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Lots of penises Jim... lots and lots of penises....,
This review is from: Urotsukidoji - Legend Of The Overfiend / Legend Of The Demon Womb  [DVD] (DVD)
When I first saw this in my local video shop I was 13, I saw the title and was blown away, I then read the blurb from the Daily Telegraph which read 'Seriously disturbing'. 13 year-old me thought; 'I MUST watch this clearly awesome mind-bending epic'. Alas, about 5 minutes in and I was first introduced to the not-so-amazing world of tentacle-based hentai.
It would seem then, that the only things genuinely disturbing about this film are the sexual perversions of its creators.
Furthermore I've read that other reviewers have seen an uncut version that reportedly makes more sense. I'm not sure if the censored stuff makes up the sequel on the disk but I do know that the sequel on this dvd takes place just before the end of the first feature, which is just bloody ridiculous and really hard to get your head around.
However, as a stand alone, the first film at least makes sense, and whilst it's not disturbing in the way that Lost Highway screws with your head after one too many tugs on the green stuff, there are things to get excited about-
Most of all, bearing in mind this was made in the early 90's it was about time someone challenged our perception of porn in this way. I've sat through enough of Kate Beckinsale et. al. getting frisky at the most ridiculous of times and the most unbelieveable of situations in hollywood blockbusters to recognize when a production studio has watched some hi-budget abortion, realised 'no-one is gonna swallow sh** this huge' and thought, 'well, plot, character development and special effects have all-failed, let's just ram some gratuitous shagging in there somewhere and hopefully we can con some mugs into actually paying to view this farce.' This, in most people's minds, is pornography; graphic depiction of sexual activity for no reason other than sexual gratification of the viewer.
Conversely, no-one is going to watch any old porn film for an action-packed, special-effects romp. All of the money for that will go to producers who think that some fake tits wiggling about on screen will do the trick (and as a society, boy do we keep proving them right.)
Enter Urotsukidoji. The fact of the matter is, you could buy this film in shops that did not distribute 'pornography' in any form, and for the most part, they are right; Legend of the Overfiend is an action-packed sci-fi/fantasy thriller with loads of death, gore and explosions. However, the sex scenes within whilst themselves are not completely seperate to the plot, are happily tacked in under the dubious pretence that, if there were parallel worlds, as the film suggests, then OF COURSE those beings inhabiting such worlds would be sex-crazed penis monsters! What I believe is to be recognized here is that sex in itself deserves better representation in film in general than just what Vivid studios and many a dire hollywood venture have offered; we feel comfortable getting our jollies from seeing someone being torn in half by machine gun-fire but artful, relevant depiction of sexual activity seems a little beyond us.
Overfiend attacks these norms with gusto.
Not that I would call urotsukidoji particularly artful or the sex scenes it contains particularly relevant. Still, it never pretends to be. The over-arching sub-themes of teenage love and the transcience of existence have little to do with tentacle monsters savagely violating teenage schoolgirls, but the connection in the film is just tenable enough to be acceptable in what essentially is a fantasy-action film.
The thing is, once you get your head around the fact that the front cover is a COMPLETE LIE, there is a pretty good feature in here. The action is pretty good (epic demon fights man, epic demon fights), the characters are a little OTT, (but, 'tis anime you are watching, dear reader, not Schindler's List) and the storyline is at the least, amusing. If you like more modern anime and want an idea of where it all came from, and at the same time look at some really weird drawings, by all means, go for it, just don't say I didn't warn you :p