Friday, November 9, 2001


Genre: Action
Contains violence and delicate scenes
1996 Ryoichi Ikegami, Sho Fumimura, OB Planning, Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd., TOHO, VAP

Sanctuary by Ryoichi Ikegami & Sho Fumimura
Manga Description:
The story of two young men dedicated to transforming their nation from within - one as a political leader, the other as an organized crime boss - writer Sho Fumimura and award-winning artist Ryoichi Ikegami's erotically charged political thriller comes at last to vivid life in this stunningly animated tale of organized crime, high level politics, and big business in contemporary Japan.

Lukewarm. >>> by skysenshi (11.09.2001)
Those familiar with Ryoichi Ikegami's art (Crying Freeman) will definitely be able to identify this as one of his greatest works. The manga was written by Sho Fumimura, and I must say that the story is something that is worthy of praise. Unfortunately, this animated OAV speaks so little of the manga's finer points. It was almost as if the development team decided to get a few random excerpts from the first parts of the serialized comics and then translated them into anime. There are so many "missing links" that the scenes seem to jump from one angle to another without any thought to proper transitioning. Short of like saying, "Hmm...let's see...this looks good. Put this in the anime!" That they inserted so many unnecessary sex/rape scenes made it even worse. I had difficulty judging whether this title should be here in the Fridge or in in the Fridge's dark side instead.

The good points of this OAV is that it is able to deliver a good picture of politics from the viewpoint of a social scientist. We're all familiar with it anyway, how one thing leads to another in that particular field. Sex. Corruption. Gambling. Blackmail. Dynasties. What makes it interesting is the play of counter intelligence that reminded me of a later Mamoru Oshii film titled Jin-Roh. Politics becomes an art, and no other character in this story executes it better than the ultra sexy Yakuza named Akira Hojo.

Individual Rating: Art - 9, Story and Plot - 7, Characters - 9, Sounds - 7

Mind games. >>> by Darth Paul (11.12.2001)
Welcome to the place where subterfuge is the norm and power is the ultimate drug. Impressive storyline, very well written. Not just another mafia flick, this anime is treading on the edge of the boundaries in terms of realism concerning politics and manipulation. Did a very good job catching attention with an impressive portrayal of human behavior at its worst without compromising its reality nor banking on exaggeration as a normal anime of this genre would.

Artwork isn't all that bad but could definitely use work. Blended shadows are not usual occurrences and the darkness may have been on purpose to enhance the lonely and damp atmosphere reflecting the corruption that has plagued the given society. Similar techniques were used in Todd McFarlane's Spawn and I have to admit that it gives the show a nice touch.

Guts, gore, blood, entrails, women, smokes, guns, liquor, politics, deception, manipulation, greed, thugs, torture etc. They definitely knew the formula to mayhem and knew how to blend these elements to create one of the best Yakusa flicks ever witnessed.

ADEPT : Who's on whose side? Mind games were one of the best elements. Loved the way they give attention to detail. The main character was one cool dude. As Skysenshi would put it, he's somewhat of a Soujiro (Rurouni Kenshin). Liked the way his mind worked. Each character was given due emphasis and each of them had a prominent personality.

INEPT : Although the story was impressive, it gives that it's-only-beginning kind of feeling after watching it. I heard it offered more, manga-wise, so there's a little disappointment there.

Artwork is not bad but isn't good either. Ever heard of the song "Dude Looks Like A Lady" by Aerosmith? Well that song applies to some of the women here too. I also noticed that the main character looked like his friend. The only way to distinguish one from the other was the way they PARTED their hair. Kind of like telling them aPART , hahaha... ha...ha... ahem. Sorry. These are only minor details though. The anime is still definitely worth checking out.

Individual Rating: Art - 7, Story and Plot - 9, Characters - 10, Sounds - 9

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