The Dark Myth

Alt title: Ankoku Shinwa

OVA (2 eps x 56 min)
2.444 out of 5 from 249 votes
Rank #15,973

In ancient times, Susano-oh conquered Orochi with the Kusanagi sword and was named the God of Darkness. In the present, signs of Susano-oh's manifestation on Earth are beginning to take place, including the shattering of a stone Flayed Colt. Caught in the middle is Takeshi, a young man who is forced to receive stigmata-like marks on his body from the ancient gods; an impending sign that he will soon be reincarnated as Brahman's alter ego, Atman. Meanwhile, the Kikuchi clan is after Takeshi and has a strange interest in the events taking place. The fate of all mankind is at stake; will demons or humans be the victor?

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A fine example of an early metaphysical thriller anime but nothing more. ART SECTION: 7/10 [The quality of animation is definitely above average.] - The general artwork is a typical modern world with occult touches. The setting itself is not interesting but the way it is presented is pretty close to cult movies, such as The Ring and Dark Water. It uses a similar way by having eerie and macabre scenes taking place in dark, claustrophobic places, with pagan symbols filling the screen. - The animation style is generally realistic and anthropomorphic, with little use of still images and repeated footage. What lacks in super detailed and crisp animation, it gains it in atmosphere and presentation. SOUND SECTION: 7/10 [Talk less, act more. Something they do not comply with.] I only listened to the English dub but I doubt there would be much difference to the Japanese. The characters sounded too serious, without flunctuation or coloring in their voices. This was a serious title about normal-looking people, so this part stood correct. Unfortunately, voice acting is in all nothing much. In fact, it’s almost tiring to listen to. 80% of the total duration is dry mologues, explainations and hypotheses about historical and mythological events. The eerie music is successful at making you feel uneasy but all the endless names and terms that keep popping up make you lose track of the story itself. STORY SECTION: 6/10 [Scientific religion???] - The story is generally fantastic. It incorporates dozens of Japanese and Hindu myths, along with their respective religious teachings and historical figures. And even goes as far as giving scientific explanations about the true origin of religion, geographical features, folklore myths, astronomical representations and past cataclysmic events. - On the bad side, the story is linear, short and ends without conclusion. And all the explanations are simply provided through the long monologues of an old guy. Talking without actually showing something is a cheap and rushed way of enjoying a story. CHARACTER SECTION: 1/10 [Dance puppets! Dance!] - Forget about the characters. They exist just to experience the weird events in the story. They have no control over the story, much less a way to affect it. It is an example of how the cast becomes nothing more than puppets in the cosmic design. If you are familiar with old Japanese horror stories, you will realize that, indeed, people in them were nothing more than plot devices for telling a story or presenting an idea. It is a very fatalistic approach that makes you pay attention to the story and not in the people experiencing it. - Although a matter of taste, I personally hate with passion this sort of characters. I love titles where the characters form the story and not the other way around. If they have no free will to choose or affect the story, then they are not really characters. VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10 [A quick appetizer] You will love the atmosphere and the story. You will hate the characters and the plot. You will get goose bumps by several macabre scenes but will also get a high blood pressure by the incomplete final product. And you may also get bored or confused by the endless speeches, names and symbolisms. Was it enjoyable? Not really. Was it memorable? Quite. VERDICT: 4.5 / 10 -And now I will describe to you how the events took place.-What, you don’t have a film or something? You will just talk?-Yes. And you must pay attention to everything I say.-How boring! SUGGESTION LIST The Ring and Dark Water movies (the Japanese version is, of course, superior).


Story: Heh, Dark Myth is a highly intellectual religious piece that masterfully combines Shinto, Buddhasm and Hindu with geographical Japan and extensive historical facts into one exemplary euphoric piece that requires a intellectual to fully comprehend as well as knowledge in comparative religious studies to fully understand the metaphysical story that juxtaposes the past with the present and neo-future. It's an extremely intellectual series like Richard and Mortimer except for this one you need to be well-versed in the aformentioned religions with an explanatory dump that's broken up by intervals of partial explanations and quite frankly, people doing things that lead to more exposition dumps and more lessons in religious histories and dark mythologies, hence the quite accurate title. You would also need a notepad to keep track of all the names, places, more deities, more names, more names of places and events as the dub does not neuter the translation by naming in quick succession incredibly Japanese names. It's a machine gun of terms and you would not keep up unless again, you have a major in comparative religious studies and are well-versed in the hisotrical notation and syncracies of Susano-o, Ant-Man, Takeminazuchi and 27 other deities and heroics. What this sums up to is an incomprehensible mess to most people would simply not understand and to be quite frank, one does need to have a rather significant amount of intellect to comprehend Dark Myth. Why, just today (At the writing of this) a group of avid watchers of questionable anime and I watched this in its entirety. Constant comments on how baffling this is while I sat there, contemplating the deeper philosophical meaning of death and rebirth, cycle of Shakespearian revenge juxtaposed with cosmic horror and self-identity of a messiah figure that would uncover the depeer meaning of life at the expense of his earth life and saving it at the same time. I cannot blame the masses for not understanding it, for it is an excellent portrayal of the gradual declne of society as a whole. Animation To compliment the religious overtones, there is an excellent usage of superior art-house animation techniques that you would expect to see in indie hits you would simply never have heard of. A white scenery juxtaposing the main character Takashi as he travels to somewhere was an excellent scene that utilized minimalism and other high quality and high intellectual art styles. Otherwise, the art is pretty good. And some good gore to show the futility of fighting demons as a regular human and the fragility of the human psyche and physical meat space bodies. Sound The music is surprisingly good, works well with the sense of wonder the show offers in the religious themes and grand-spanning story. A bit of a sci-modernistic vibe but the best part of the sound. Otherwise, the dub is as you'd expect from a 90s OVA, heightened with the masterful mix of Japanese names and terms that highly contrast the english of everything else, to the point where feeble-minded non-intellectuals would become lost when the expositions happen. Characters Like Richard and Mortimer, these characters are far too deep to explain to any mere non-intellectual so it's quite inefficient to go into detail about these slap nut peanut wads who have little to no characteristics beyond anything supremely generic. But Takahashi or whatever that milquetoast puss' name is, is a total gasping pussbag who is a massive wuss. Overall I wouldn't expect many people to truly comprehend this masterful piece of work and in the end, I didn't get it and nnor will you because it's a pile of crap made by a guy wanking all over it with his degree in Contemporary Religious Studies with a Minor in Mythological History. Bottom Text.

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