DEMON CITY SHINJUKU (1993)

 

Format: 82-minutes feature

 

Rating: R (BN, AC, AL, GV)

 

Type: Supernatural Action

 

American Production: U.S. Manga Corps

 

Japanese Production: Madhouse/Japan Home Video

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C

Story:

C

Writing:

C

Character Design:

B

Animation:

C+

Artistic Merits:

C+

English Dub:

C-

Musical Score:

D-

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a

Action Content:

B-

Drama Content:

C

 

 

DVD Presentation:

D

DVD Extras:

D

 

 

OVERALL:

C

 

Synopsis

††††† A man, Rebi Ra, has made a pact with demons that will grant him great power in exchange for his efforts to open a gateway to Hell and allow demons to flood into our world and spread chaos and destruction. To prepare for this he executes a powerful spell that separates central Tokyo(the Shinjuku district) from the rest of the city. Years later, as his scheme is coming to fruition, the current President also becomes threatened by Rebi Raís power (presumably because heís an effective peacemaker, although this point is never made clear). Both to save him and to end the threat Rebi Ra poses to mankind, two intrepid young heroes - one the son of the man who had originally tried to thwart the villain, the other the daughter of the President - set off into Demon City (Monster City in the English dub) to try to confront the villain. Demon City is such a nasty place, though, that just getting to the villain is a trial in of itself.

 

The Long View

††††† Demon City follows in the style of Ninja Scroll and Wicked City, but isnít as edgy or graphic as either of those classic. Although it is decent enough entertainment, it will never be mistaken as one of the better anime releases. The technical merits are respectable but the soundtrack is awful; itís actually a distraction in places. The story is filled with so many logical gaps that the whole plot falls apart if you think about it too much. On the upside, most of the characters are engaging. Kyoya, the male lead, is a master of Nempo, a spiritual channeling discipline which allows him to pump energy through his wooden sword for some truly devastating effects. Heís also got some nice combat moves and is strikingly handsome. Sayaka Rama, the Presidentís daughter, is very pretty in her pink dress and matching hair ribbon. She doesnít have much going for her beyond compassion and unflappable courage, but this proves to be worth an awful lot; combined with her innocent love for Kyoya, itís enough to help the hero stand against the demons they face. Along the way they receive help from a midget wearing motorized skates and a tall, suave individual named Mephisto who may or may not be entirely human. Opposing them are various thugs and demons as well as Rebi Ra himself.

††††† Also deserving of special note is the English dubbing of Demon City. I generally prefer English dubbing to subtitling, but in this case Iíll make an exception. the English language version puts some odd accents to some of the characters, including a British accent for Sayaka and a thick Romanian accent for Mephisto (he sounds like Dracula), that are a bit out of place. Thereís also the whole ďMonster CityĒ versus ďDemon CityĒ thing; this is a name change that did not need to be done!

††††† The rating I have given Demon City is primarily for language, although there is some graphic violence (but mostly against demons) and a little bit of nudity. The foul language present is about as much as you would expect from a typical R-rated American movie, which is a bit unusual since swearing generally isnít as prevalent in anime as the genre equivalents in American film.

 

DVD Extras

††††† The interactive DVD menu is slow and cumbersome, and the intro for U.S. Manga Corps must be set through before each of the included previews. The provided bio and monster files are just clips from the movie itself instead of any actual information on the characters, and there are no other extras present. The liner notes are also printed on the reverse of the cover instead of being included on an insert. Itís one of the worst DVD set-ups Iíve seen to date for anime.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Kyoya

Brad Lavelle

Sayaka Rama

Theresa Gallagher

Master Rai

George Little

Chibi

Alan Sherman

Mephisto

Gareth Armstrong

Rebi Ra

Bob Sessions

 

 

 

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