Legend of the Overfiend/Legend of the Demon Womb (1989/1993)
By: Captain Red Eye on September 25, 2009  | 
Madman (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 186 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Hideki Takayama
Starring: Christopher Courage, Joy Rebel, Danny Bush, Lucy Morales, Rose Palmer,Bick Balse
Screenplay: Sho Aikawa, Michael Lawrence
Country: Japan
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
The infamous Urotsukidoji animated features raised a few eyebrows upon initial release, mainly due to their graphic violence, expletive-laden screenplays and multiple depictions of forced sex. Those nitpicking censors. Despite the furore the series appears to have been somewhat forgotten by Western audiences, and it is seemingly a combination of this fact and the confronting nature of the subject matter which has resulted in Madman offering an uncharacteristically sub-standard DVD release of the first two films in the Urotsukidoji series, Legend of the Overfiend and Legend of the Demon Womb. Which is a shame, given that the material is as compelling and entertaining as any fan of horror-nudie anime could hope for.

The story centres around three interconnected worlds; that of humans, that of the Man-Beasts (Jyujinkai) and that of the Monster Demons, or Makai. These latter particularly are an intriguing bunch. As the box cover has it, the Makai 'take on earthly forms to pour their mighty energies into human girls', which is putting it mildly given their ravenous bloodlust and penchant for tentacle rape. Complicating matters is the presence of the superfiend Chojin, who surfaces every three thousand years or so to unite the three worlds into a hell of unimaginable torments, in addition to generally making a nuisance of himself. It is left to two of the Jyujinkai, Amano and his sexually precocious sister Megumi, to stop the Chojin at all costs and do battle with the legendary Makai for the fate of the world. But are the Makai really all that they seem? How does one even attempt to thwart an indestructible demon overlord? And what exactly are female undergarments made of in Japan, that they are so easily able to be rent asunder? They should invest in a more durable fabric. Or a rape whistle.

The opening scene of Legend of the Overfiend leaves little doubt that this is most definitely one for the adults; in the first five minutes horny high school student Nagumo strokes himself to orgasm whilst spying on the girl's locker room, then barely a moment later is roused to climax again by the sight of a particularly enticing cheerleading routine. The artful direction of Hideki Takayama nonetheless ensures that in addition to lines like 'I can't believe it, I just came again' and close-ups of cheerleaders crotches, we are simultaneously introduced to most of the predominant themes and characters of the film. Though it was denounced by some as misogynistic, Takayama's material truthfully presents women in a variety of lights; whilst many of the victims of sexual violence are little more than demure sex dolls there are a number of empowered female characters such as Megumi, who at one point during her lovemaking experiences a climax so intense that the resultant burst of energy vaporises her demon lover. Take that, patriarchal notions of gender inequality.

The creator of the story on which the films are based, whilst taking issue with the numerous scenes of forced sex not present in his original manga, did in fact express respect for Takayama's vision and it is difficult not to agree. The visuals are stunning, fight scenes are intense, and just when you think the randy Makai or Chojin have had their fill there comes another scene heavy on the non-consensual groping. Furthermore the three protagonists are rounded, a host of complex characters are subsequently introduced to flesh out the narrative and the story is original and well-paced.

It should be noted that the Manga Entertainment version underwent numerous cuts to be allowed a video release in Australia, and it is this edited version that has been transferred to DVD. The main cuts are to shots depicting vaginal penetration during intercourse scenes, shots of characters masturbating, and so on. Though the edited version is far from tame, if you feel the numerous omissions will spoil your viewing experience and have a spare $150 or so better hunt down the 'Perfect Collection' edition. Although somewhat rare these days it contains 24 minutes of additional sexual material, multiple scenes cut for pacing and the original Japanese audio track, among other features.
While present-day Japanese directors such as Hayao Miyazaki will sneak a minority of computer-generated effects into their features, the first two Urotsukidoji flicks were of course completely hand-drawn. While this means the picture occasionally lacks the strong definition of more modern efforts, the animation at all times is excellent and pictorially both films compare well to other Japanese animated releases of the 80s and 90s. Those of us who grew up with cartoons like Astro Boy and Tranzor-Z will feel especially at home with the softened palettes, luminous tones and rich detail typical of the period. That each of the films features nudity, swearing, lesbianism, strong violence, constant sexual references and unrestrained fucking can only be seen as a plus. The 4:3 aspect ratio is another strike however, and proves somewhat boxy and unsatisfactory in a film of such visual complexity. Legend of the Demon Womb also has some blurring present on the master copy, which has been transferred as-is for all DVD releases.
Annoyingly there are no audio or subtitle options, and both movies are presented only in their dubbed English versions. While the English voice actors do a decent job and the story doesn't appear to suffer in translation, this will irritate those who prefer watching their foreign films with English subtitles and the original audio intact. Some of the sound effects are slightly clunky too, such as when doors open and close, however in the absence of a Japanese soundtrack there's no way to know whether this was how they are supposed to sound, or due to some deficiency on the part of the English-version producers.
Extra Features
Motion menus, scene selection, several fairly uninspiring trailers for Manga Video, an image gallery and some extraordinarily half-assed DVD ROM content (images from four Manga films including the two mentioned above, credits etc). In short, nothing special.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
While this Madman release is found wanting in several regards, the strength of the oft-imitated material compensates and makes this a worthwhile viewing experience for fans of complex narrative, hardcore anime and/or depictions of slender Japanese girls with pert, exposed backsides. If you've read this far I'm guessing you fall into at least two of these categories. The highly lurid screenplay means this one won't be suitable for scout group movie nights, however those who prefer their animation a mite on the gritty side may well get a kick out of such dialogue as: 'Let me get my hands on that super Chojin dick, baby. I've waited a long time for a good fuck.' Urotsukidoji is a richly imaginative and fiercely enjoyable addition to the much-maligned hardcore anime subgenre.

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