, thus her desire to become human. Getting involved with her is dangerous for Yakumo, however. In fact, he gets killed three times in the first fifteen minutes of the first episode by various supernatural threats. The reason he can keep coming back is because, after the first time, Pai uses her powers to join their souls and give him the Mark of the Void (a Japanese symbol on his forehead), which means that Yakomo is immortal. As long as Pai is alive, Yakomo can come back from any degree of physical harm. When she becomes human, he regains his humanity as well. That won’t be easy however, because forces from Pai’s past are also conspiring to gain control over the same special statue in order to bring back a powerful leader from the past.

 

The Long View

      Based on a long-running and popular manga title, Eyes delves heavily into the supernatural realm, with magic and demonic figures being commonplace. The premise is interesting, the gimmick of Yakumo being able to come back from incredible physical trauma is clever, and there is an inkling of a love story developing between Pai and Yakumo, but overall the story is very run-of-the-mill in execution. If you’ve watched a fair amount of supernatural anime then there’s little here you haven’t seen before. Still, the episodes do move along at a fairly brisk pace so it’s hard to become bored with them, and Pai herself is an intriguing dichotomy

      Although the artwork for Eyes isn’t bad, neither it nor the animation or character design is particularly distinctive. Yakumo walking around with his eyes closed all the time is disconcerting, but that is balanced out by how effective the artistry is at portraying the entirely different moods of Pai’s two personalities. The soundtrack, which is eerily reminiscent of Braveheart (and, to a lesser extent, Princess Mononoke), is sometimes overly dramatic but at other times elevates the caliber of the scenes to a level they wouldn’t otherwise achieve. The voice work is unremarkable.

      Eyes is a fairly brutal story, with considerable graphic imagery and more blood than most slasher films; this is not a movie for children or the squeamish. There are some titillating scenes but no actual nudity, but the rating could easily be earned based on the violence alone.

 

DVD Extras

      The DVD has not been reviewed.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Pai/Sanjiyan

Brigitte Bako

Yakumo

Christian Campbell

Mei-Shin

Erin Matthews

Benares

Earl Boen

Steve Long

Bill Faggerbakke

Lee Ling-Ling

Susan Chesler

Hide

Greg Weisman*

Tatsuya, minor roles

Rick Simone

Mama

Keith David

Professor Fujii, Ryouko

Keith Szarabajka

Mrs. Wong, newscaster

Jean Gilpin

Natsuko

Mia Korf

Chou, minor roles

Yujii Okumoto

Frog Demon

Taleisen Jaffe

 

            * - Also the ADR Director and Story Editor

 

 

 

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