Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You came to the wrong neighborhood, Mudderflubber!

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Blood Reign: Curse Of The Yoma

This late-80s 2-part OVA was probably one of the first horror anime to be released in English. Originally released in subtitled VHS as Curse Of The Undead Yoma, it was later re-released on dubbed VHS and DVD as Blood Reign: Curse Of The Yoma. Adapted from the short-lived manga series Yoma by Sengoku Nights creator Kei Kusunoki, this was first billed as "ninjas vs. zombies" years before zombies were made popular again thanks to the Dawn Of The Dead remake.

Set in feudal Japan, a young skilled ninja named Hikage is charged with tracking down his childhood friend/fellow ninja Marou who has deserted his clan and is feared to leak the death of their leader who was killed by yoma which are Japanese demons. Hikage's quest leads him to a village inhabited by stragglers and derelicts. All its inhabitants are really sacrifices for the yoma, and grizzly giant spiders harvest them for their leader, who turns out to be Marou, that is really a yoma himself apparently born from the ground itself. Marou escapes, and then the next episode takes place two years later with Hikage still on his trail. This has Hikage getting into a feudal war between the yoma clans and his ninja clan, facing all matter of beasts and monsters. Everything from flesh-eating horses, wolf-taurs, butterfly-women, giant snakes, and other video game bosses that even Ash from Evil Dead say "Screw this! I'm going home!"

Toho handled this animation for this, and for a late-80s production it actually is pretty damn good. There is some serious full-scale gore in store for anyone who wants just a good slasher flick, and they don't skip on the details during the disemboweling. This also makes for a great ninja story too, not Ninja Scroll mind you, but a close second. The dub is pretty stale though, so you might wanna just watch it in Japanese.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MISC. MANGA, *Steamcraft

This recent steampunk manga-styled comic was inspired by the works of Jules Verne and Lovecraft. Oz: The Manga artist David Hutchison put together this horror/adventure tale.

A man interviews the wealthy Sir Beachfort who was the sole survivor of in the expedition of the fabled ship, The Thorpe, from twenty years prior. He discovered a wrecked barge which belonged to a Cthulu-like race called the Deep Ones, and underwater terrors which Captain Nemo wouldn’t have messed with. The artwork is effectively spooky, and brings the atmosphere of an old ghost pirate tale.

You can find some of Hutchison’s preliminary art for this in his Steampunk Sketchbook special from Antarctic Press. Hope this gets made into a movie!

Monday, October 14, 2013

MISC. MANGA, *Reiko The Zombie Shop

Unlike some manga series with the word "zombie" in it, this one had for real zombies in it! The manga was released in Japan as an 11-volume series, but was released in English through Dark Horse stopping at the sixth(for now). The author, Rei Mikamoto, is more well known for creating the manga, Big Tits Dragon, which was later adapted into the live-action Japanese movie out here known as Big Tits Zombie. So, he's kept up a pretty decent history with horror/action stories, but it all stemmed from this original series.

Reiko seems like your average snarky busty redheaded Japanese schoolgirl, however she is really a "zombie shop". This means that she's able to summon someone back to life as a zombie if most of their body is still in tact, which gets her hired by all kinds of customers for her special talents. She does business with child murderers, mad scientists, plane hijackers, fatal rock stars, and even her friends at school who don't seem to have a problem with her being a part-time necromancer. All through the first volume there is a side-story of a teenage girl named Yurikawa that is also a homicidal maniac. She eventually crosses paths with Reiko, and the two have a climactic fight to the death, literally! One would think that having the title character die from decapitation in the first volume would be the end of the series, but Reiko was lucky enough to get some help from some fellow necromancers that manage to reattach her head and bring her back to the land of the living, while not being a zombie. Reiko then sets out to stop her evil sister Riruka who uses her own zombie-raising powers to create a walking dead army to take over the world, which becomes the focus for most of the rest of the series.

Reiko The Zombie Shop is one of the goriest manga to be released in print out in the States, which is possibly why Dark Horse discontinued the series about halfway through its run because of its limited market for adult titles. It's not hentai really, but the violence is and splatter scenes really make it the manga equivalent of a Rated-R movie. Weirdly enough, this does have a slight shojo factor working for it with Reiko and her interaction with her schoolmates. This makes for a very creepy manga, and works through like an actually good grindhouse flick with moments that will give you jump scares!