Thursday, March 9, 2023

Baiorensu jakku: jigoku-gai (1988)

... aka: バイオレンスジャック 地獄街
... aka: Violence Jack: Evil Town
... aka: Violence Jack: Evil Town - Part 1
... aka: Violence Jack: Hell City - Evil Town
... aka: Violence Jack, Part 2: Evil Town

Directed by:
Ichirô Itano

Middle chapter of the three-part OVA series based on the Gô Nagai manga, this follows VIOLENCE JACK: SLUMKING (1986) but doesn't continue where that one left off and is an independent story with a new setting and new roster of supporting characters.

Due to a constant stream of natural disasters (lightning storms, earthquakes, etc.), part of Tokyo has sunk deep below the Earth's surface. Now a dark, dreary subterranean wasteland filled with dirt, stone, debris and rubble, the newly-christened "Evil Town" has a populace who've been reduced to murder, criminality, gang activity and worse in order to survive. In a desperate attempt to maintain at least some order, the underground city has been divided into various sections. Section A is the closest thing to "proper" civilization that's around in such trying times and are focused on tunneling their way back up to the surface. Though it has laws, rules, politicians and an operating police force, even there the regular citizens are forced to eat cockroaches and rats. Section B (called "Hell City") is where anything goes, the criminal elements run amok and a violent gang led by hulking Mad Saurus, the biggest, strongest and most feared man there, are in charge. Saurus' lover / sidekick is a husky-voiced blonde named Blue, who struts around in a red hat and jacket, panties and stockings and looks like one of the band members from the cartoon Jem.

While digging tunnels, Section A Officer Kawamori and his men detect a wind pocket, break through a wall and unearth a still-living, super-strong giant. When confronted with members of Saurus' gang, the giant stomps one to death Godzilla-style. The others flee back to Saurus and report what they've just witnessed. The giant of few words (though more than the previous film!) soon makes his identity known: "Call me Jack... Violence Jack."

Kawamori takes Jack to see Mayor Tahei Shibaki, who wastes no time trying to sway him over to their side with rare delicacies like ham and beer. He then explains the severity of their current situation. Supplies are running low, the vermin infestation has caused disease to break out and if they don't find their way to the surface soon everyone will die. He also wants Jack to help them in their fight against the goons in Section B.

However, there's yet another faction of Evil Town: Section C. Populated exclusively by women. the green-haired Aila, who used to work in the cities financial district, and the blue-haired Rikki, an Amazonian bodybuilder, are the closest thing they have to leaders. Flashbacks reveal that soon after the city sank into the ground, the men who currently populate Section A and are now trying to pass themselves off as the good guys, drugged and raped many of the young women there. Some of the victims were killed, other committed suicide and, for self-preservation purposes, the survivors had no alternative but to branch off and sequester themselves in what was once a former shopping mall. The ladies offer to hire Jack for their own protection and, considering his two other options, he agrees. The three sections remain at each other's throats until an all-out war begins.

If you're going to make something gory, over-the-top and ultra sleazy, this is pretty much the way to do it! This is not only far better than the first chapter, with higher-quality animation, more imaginative and sometimes even quite artistic direction and use of color, more memorable characters and an interesting, streamlined, coherent plot, but it's also so tasteless it's almost inspiring!

Since one long gang rape scene clearly isn't enough, may as well have two long gang rape scenes... and throw lesbian and transsexual rapists into the mix for a little variety while you're at it... and then turn one of those rapes into a bloodbath where the attackers get gruesomely slaughtered mid-rape. If it weren't for Japanese censors blurring out certain body parts, these scenes would be explicit to the point of being pornographic. And since a sadistic punk biker gang with members named things like Toad, Wasp, Tomcat and Aids doesn't sound bad enough as is, may as well turn them all into sex-crazed degenerates, as well! Their leader even turns into a big, red, nearly-indestructible demon monster himself toward the end.

While the pervy sexual content is high, the ludicrous amount of blood being flung around is even more memorable. Though I still have a lot more of these things to view, this is probably the goriest 80s anime I've seen thus far. Bodies are torn in half, numerous heads, legs, arms and hands are chopped off, eyeballs pop out, heads are squashed, a man makes out with a severed head before cannibalizing both it and the corpse, vaginas are mutilated, a group of young children get slaughtered in graphic fashion and a woman even gets split in half and her guts go flying when one of the giants decides to rape her! Trust me when I say that what I've just described is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the blood and gore are concerned. You've either been warned or you can consider that a recommendation.

Not surprisingly, the extreme content caused this entry distribution problems in certain parts of the world over the years. A heavily-censored version was released in most countries and it was outright banned in Australia. Here in the U.S., it was originally released to VHS in a cut version by Manga Entertainment but has since become readily available in its uncut form from companies like Discotek Media and Critical Mass. The third and final OVA in this series is Violent Jack: Hell's Wind (1990), which will probably have difficult time measuring up to this one!

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