Demon Warrior Koji (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2001
What They Say
A monster is out for blood, and only the man-demon Koji can hunt down the preternatural killer. Aided by a morbid psychic, he follows the grisly trail of victims to a lonely woman. What unspeakable horrors will he find? And are even Koji's powers enough to curb this devastating threat? Warning: Contains graphic violence and sexual situations; absolutely not for viewers under 18 years of age.
Color me impressed. An anime 18 title with no tentacles. And the sex and violence are fairly well separated. And it's actually got a pretty good story and interesting characters. Yep, you got that right, hentai that's actually interesting to watch!
For our primary review, we listened to this in its original language of Japanese. Though we did listen to it in English while writing this review, there was only so much we could take. Throughout both audio tracks we didn't notice any real issues. Though these are OVA's, there was very little in terms of front stage directionality, with most of the audio coming through the center channel. Dialogue was pretty clean and clear and the moaning was pretty audible as well. No troubles at all with this track.
For the most part, this is a pretty decent transfer, depending on what episode your watching. The first and third episodes are pretty good looking, though the first episode seems to have the better animation of the three and it does indeed help in how it looks on this disc. The second episode has several very soft places where the characters begin to look a bit unfocused, but that also could be source material. The first episode has a lot of varying colors that keep an earthy tone about them. Blacks are pretty solid and there's a few jaggies here and there. The second episode has a few rainbows, but looks to be a step down overall from the first. The third episode seems to find some balance between the two, but looks decent overall if a bit murky in some areas.
I really wish they could have picked something better for the cover, especially since these episodes are quite good and many people will find themselves turned off from it by the look of it. The back cover doesn't fair too much better, but it at least has a little summary of the show and some basic details. Since this is a clear keepcase, the reverse side of the cover provides some more information on Mr. Maeda, the chapter stops and some more artwork. It also includes a note about the Japanese voice actors requesting that their names be withheld and not used for this release.
A fairly typical and straightforward menu as most have seen from CPM for the past couple of years with a bit of animation and a little voice over in English. Access times are fast and things are laid out in a pretty simple logical way. No issues here at all.
The video side extras are pretty minimal with the only interesting bit being the one page of text about Mr. Maeda. The DVD-ROM features (which we haven't looked at) contain an art gallery, scripts, cast list and the production credits. I hope someday that CPM will start converting these things to set-top use as even those folks who have both a set-top and DVD-ROM drive rarely bother to get check out the DVD-ROM features.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The main character of this show is Koji Yamada, a young man who has the ability to transform into a demon-like monster and retain control of it. He's part of a team of Sex Murder Investigators who have a knack for running across demons. The team is made up of several interesting members who have some unique abilities. Jun is a woman who can't die, though her body is zombie-like, there's a biker style guy who's green and has a gun for an arm, a hooded floating humanoid and two women who are able to bestow restorative/empowering abilities upon the others.
The man who brought this team together is Police Chief Kanzaki. He's obviously not much of a good guy (you can tell by how he's drawn) as he keeps close tabs on his team members through various means of survelliance. And one of the girls who gives off the powers helps him by participating in the survelliance through seducing Koji. Basically, everyone on the team has their own reasons for being there and their own agendas.
The main storyline running through the three episodes focuses on a demon that appears and kills men in some of the seedier areas of town. We see them involved with this one woman in particular and then the men end up dead by this beast, but the woman continues on, generally non the wiser. The investigation team is called in early when one victim shows up spiked throughout his body and up in the air in a fairly grisly scene.
To determine what happened, they need Jun to climax so she can have a vision of the mans last moments. Kanzaki teams Jun up with Koji to bring this about and provides a rather good sequence. With new information in hand, they set off to discover more and end up running into this demon monster instead.
The episodes basically focus around solving the mystery of this demon which seems to be drawn out by this older green skinned man whose accompanied by a rather odd looking demon himself. These two go unseen by everyone else, but they appear to be tied to all of the deaths in some way. All the while, Kanzaki and his aides are keeping a close eye on the team as well as dishing out some punishments to those who fail in their surveillance duties.
The show is a pretty good murder mystery that has some interesting characters, some nice character designs for the women and no tentacles. The Japanese voice acting was quite good and they know exactly what kind of moaning to do. With almost all of the sex being consensual, it brings a different kind of acting to the table. The action for both the sex and violence are pretty good (with the sex winning out in my mind), but the really nice part is that the two aren't combined. While violence may follow the sex, there isn't violence during the sex, which is a big change for a lot of hentai that gets brought out in the U.S. for release.
Koji's not going to be for everyone, but if you're a hentai fan you definitely need to give this one a try. It was a pleasant surprise compared to what I was expecting based off of the cover. Very recommended.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Meet The Cast,Meet Mr. Maeda
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 17 & Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Anime 18
Running time: 127
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Demon Warrior Koji