Mania Grade: C+
0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Audio Rating: B-
- Video Rating: C+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: TV MA
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: MVM Entertainment
- MSRP: 17.99
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Biohunter
By Bryan Morton
January 18, 2007
Release Date: April 05, 2004
What They Say
© MVM Entertainment
A strange virus known as the Demon Virus, attacks the human genetic code, transforming people into monsters with demonic powers. One particular monster is terrorizing the streets of Tokyo. ripping open young women to devour their livers. A famed psychic holds the secret to the identity and purpose of this monster. Now it is up to two molecular biologists. self-proclaimed Bio Hunters Komada and Koshigaya, to reach the psychic and his beautiful daughter before its too late! The Demon Virus is out to conquer the world...The Review!
The last of MVM's trio of "horror" releases, Bio Hunter certainly takes the prize as the goriest so far, and in a case of saving the best for last is actually a quite enjoyable little action story. "Best" isn't necessarily a compliment, though, when compared to what came before it...Audio:
Audio is provided in Japanese 2.0 and English 5.1 tracks " I listened mainly to the Japanese track for this review. There's some use made of directionality in places, but for the most part everything comes at you from the centre of the soundstage and doesn't do anything spectacular. There are no obvious encoding problems. A spot-check of the English track shows that it makes much better use of the front channels, but disappointingly for a surround track makes very little use of the rear.Video:
Showing its age a little, Bio Hunter isn't exactly the best-looking of shows. It's very dark in a lot of places, which goes to hide some of the shortcomings, but there are noticeable problems with line noise and the transfer isn't the sharpest I've seen. Nothing too serious, though. Packaging:
The front cover features Komada and Koshigaya, in suitably action-ready poses, with a demon lurking threateningly behind them. The rear features the usual disc summary, screenshots and technical information, while the reverse of the cover has coverart for a selection of other MVM releases. Decent enough, but nothing spectacular.Menu:
Menus for this release are nice & simple. The main screen is a static affair that features Komada and Koshigaya, posing behind the show's logo, with menus provided for scene select, language setup and extras. There's a glitch on the scene select menu, unfortunately, where clicking on "Main Menu" doesn't do what it says on the tin, and instead just flips between the two pages on available scenes - so don't go there. The other sub-menus fortunately behave as intended, and are quick to use.Extras:
For extras, we get Urban Vision's original US trailer " not exactly a work of art " and a gallery of 10 line-art storyboard images. Interestingly, each image provides a link to the relevant clip from the show itself, which lets you see how the storyboard image transferred into the final product. Nice touch.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Komada and Koshigaya might just seem like your typical scientific types, but in reality they're Bio Hunters in a race against time to stop a virus that turns humans into demonic mutants from taking over Japan. Komada is already infected with the virus, but unusually he has the rare power to control it. This gives him the ability to identify and destroy it in other people, but there's always the risk that he'll lose control of his demon side " so not only has he to fight a battle with the demons around him, he truly has demons within to deal with as they seek to destroy him.
A series of murders in Tokyo grab the pair's attention - each victim has been brutally killed, their intestines ripped out, and Komada is convinced that "they" - carriers of the Demon Virus - are responsible for the attacks. Before he can investigate further, though, a run-in with a group of thugs introduces him to young woman Sayaka Murakami, who he instinctively knows has some connection to the virus. Sayaka's grandfather had also taken an interest in the recent string of killings, but now he's gone missing, and the Yakuza are on his & Sayaka's trail. Keen to follow up any opportunity to learn more of the virus, the boys decide to help Sayaka out. Meanwhile, the killings continue - will Sayaka be able to lead them to the perpetrator? Or will Komada lose control of the bloodlust that the virus has created within him?
Saying Komada can control the virus is maybe stretching the point a little - control when it's powers begin to exhibit themselves, maybe, but getting himself back under control is easier said than done, and poor Sayaka almost ends up as lunchmeat on one or two occasions as a result. Full marks for effort, though - and the obvious chemistry between Komada and Sayaka makes his efforts to control himself all the more interesting.
Sayaka's grandfather is almost a comedy extra in some ways, as he's the sort of wizened, enigmatic old character you'd be more expecting to find in Inu Yasha than this sort of show. He's a fortune teller - and not the "tell them what they want to hear" type, either, but the real deal. There's some suitably scientific-sounding jargon dished up to explain his prescience, but that's best ignored in favour of simply understanding his abilities.
As for the other two, Koshigaya's the brains of the outfit while Komada's demonic side provides the brawn - although to be honest, there's not much in the way of brain needed in this story, so Koshigaya gets sadly underused. Komada provides some scenes that are very Incredible Hulk and Evil Dead-like (you'll know what I mean when you see them) - I don't know if they were deliberate references, but they certainly raised a chuckle.
And that's maybe Bio Hunter's biggest problem - it's marketed as a horror, not a comedy, but while there are the occasional gory moments there's nothing really here that will actively scare you, unless you're about 5 years old. The story's not bad, the characters are likeable enough, but it fails by not doing what it set out to do, so if you're looking for something truly horrific this is unlikely to please. In summary:
Bio Hunter in the end doesn't really live up to its billing " horror shows are meant to scare you, and despite its 18 rating this won't. That said, it's enjoyable enough in its own right " there are other things it manages to do right that make it a decent tale. It's certainly not a classic, but especially as a rental may be worth a look anyway.
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Original Trailer,Storyboard Images
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.