Since no one has said anything about Dark Myth yet, I feel obliged to warn potential viewers not to go into this with high expectations. Or any expectations. Or sober.
To begin with the story... hmm, the story... see, I was unfortunate enough to pick up the English dub of Dark Myth and all I can say is that the story became utterly indiscernible thanks to some poorly-crafted dialogue. Characters incoherently rush their explanations of the various legends and history surrounding the plot, throwing in a Japanese name every other word. It was completely impossible to follow, for me, without the visual connection between the names and their appearance in subtitles. I really regret picking up the dub; I'm not exactly unfamiliar with Japanese names, trust me, it's just this dub was completely poor. With all this in mind, I cannot judge this story given that I can only appreciate an assumed depth of the religious and historical connections. If anyone watched this with subs please comment and let me know if my comments sound specific to the dub or are things that you felt were true for the sub aswell. I mean, seriously, watching the scene where the Kikuchi clan is introduced nearly made my head explode, where the words "Kikuchi" and "Kikuchihiko" are spoken in one sentence about eight times. I gave up at trying to familiarise myself with the plot at that point. It reminded me of a scene in Black Cat where the word "nanotechnology" is spoken by about four characters in succession in different tones.
That said, I was still aware of what was going on, I just didn't partuclarly understand who or where, and thus why in regards to those who or where (yeah, it's annoying when people repeat similar sounding words, RIGHT?). The skeleton of the plot is not horrible - it had potential - it was just built on with a lot of unnecessary dribbling crap. Anyway, it's not the plot alone that makes this horrible, so does it really matter how much I hack away at it? Okay, one element that I felt worked well is how the story changed from wild goose chase to revenge trip. The wild goose chase (involving the Kikuchi clan running after Takeshi) really only served as a plot piece to throw in a lot of horrible deaths, nonsensical history and gore. The gore wasn't even good.
Yes, let's get on to the animation... Dark Myth is old, I did not watch this expecting to be blown away by the animation, but it did not suck at least. There were not many exciting colours given that so much of this took place in stone tombs, but there were some weird trippy effects that caught my interest. For instance, as Takeshi walks around in a trance everything around him only takes shape as it passes him, and in black outline while he remains in colour. There was also some modest attention to detail in backgrounds and some fine focus transitions. The gore, unfortunately, sucked. I know that a human body that has been ripped apart would look a mess but does that really mean we can accept random pink splodges as guts just because they are accompanied by blood? I wasn't impressed anyway. The character design was so-so, realistic and right for the story. The hungry ghosts were an element that kept my interest, and I was impressed with their design. I would call the animation distinctly average, and although parts of it crossed the decades well, sometimes I found myself thinking "I probably could have done that".
Apart from the appalling dub I have already complained about, the music is something that did not suck. I was suprised, honestly. It set an atmosphere, although it did not completely draw me in, and was creepy in a unique way without being repetitive. Bravo!
Characters? Wow. I was honestly expecting there to be a twist in which it was revealed that these people on my screen were in fact ROBOTS. Somewhere around the beginning, Takeshi, Takeuchi, and some random guy I don't remember descend into a creepy cave with weird symbols all over the walls, and bones crushing under their feet. They encounter a skeleton and it comes to life then falls apart. Takeshi is the only one to react. The other two don't even flinch. Oh wait, the random guy does flinch, but his and Takeuchi's expressions show complete calmness in light of this event. We know that it couldn't have been something that only Takeshi saw because the random guy flinches. What pisses me off is in the next 30 seconds they enter a room with a giant demon inside and the random guy completely shits his pants. It was just infuriating. We understand later that it is probably understandable that Takeuchi not be alarmed by paranormal events but the random guy... sheesh...
These characters really are completely one-dimensional though, even Takeshi's revenge trip tells us little about him - you'd be pissed off at the guy that killed your Dad too, right? Given that in the end he is faced with such a giant personal decision that could throw the earth into turmoil, you'd think they'd have wanted us to feel very attached to and empathetic towards him so that we ourselves feel the pain behind such a decision. Oh, I'm sorry, the whiny cries of Takeshi as a child standing over his father's dead body do not count. Takeuchi wasn't a horrible character, but the English dub just made him completely boring, and I had the idea he was feeling apathetic towards everything from witnessing too much of history.
So, overall, Dark Myth is one I believe most of you should be taking off your "Want to Watch" list. Unless you have prior knowledge of Eastern religion or are deeply interested in it should you watch this, and my score is a little bit higher than I would like it to be simply because I am going off blind faith that this did have something intelligent to say. Even if it did, this is just another anime with potential that fell flat on its arse.
This review has no comments. Leave one now!