- Violence Jack (1986-1990: Dragon Production, Wave, Studio 88, Dynamic Planning, Ashi Productions) 3/3 eps.
Fuck me. Fuck Violence Jack. Fuck anime. This one took me a long time.
So Violence Jack is an 3 episode OAV based on a manga by Go Nagai. It was directed by Takuya Wada and Ichiro Itano. Now Itano is one of the best animation directors ever, if not the best, but he is a God awful director; he has only ever directed one thing that was legitimately good, Megazone 23 Part II. That statement does imply how good I feel Violence Jack is.
The three stories we get are unconnected and essentially the same. They all have a group of good guys and a group of bad guys. The bad guys kill/rape/torture a bunch of the good guys, Jack turns up, Jack kills all the bad guys in a fairly brutal manner. That is it, every time. The only real variation comes from how violent/obscene the episode is. Jack is kind of the protagonist of these OAVs. He is a freakishly giant ‘man’ who named himself after his jack knife and who seemingly has magical powers; immortality, turning into a bird, creating earthquakes, etc. The thing is that most of the time the episodes follow the group of innocents for most of the run time until Jack shows up. It is almost as if every episode the protagonist changes halfway through, it is truly bizarre. Jack himself has virtually no characterisation outside of being violent and the rest of the cast aren’t much better. The innocent are just there to be killed, raped, and tortured whilst the villains are caricatures that look like they are straight out of Hokuto no Ken, just without any of the depth that guys like Souther have. The only vaguely decent character is a woman from the final episode who has this whole revenge deal going on, but that only really looks decent because it is in comparison to the rest of the characters.
The art, animation, and music are all awful, the first episode especially is barely animated. The animation does improve as it goes on but it is never at a really good level, despite having the odd good cut. The art is ugly as sin with the exception of one shot towards the end of the last episode that is composed weirdly well compared to the rest of the show. It doesn’t help that was is being depicted is often vomit worthy. I’ve skirted around it until now but this show, especially Evil Town, has graphic content that even I find uncomfortable. I’m fine with extreme content but I feel that generally it has to have a purpose. The problem with Violence Jack is that it is all just so mean spirited. There doesn’t seem to be a purpose to it except to torture the characters. You just get to the point where you’re just thinking “urgh, another rape?”. Wicked City had a similar problem but at least that became somewhat comical with you wondering how that character was gonna end up being raped next. Violence Jack just breaks you down bit by bit and makes you feel dirty.
Don’t watch Violence Jack. Mainly because it is God awful and boring as shit, I should probably mention that I fell asleep during every single episode, but also because its content is just nasty. Even gore hounds like me struggle with this one, it is just so God damned mean spirited. Oh, did I ever mention that this is a shounen?
Final score: 1G