8 Man (8マン?) or Eightman (エイトマン, Eitoman?) is a fictional manga and anime superhero created in 1963 by science fiction writer Kazumasa Hirai and manga artist Jiro Kuwata. He is considered Japan's earliest cyborg superhero, predating even Kamen Rider … see full wiki
Taking place in a city over ran by gang violence. A private investigator named Hazama is attempting to infiltrate a mega corporation, in order to learn the whereabouts of a missing scientist. His investigation causes him to be gravely wounded by a cyborg assailant. His wounds become serious to the point, that a scientist decides to remake him into the newest version of the cyborg crime fighter 8-Man. Now with his new abilities; Hazama continues his mission against the company, as well as becoming the protector of a woman named Sachiko, whom he dragged into his now personal war.-summary
Released in 1993, 8-Man Afteris the sequel to the original 8-Man series of the 60's. The 8-Man has garnered a following throughout the years. The character was also given a live action film I have never seen, and a couple of manga series as well. There has also been a video game released of him for the Neo Geo system. 8-Man has also been said to be the inspiration for Robo-Cop.The similarities seem to be rather obvious, but I think it pales in comparison to the robotic police officer.
8-Man Afteris in no way a work of art, and I could never consider it to be classic material. It is a below average OVA that would have been better suited for a 13 episode television series format. The story is simple and predictable at times, to include, it doesn't truly excel in any area.
The OVA contains action scenes that are brutal at times. You get quite a few graphic death and body tearing scenes, with the occasional blood gushes that have become synonymous with anime of the 90's. Some of the action consist of 8-Man running pass his opponents at very high speeds causing them damage. Plus, using his super strength to tear off their cyborg body parts in bloody fashion. It's cool to watch at first, but soon becomes boring due to its repetitive usage, which is very similar to the exploding heads found in Fist of the Northstar.
The setting of the anime is an often over looked attribute. The OVA paints a decent picture of the crime laden city. The gangsters have no respect for the police department, and random violence does claim the lives of civilians. The dark tone is never really lost, and the very small comedic segments doesn't rob it of the dark setting provided. Unfortunately, the length didn't give this viewer much reason to truly become gripped to the story. This is only one of the areas where a longer length could have helped the story development. I believe there was a bit too much attempted here, with not enough runtime to accomplish it.
Surprisingly, there is a very small bit of character development to be found here, which is mainly provided through character background. Now to me, character background doesn't quite equate to character development. Unless, the character can somehow grow, or degrade into a better or worst person, but the background was indeed needed. Since it added a bit of depth to at least one of the characters, in particular, a former washed up football player seeking to regain his former glory through cyborg implants. I'm sure there's a former broken athlete before his time out there, who could relate to this in some way. Once again, it's a shame that the length works against this story element as with others. A longer length could have fleshed out the characters a lot more.
The artwork is decent and doesn't have a dated feel to me. 8-Man has a nice, yet cold look with the coolest design in the OVA. The gangsters who are referred to as cyber junkies are ok themselves, with some of them using rocket launchers and gatling guns for limbs. Almost everything else is sub-par at best.
The animation has plenty of down moments on the other hand, which consist of re-used cels. For example, 8-Man running in slow motion on static backgrounds time and time again. Plus, too many annoying stills, such as the main cast speaking and moving, while everyone is in freeze frame motion. Some of the battles took the lazy approach by providing quick paced, non detailed action to simulate action. The few battle scenes that contain motion are pretty good though. Although the soundtrack is nothing impressive and barely worth mentioning. The music sets a good mood for the action taking place. I also have to mention that there is no Japanese sub for this release, which is actually a bad thing. The English dialogue which is passable provides at least one glaring hole in the story, which can come off confusing.
The OVA has an ending that seems too rushed, but at least the loose ends are tied up well. The main villain is also a plus in someways, however, he never came off as a real threat to me. 8-Man Aftercan really use a remake. The film can use a longer run time, better animation, and character development. It definitely needs more to become the classic that several has claimed it to be.
Also, I have known many to compare it with Ninja Scroll in a good way concerning action. Don't believe this for one second, as a non fan of Ninja Scroll, honesty on this misleading claim is a must. There is no comparison between the two. Ninja Scroll is far more stylish, with much better and memorable choreographed action. It blows 8-Man After into pieces in the action department. I only recommend this title to hard core anime fans and action gurus. There is also no fan service for those who must have that in their anime. Others are better off skipping it. This OVA contains a 104 minute run time.
Pros: -Some good gore, dark tone, somewhat decent action at times...
Cons: - ...action is weak otherwise, plot holes, re-used animation