Violence Jack: Harem Bomber (1986)

DVD Cover (Manga Video)
Ichir˘ Itano Ichir˘ Itano
Tessh˘ Genda Tessh˘ Genda
Bob Sessions Bob Sessions
Shigez˘ Sasaoka Shigez˘ Sasaoka
John Bull John Bull
Norio Wakamoto Norio Wakamoto

5.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Animated Action, Animated Feature Film, Animated Sci-Fi, Animation, Anime
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Review by Ginose
Added: December 05, 2009
During my review of "Devilman", I mentioned (and by "mentioned" I mean "gave a paragraph+ long speech about") Go Nagai and the man's influence on the comic medium as well as the entertainment industry as a whole. Well, I really only scratched the surface of his work with "Devilman", as that is but one piece in his epically large collection of influential works.

Now I'm going to go on about one of his slightly less important series, that seems to only be known for (possibly) being more brutal and depraved than "Devilman" was, at it's time; I'm speaking of his post-apocalyptic mix of "Riki-Oh", "The Road Warrior" and "High Plains Drifter" known as "Violence Jack".

After a planet-shattering earthquake (the origins of which, still unknown to the remaining populous) tore apart what was Japan, many surviving groups trek across the Kanto-plain, but, at the head of it all is the terrible, powerful ruler of the wastes, the Slum King. Yet, outside of his grasp of what's left of society, there sits a mighty thorn in his plans; with the muscles of a gorilla and the fangs of a wolf, a 15-foot giant still stalks the lands, doing as he pleases, known only by the borrowed name of his legendary weapon, he is Violence Jack.

After running a truck full of soon-to-be slaves off the road, Jack makes his way to a nearby town, where the slave training/trading operations are being run, under the careful eye of one of Slum King's own generals, Harem Bomber. Amongst the men working for the business is one who has been desperately searching for the one he lost in the great quake, only to discover that she is the most recent addition to the girls in training; all the while Jack is making a mess of any and everything that looks at him funny in the town, causing quite a stir in Slum King's ranks, eventually reaching the ears of Harem Bomber himself. He, of course, cannot let such behavior stand...

Damn, I love this series. "Violence Jack" is quite the epic in its grand-scope and, having first been introduced to it by these same animations, I have a particular attachment to this film. It's use of a simple, episodic narrative coated in a thick layer of sweet, sweet sex and gore made it as charming as endearing as any post-apocalyptic epic out there. As a whole, though, the story-telling of the short film-entries is less than spectacular, and the low-budget is easily notable in the most obnoxious ways (animation, particularly).

Truth be told, I've not been too partial for this entry of the "Violence Jack" OVA series, as, though it serves as an introduction, there's just no excuse for the lack of action that takes place in its short (roughly 35 minute) runtime. I suppose it was meant to be more of a stepping stone in getting the series released to video, but it contains only a brief introduction to the characters and setting before hiking forward into a rather condensed version of one of the comic's essential story-arcs, and even manages to drown out some of the lasting impact of the "Harem Bomber"-arc to the series; that, as it is, is not really a bad thing, as the OVA series only ran three completely spontaneous and very loosely connected films. Maybe the sloppiness of this entry is justified, hell, maybe it's for the better, but it still feels rushed and condensed for any viewer, not just fans of Jack's exploits.

Still, I must give this entry its proper respect and go on advising this series to any fan of post-apocalyptia, animation or just good ol' ultra-violence. Despite it being the weakest entry of the series, it's always best to start at the beginning.

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