Stephen reviews: Outlanders (1986)

outlanders_1Outlanders [アウトランダーズ] (1986)

Starring Fumi Hirano, Mitsuo Iwata, Mari Yokoo, Kenji Utsumi, Mikio Terashima, Takashi Toyoma, Akira Kamiya, Mika Doi

Directed by Katsuhisa Yamada


There were a lot of great films in 1986. Any year that gives us the likes of Platoon, Top Gun, and Howard the Duck is obviously a memorable one. Aliens and Transformers especially had a massive impact on my childhood. On the anime front, 1986 gave us two of the greatest: Fist of the North Star and Project A-ko. Barefoot Gen 2 was nothing to scoff at either. But Outlanders? Scoff your little hearts out, my fellow internet dwellers; scoff as hard as you can.

Outlanders is a comedy about Kahm, a bikini-clad alien woman with green hair and ram horns on her head. She invades her way to Earth and grabs a random loser to be her new husband, which will, through illogical plot contrivance, stop the aliens from destroying the Earth. Somehow I didn’t realize just how much this rips off Urusei Yatsura‘s premise until I found out that it even stole that show’s lead actress, Fumi Hirano, to play Kahm.

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Stephen reviews: Battle Royal High School (1987)

BRHSBattle Royal High School [真魔神伝 – バトルロイヤルハイスクール Shinmajinden Batoru Royaru Haisukûru] (1987)

Starring Kazuki Yao, Kazuhiko Inoue, Hideyuki Tanaka, Chieko Honda, Mari Yokoo, Sakiko Tamagawa

Directed by Ichiro Itano


Despite the similar title and high school setting, this is not to be confused with Battle Royale. They are two very different stories. Battle Royal High School starts off like a martial arts film, with a protagonist that beats the crap out of a karate class and aspires to conquer every dojo in the country. But it quickly transitions to a demonic invasion and accelerates into the realm of pure absurdity.

The plot is tricky to pin down. It’s convoluted and low on explanation, but I’ll try to sum it up. Ryoudo, martial arts champion of his school, gets possessed by a demon trapped on Earth. After that, a demon hunter tries to kill him. Then add in the sudden arrival — from space, I guess — of a space-time continuum inspector who’s searching for the source of a “hyper-psycho-kinetic-wave.” He’s also tricked out with an awesome suit of robot armor. Obviously. And apparently fairies are trying to take over the world by mutating people into hideous monsters. Somehow all of that gets twisted into a plot that actually makes a good deal of sense in the end, as long as you don’t question it.

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Stephen reviews: Wicked City (1987)

Wicked City [妖獣都市, Yoju Toshi] (1987)

Starring Yuusaku Yara, Toshiko Fujita, Ichirô Nagai, Takeshi Aono, Mari Yokoo.

Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri


It’s time to get out of the kiddie pool and head for the royally fucked up pool. I have thus far in my reviewing career avoided the nastier areas of anime, but that had to end sometime, and October’s horror marathon is as good a place as any to head over to the dark side. Wicked City is yet another Hideyuki Kikuchi adaptation, and like Demon City it is directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. If I was to compare that film with Vampire Hunter D, I would have to say that Toyoo Ashida was the better director for adapting Kikuchi’s works, but here Kawajiri proves that he really can handle the job just as well, if not better.

The animation is damn good, just like all his other films that I have seen, although the beginning moments felt below average. I was initially disappointed, but as soon as the first monster shows up it amps up the quality and never looks back, matching Demon City for gorgeous and grisly visuals. There’s not much outright gore, though. It’s more about crazy nasty monsters lurking around every corner than blood and guts splattered everywhere.

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