Demon City Shinjuku

Intelligent, accomplished horror anime are a rare breed. I know many people will disagree with me and I'll admit that there are plenty of anime with horror elements, but most of them simply aren't any good. The most popular form of horror film out of anime isn't really horror at all but more of the "alien sex snuff film" variety, which started with Legend of the Overfiend and has given us other hits like La Blue Girl. More classic horror films of anime, such as Supernatural Beast City (aka Wicked City) and Vampire Hunter D, with their gore and racy sequences, look pedestrian in comparison. With all that said, I'm glad I watched Demon City Shinjuku. It's the first horror release that I've seen in a while that actually has some class.

Demon City Shinjuku starts with a battle on the skyline of a huge city. Our apparent hero loses to a man who is known as Rebi Ra. His weapon falls to the depths of the earth and as he dies, Rebi pledges to build a hell on earth over the next 10 years so that the demon spawn he (apparently) will gain control of will have a place from which to destroy the Earth. The city splits in two.

9 years, 373 days pass.

Enter a new, reluctant hero. Kyoka, a reckless young man with his mind on women as much as anything else, is met by Rai, a Nenpo master. It turns out that Kyoka is the only thing that can stop Rebi Ra. He must go to Shinjuku, where Rebi resides, to save the planet, etc. It all sounds like every other plot from Star Wars on, right? Well, perhaps, but it never falls flat. With Sayaka, a young girl whose father holds the key to bringing the city (and the planet) back together, Kyoka goes and finds what evil does indeed lurk in Shinjuku. Battle and crazy stuff ensues.

All of this is nothing new, but it is put together in a tasteful, well-done manner. There's virtually no graphic violence, a brief glimpse of breasts, and some true, honest-to-goodness creepy stuff. The ending is a bit of a write-off, but up until that point, it keeps your attention and doesn't let go. There is more here than your typical horror story, enough so that I'm not going to go into any more detail so as to not spoil anything. Solid rental, maybe a purchase if horror is your thing.

Demon City Shinjuku -- violence, brief nudity, brief language, not for children -- B+