Legend of the Overfiend
Anime or hentai, like most forms of entertainment, means different
things to different people. However, I suspect with entertainment
that dwells beneath the sub-surface of society, greater effort
is required to appreciate its art and nuances. So it is that
it may be much easier to watch and enjoy a movie made by a
large Hollywood studio than one created by a small independent
house, or even a medium-sized foreign company. But that is
not to say effort spent in understanding and appreciating
the less popular forms of entertainment is not well rewarded.
For anyone who has seen a decent independent film (yes there
are plenty of crap ones out there), or who has enough of an
attention span to read the subtitles in a foreign film, will
find their efforts well rewarded. So too it is with hentai.
It is much easier to dismiss this artform than to appreicate
it, particularly if you're a woman, and particularly if you're
a little prudish about sex (as most of us are, but would not
like to admit). To say that hentai is animated porn is to
entirely miss the point, if by porn we mean the distribution
and dissemination of explicit images and sounds of sex outside
context, if by porn we mean the production of material without
artistic merit. Yes, there is the explicit depiction of sex,
and yes a lot of the story does revolve around the sex scenes,
and yes some of them do become focal points of the story,
but there can also be art in the character designs, art in
the plot and the themes explored by some hentais are interesting
and can provoke much thought. In this sense, hentai is an
artform and ought to be appreciated as such, and not just
as something to whack-off to. Of course its not easy to appreciate
the art. A lot of the material is predominantly made for a
young male adult clientele, overflowing with hormones, and
surging with aggression. So there are plenty of excesses of
violence, of sex, of fantasy, of the things that preocuppy
such a young mind. Yet, beyond the petty and the fanciful,
there lies the dark thoughts and themes that haunt our adulthood,
and the humour we often use to fight them. And if we look
hard enough we can see them in the best of the hentai, we
can see them in the hilarious absurdity of La Blue Girl, and
the dangerous angst of Urotsukidoji.
A lot has said about this series, and a lot of it has been
less than complimentary. Nevertheless, this series remains
a 'classic' in the Hall of Fame of Hentai-dom. What follows
is my personal opinion as to why that continues to be the
This is essentially a love story, with all the elements of
love lost, love found and love that can never be. But this
is no ordinary love story. It is the darkest of dark anime.
It tells of a love that is true, of a love that yearns to
be free, to soar into the clouds, but doomed to fall, to fail
and torn asunder by the gravity of destiny. It poses the interesting
question whether perhaps man may be born with free will but
imprisoned in circumstances beyond his control. As much as
Nagumo loves Akemi and vice versa, Nagumo's fate is sealed
and there is absolutely nothing he nor Akemi can do about
The story also introduces us to the Eastern concept of the
cycle of life, of rebirth and death as being the one and the
same. The legend is that once every 3000 years the Overfiend
will arise and create a perfect world, yet what the legend
neglects to mention is that he would completely obliterate
this one in doing so. The scenes of mass destruction reinforce
the idea that humans are small. We are tiny pin pricks on
the body of the Universe. We would like to believe we walk
like giants upon the Earth when we are really only ants. We
scramble about in our pitiful lives unaware of the true nature
of things, reassured by our own arrogance.
As much as it is excessive, the series pulls no punches.
Niki, a whimp and loser bullied by everyone, and constantly
beatened by his parents, lashes out at the society that has
been so cruel to him. He kills both his parents and stuffs
their heads in the freezer. He cuts off his own manhood, to
replace it with a demon's so that he may inherit the demon's
powers. Despite his heinous acts of barbarity, he nevertheless
illicits sympathy from us. Which boy who has ever been picked
on at school have not felt the rage of injustice curdling
through his veins?
This series has everything for the young adult: the cool
outsider who is more than he seems, a light fantasy of the
dweeb who gets the prettiest girl in school, a dark fantasy
of revenge, young love fighting against impossible odds, ego-soothing
notions of power and domination, and of course, sex, lost
of sex and violence. And to top it all off, a strongly repressed
homosexual streak, evidenced by Nagumo's blood or sperm being
licked by one guy or another.
This is the first hentai I have ever seen, and it remains
my favourite. Its dark adult themes resonates, the character
designs and animations are competent for its time, and the
plot is confusing enough to mean almost anything you want
it to mean. In short, this is one helluva series, and is a
MUST for all hentai fans, and recommended even for anime ones.
If you can get your hands on the DVD subbed collection, do
so, because a lot of the scenes are cut from the movies. It
may be over a decade old but this remains the premier hentai
series for me.
Please be advised that the two movies are Legend of the Overfiend
(Urosukidoji) and Curse of the Demon Womb (Urotsukidoji II).
There is a third and fourth movie and their corresponding
set of OAVs but they do not sustain the the quality of the
first two movies or the original set of 5 OAVs, and this review
does not apply to them.