Biohunter - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Urban Vision
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Biohunter

Biohunter

By Chris Beveridge     January 30, 2001
Release Date: January 30, 2001


Biohunter
© Urban Vision


What They Say
People infected with a genetic code-altering virus, known as the “Demon Virus’, suffer horrific physical and mental changes, rendering them something more, and less, than human. They become monsters with demonic powers. One monster in particular terrorizes the streets of Tokyo, feasting on the livers of innocent women. A famed psychic holds the secret to the identity and purpose of this monster, and now he is marked for death. The Bio Hunters must get to the psychic and his beautiful daughter before it is too late!

Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s (Ninja Scroll, Wicked City) masterful writing brings Fujihiko Hosono’s popular comic book to life with style an suspense. Two molecular biologists, Komada and Koshigaya, the Bio Hunters, possess a secret weapon – Komada, infected with the virus, has the remarkable ability to control the virus within his body. He can also detect the virus in others, and destroy it. The Bio Hunters must race against time, risking both their lives and Komada’s humanity, to stop the “Demon Virus” from taking over the city. Bio Hunter is a complex adventure, filled with plot twists and pulse-pounding action.

The Review!
Demons, demon hunters and political operatives. Toss in a few dashes of sex, plenty of violence and keep the running time right. Result: A pretty decent little show.

Audio:
The usual suspects are rounded up here with the original 2.0 Japanese language track. Urban Vision goes the extra mile again and has their English track remixed into 5.1. Comparing the two tracks, the English track definitely has better sound separation. Things are much more distinct and flows better, though it's mostly just from the front soundstage and nothing from the rears. The track certainly does benefit though. The Japanese track sounds good as well, maybe a touch warmer than the remixed English one. We didn't detect any dropouts or distortion throughout either of them.

Video:
Things do get a bit shaky here at times. Early on into the program, there's some noticeable jaggies and the typical deinterlacing artifacts such as line noise. Some of the line noise is very pronounced though. During a sequence in an underground jail cell, the bars look positively alive, shimmering up and down. Very distracting. This thankfully doesn't occur much afterwards and things settle in nicely. A little bit of pixellation here and there, but the main bad areas are definitely towards the beginning.

With this being the third effort by Urban Vision, and more recent materials (the show dates 1995), the end product is definitely much better looking than the previous two, both of which scored low C's with us previously. Color saturation looks great, blacks retain their solidity and there's no ghosting visible. Hopefully as we see newer and better source materials for their shows, things will continue to improve nicely.

Packaging:
The front cover, though definitely a bit darker than it probably should be, will get the attention of the dark anime crowd pretty fast with the image of the devil-possessed staring straight out. The back cover gives a solid rundown of the show though no other pieces of animation are shown. The insert pretty much rehashes the covers with the addition of the chapter listings and some pictures of other titles.

Menus:
They're pretty simple in nature but functional. There's some good artwork used for each of the menus and everything is laid out pretty nicely. There's practically nothing to quibble about at all. Access times are solid as well.

Extras:
This is the only place where I'll truly nitpick this release. The only extra included on this disc is the video gallery of conceptual artwork, which runs around 6 minutes or so. That's it, unless you count the dozen plus trailers that are here as well. This in itself is not a bad thing at all and is pretty common, but to call the disc a Special Edition? Nuh uh.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After seeing so many different variants on the horror anime genre over the years, there's very few that really keep me all that interested. Part of that is either the excessive gore (which I find to just be repetitive after awhile) or they simply drag on for too long. Biohunter's a good mix with a relatively face paced 60 minute run time, not overly gory and not much sex. While not heavy on story, it's pretty well balanced with the action and gives a bit of the mythos I'm sure the manga series went into far more detail about.

The show revolves around two university professors, Komada and Koshigaya. Both are researching a virus that they've dubbed the Demon Virus. When it infects people, its carrier method unknown, it skips the whole Darwin idea and causes their bodies to mutate spontaneously. The theory behind it is that the virus has been in existence for ages and is the cause of legends such as vampires, werewolves and other various demons. The infected become this wicked creatures and prey on other humans for sustenance.

There's something nice about a show that tries to tie itself to reality, especially when it comes to the horror genre.

The good professors also moonlight a bit as hunters of those infected, often times for the more unsavory element of the world. They've discovered a cure that can reverse the process as those who are infected always become mindless beasts.

With one exception; Dr. Komada. He himself is infected but is able to control the beast inside him, though only barely sometimes. The team of Komada and Koshigaya is a pretty good one, though neither character is really detailed about their past all that much. Komada is pretty introverted due to his disease and the most we know about Koshigaya is that he likes dating his students. Komada tends to get the most out of the show though due to his ability to transform into a huge mean beast.

The focus of the show follows a woman whose grandfather is being chased for giving bad fortune telling news to a big name pol. The good professors try and help this woman find her grandfather as there seems to be a relationship with the demon virus and them. There's a few minor twists and turns throughout, but the story is well paced and doesn't slow down for too many deep thought moments or too much over the top violence.

The animation itself is pretty nice, definitely good mid 90's OVA level stuff that's only offset by some video issues in the beginning. The character designs are very nice, as almost all of them are at least in their late twenties of not older, which usually brings about more realistic designs.

The acting was also pretty solid with no real bad characters in either language. What was amusing, and hard to shake at times, was two of the English voice actors. Koshigaya was voiced by Matt "Tenchi" Miller and Sakaya by Sherry "Sasami" Lynn. Koshigaya ended up slipping into Tenchi mode once in awhile, but overall both were good. And it's almost worth it for the tentacle scene that Sherry ends up in towards the end for your Sherry fans.

While Biohunter hasn't turned me onto the horror genre, it's definitely a good effort and one that pays off pretty nicely all things told.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Original Storyboard Images

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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