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‘Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend’ (NC-17)

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 26, 1993

Hideki Takayama's "Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend" could just as well have been subtitled "Legend of the Oversexedfiends." This Japanese animation feature is so relentlessly drenched in graphic scenes of perverse sex and ultra-violence that no one's likely to challenge its "NC-17" rating. Adults only? Iron-cast stomachs only!

Based on three episodes of "The Wandering Kid" video series, "Legend" works off the myth of the Chojin, a super-being who appears every 3,000 years to destroy a reluctantly co-existing world common to three cultures: humans, man/beast "wanderers" and monster demons. No one knows who the Chojin is, but everyone wants to know, mostly so they can kill it. This silly cosmology is explained in a voice-over sounding like one of those "clinical psychologist" overviews in porn films from the '50s, but it doesn't take long for "Overfiend" to begin its assault on the realm of the senses: One of the first extended scenes has peeping 'toons and an explicit rape scene involving a teenage girl and a female teacher who turns into a demon.

The central characters are Yokohama college students Akemi, Nagumo, Ozaki and Niki; in dubbed voices, they talk like they all grew up near an American military base. But this is Armageddon, 90210 because one of them could be the Chojin. Wanderer Amano and his sister Megumi are keeping an eye on things, but puppy love transforms to mongrel sex, and in a flash, everything devolves to nasty mutant sex and ink-splatter violence.

Imagine the convoluted interlocking relationships of a soap opera filtered through a World Wrestling Federation script; indeed, you need a scorecard to keep track of developments, but it doesn't really matter since the film subscribes to the Japanese obsession with apocalyptic endings. Oddly enough, the eventual Chojin comes off like a cyperpunk version of the demon from "Fantasia's" "Night on Bald Mountain," albeit hyped on steroids and speed.

"Overfiend" is a foot soldier in Japan's continued breaching of boundaries in animation and comics art. The animation is hardly extraordinary. More attention is paid to gargantuan battle scenes and transformations than to character movement; the sex scenes, however, are especially animated. The 108-minute film has been dubbed "erotic grotesque," but only the second term seems deserved.

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