Violence Jack 1: Harlem Bomber

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Diogenes's avatar By on Jan 10, 2016

HARLEM BOMBER -- A BLAST FROM THE PAST!

Another adaption of a classic Go Nagai manga, Violence Jack: Harlem Bomber is a cautionary tale about the collapse of societal structures and the danger of gang mentalities and mankind's most primal and bestial impulses.

STORY:
Often under-valued by many casual and western viewers, in this graphic tale Go Nagai uses Violence Jack as an allegory for the concept that there is always a bigger fish and those who abandon society to live as animals will ultimately die like animals.

Harlem Bomber shows the worst aspects of humanity in an attempt to issue a subtle warning to the youth of 1980's Japan that were abandoning traditionalism in pursuit of anarchic government and power structures at time.

When viewed as a self-contained piece Violence Jack may seem unfulfilling to some audiences or outright repulsive to others. People may mistake it as violence for the sake of violence and see the rape and murders as sexualized or far too graphic. However, when viewed as it is intended (as a moral tale against such horrors) it can really be appreciated and is far more intelligent than it is often given credit for.

Ultimately, this is not the story of Violence Jack but a story of a desperate and perverted mankind. One which has turned its back on compassion and the traditional values of the free world and is now ruled by violence, sadism, and lust. Cruelty is the currency of the land.

ANIMATION:
The animation of Violence Jack has a nice balance and use of darkness and shadow. As an older anime predating the common use of computers, there are a number of animation errors and a few experimental visual effects that failed to be particularly stunning. The combat is bloody and fast -- graceless and brutal. This is not a world of Sword-Dancing Princesses, but blades and blood. Men and woman are very mortal, in many ways even fragile, coming apart like wet clay. The character designs are iconic of what you would expect from a post apocalyptic setting with punk rock and underworld elements.

SOUND:
No comment. The voice acting in the dub is sometimes a little out of sync or over-dramatic. The soundtrack is not that memorable. Although, I am certainly no audiophile. There is nothing in the film that I found particularly grating. Some of the lines are so poorly read that they become quotable and fun to share with friends.

CHARACTERS:
This is where the Violence Jack franchise both suffers and excels. At first glance many of the characters seem rather two-dimensional -- especially Jack himself. However, closer inspection reveals layers.

While Jack himself is treated like a monstrous shark among a sea of guppies it is clear he has some mysterious code or goal that is beyond the understanding of the protagonists. In this manner he is much like a wild animal or a force of nature, like a demon-wind that blows into the scene and sets in motion change (for better or worse). We watch as through his action, or repayment of debt victims are avenged only to become predators themselves. For better or worse, we see justice and injustice born at the edge of a knife.

The protagonists in the Violence Jack series are often well-intended people that are sucked into desperate situations -- and handle them realistically until a means comes along for an opportunity to handle them responsibly.

The antagonists are powerful men and women who rule through blind strength, taking what they want and need without question or reason. Like Jack himself, they are anarchic in nature, wild animals driven by their most base desires. Or, they are once noble men that have abandoned their nobility to become beasts for a number of reasons that are explored within the series as events unfold.

OVERALL:
This isn't the best of the Violence Jack OVAs, but its not worst. It is often scorned and treated poorly by western fans who only see it as a bloody hentai and cannot look at the feature with the context it deserves. I highly enjoy this mature approach to anime and the exploration of mankind's less admirable qualities. I also enjoy the enjoy the mystery, the grey morality tale, and overall concept of Violence Jack and the setting within which they exist. This is however an adaption of a manga and is incomplete (at least in a sense). This (like most of Jack's adventure's) is the story of people who encounter Jack and the summation of THEIR story. Those who want to know more about Jack himself are going to be somewhat bitter and disappointed -- because ironically enough his origins and who he is matters less than WHAT he is and HOW he impacts the world around him simply by existing.

To keep it simple, if you're a fan of horror anthology series -- give this a watch. If you want to know the many mysteries of Violence Jack or learn the mind-blowing secret behind his true identity and the origins of their world, read the manga.

8/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall
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Varagauzer's avatar By on May 18, 2012

Story

As usual this anime has pretty much a lame story it just tries to be fist of the north star and fails so badly.I mean there is no climax it just seems like a simple race to the finish and its probaly a race that never ends because really nothing is actually well resolved at the end.Don't get me wrong some things are accomplished such as the girl and boy meet the something happens and miraculously the boy dies.But other than its well lame plot lets look at the story ..... Harlem Bomber for crying out loud dont name the guy bomber if he fights with swords!!And he is not even the real enemy the real enemy is the slumking who took a backseat as soon as the show started and the harlem bomber is just one of the slumking's men and all the purpose of the stpry is to kill him because he wants to kill Jack and because he sells girls.I really hated this story no effort was put here what so ever I wanted to give it a rating of 0 but this site won't let me so a 0.1 would have to work for the time.To be honest if you want a good story don't watch this the story is just a mess with no conflict being resolved properly.

Animation

Well apart from the horrible story this show does have some decent animation however, there are too many ups and downs.The first battle with Jack and slumking was probaly the best in the entire OVA after that it was just fairly average.There isnt much gore though yes there are a few heads ripped off some signs of bone here and there but there was not as much violence as compared to hells wind and evil town.In fact i would not even call this violent just average fighting with blood  and a few signs of guts and bone nothing too intense.There are however some rape scenes not much but it actually took away the depressing fight scenes.

Sound

FINALLY!!!!!! Something excellent about this show the music was just simply amazing.You will only like this music if you like bands like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden.The music is more like 80's style heavy metal and yes i love heavy metal music and this show gave me a feel of some long lost 80's awsome music.the voice acting was not that all good but it wa this amazing music that compelled me to give it a full 10/10 if you like those bands that i mentioned earlier you will for sure enjoy the music this OVA has.If you don't like this kind of music the be prepared to like it after watching this OVA because i'm sure that you would like it after watching this anime.

Characters

Lame as usual.But wait the girl is the only one with a motive here she loves the boy and he showed some sign of love when he rescued her from being raped.Other than that everyone was like how to describe it like with no motive , dull and boring, Jack is probaly the worst he just goes AAAARRRRGHH and then ARRRRRAAAAGHHH.And I think"english please."For some reason his eyes glow a lot and when it got hit by a knife after he pulled it out it just went back to normal, but really not much effort into the characters as well.

Overall

Well even though I did complain about this show a lot I did in fact enjoy watching it and i do plan on watching it back when i do get some time.I mean it isnt that bad and yet there are some bad qualities about it.Only certain people will enjoy this though if you like gore amd heavy metal(particually 80's style) go ahead and watch other people should just avoid it.     


0.1/10 story
6/10 animation
10/10 sound
1/10 characters
7/10 overall
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