Wicked City (of 1) (Mania.com)

Review Date: -

What They Say
There is Earth, our familiar world, and then there is the Black World, a parallel dimension that very few people are aware of. For centuries, a pact between the two worlds has been observed to maintain peace, and terms must be negotiated and renewed soon to continue relative harmony.

This time around, there is a militant faction that will stop at nothing to prevent the signing of a new treaty for inter-dimensional peace. Two agents of the elite organization known as the Black guards – defenders of the balance between the two worlds – are charged with insuring the success of the treaty.

Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll) blends stylish eroticism, graphic horror and pulse-pounding action as these two race to consummate the peace treaty in time.

The Review!
Wicked City, one of those classic early 90’s titles that helped cement anime as the erotic, violence filled Japanese produced porn parents groups love to rant about. This release shows the advantage of Madman Entertainment dealing with multiple companies at once, producing a release that has the best of both worlds.

The audio options on offer are all reasonably good and distinct from each other. Madman’s pick and choose methods mean we have the original near mono Japanese track, the serviceable but fairly dull English 2.0 Urban Vision track and the 5.1 channel remixed Streamline Pictures dub. The Urban Vision track is closer to Japanese track’s script, but voice acting is of a fairly dull nature. The Streamline Pictures dub often varies massively from the Japanese script’s meaning, suffers from recognizable voice actors from other Streamline Pictures dub and Robotech (Hiya Scott Bernard, didn’t know you worked at electronics company, Hello Senator Russo, I kinda expected you to be a pervert already), but comes across as more lively and better suited to the characters.

Thanks to Madman’s talks with Manga UK, we have their superior PAL video mated with the Urban Vision’s English subtitles. The video suffers from some of the problems of the US version, soft colors and minor film damage, but certainly not to the same degree. Madman’s stock yellow subs font are as always easily read.

You can’t go past the choice of VHS tape cover, beautiful and really catches the eye. The rear cover uses various screen captures, and is fairly cluttered with text. One notable fact is both English dub directors, Michael Bakewell and Carl Macek, receive equal billing as Yoshiaki Kawajri. Inside front cover provides ads for three other Manga DVDs and a chapter list, the disc side featuring the beautiful Maki straight up against the city image.

Following Madman’s current DVD authoring style, we get a pretty set of animated menus. Various small clips of Maki’s highly distinctive nail-extended swing attack play before each menu appears. All options are easily found, even the Easter egg.

A small selection of extras is on offer, with the English dub theatrical trailer, trailers for Blood and Street Fighter Alpha, two page character profiles for Taki, Maki and Giuseppi Mayart. The true gem is a 14-minute interview with director Yoshiaki Kawajri, though inclusion of the Japanese trailer as an Easter Egg comes close.

Set on a version of that Earth that has dimensional partner called the Dark World, a special group called the Black Guard ensure the peaceful co-existence between them. Every hundred years or so, an peace agreement is signed, but this time rebels from the demon infested Dark World are attempting to disrupt the upcoming renewal.

Assigned to protect the demon emissary vital for it’s successful signing for just one night are the human male Renzaburo Taki, and a female agent from the Dark World know only as Maki. Both have differing opinions of the others of each other, but are dedicated to protecting their charge. Unfortunately the fairly ancient Giuseppi Mayart decides to take full advantage of the adult delights Tokyo has to offer, which causes no end of problems for the two Black Guards. Despite their best laid plans, the trio are forced to escape from the ever increasing attacks from the rebels.

The character deigns range from the mundane (Taki) to the extremely beautiful (Maki) to your basic stock tentacle monsters, and there is a great deal of action helping to keep the pace of the proceedings up.

Wicked City is an enjoyable movie, with good character development and strong story line.

English 5.1 track,Alternate English 2.0 track,Japanese 2.0 track,Original Theatrical Trailer,Interview with Director,Character biographies,2 Manga trailers,Local DVD credit,Easter Egg

Review Equipment
JNL-7001 DVD Player, Commodore 1802 PAL Color Monitor

Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 17 & Up
Region: 4 - Australia / South America
Released By: Madman Entertainment
MSRP: 29.95 AU
Running time: 82
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Wicked City