Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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.

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