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Demon City Shinjuku

  • Sep 23, 2006
Pros: English VAs - not bad for the 90s

Cons: Meh.

The Bottom Line: Mediocre and fairly forgettable – see how I couldn’t even come up with a title?

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

Wow, my first anime review in…well, actually it wasn’t all that long ago so never mind. Heh. I should be starting off in anime with the 4th Inuyasha movie in my after-300 reviews slot. But I have to watch it again, and my little sister already had this playing, so I figured, “Eh, who cares?” Maybe I can make this review more interesting by saying I’m typing this out in just jeans and a brassiere. Whoo hoo! Yeah lingerie! Nicole’s gone risqué!

Oh the humanity.

Anyway, this review concerns an anime film, Demon City Shinjuku, stuck in VHS form and without the Japanese language version. I got this from a friend of my older sister way back when in high school. I simply forgot to give it back.

That having been said, ten years ago the city of Shinjuku went to hell in a handbasket…or just simply went to hell. The man behind all this is named Levih Rah, who plans on having good times when he can finally open the door to hell and let all the demons in to the world of man for a fine time of horror and chaos.

Kyoya is just your average guy. He swears (often), hits on girls, and practices the art of nenpo just like his father. He’s rather selfish to boot. But when the president of the free world is attacked and nearly killed, Kyoya finds himself asked to do what seems to be the impossible – journey into Shinjuku, find Levih Rah, and kill him. Yeah, right. Kyoya doesn’t think so. But after he’s asked again by the president's daughter, Sayaka, he realizes he has no choice – especially since she’s going whether he does or not. So against his better judgment, Kyoya goes to the crumbling Shinjuku, where demons roam free, and the remaining people live on the edge through greed and sin. Perhaps the stranger Mephisto will be of help, not to mention that little guy named Chibi…

This is, not surprisingly, an older movie. Slipping out in 1988, one can tell it’s older mostly because of the style – the girl’s eyes aren’t half the size of her face at this point. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t well drawn; I’d choose this over any lame American cartoon today. Hooray for details, and of course, unique demons. So an A for the animation – and I liked Mephisto’s style.

Voices. Well, considering I don’t have the Japanese version, and am not going to rush out to buy it in order to compare, you’ll just have to judge that much for yourselves. The English version isn’t half bad though, considering the times when it was done. Kyoya works out nicely, though I really do wonder just how much swearing is in the Japanese version. I mean, he swears…a lot. Levih Rah (whose name, I might add, has questionable spelling to me) is very good. The voice actor could have toned it down just a little bit, but overall he had a great evil laugh and was pretty nasty the entire time, so a cookie to him. Sayaka was okay, though some people will find her annoying. I suppose I’m simply used to her, though it’s still a little weird. Her voice seems a little off and has a slight English accent to it, while interesting, makes it slightly odd, especially since her father does not. Mephisto, while also odd, manages to work out. He could easily be replaced by some other smooth talking voice actor though. Besides, what some weird semi-French guy is doing in Shinjuku is beyond me. Then there’s Chibi, who works out very well. Though obviously Mexican (another random person in Shinjuku – beats me), the voice and the character mesh nicely.

On the note of voices and scripts, I do wonder who was doing the translating. Aside from the amount of swearing Kyoya lets loose, there are two or three times when Chibi’s mouth is obviously moving and yet nothing comes out of it. I find this odd (of course) and don’t have an explanation other than someone screwed up, or that’s how it was originally, which is just as weird.

Music is, ah, hahaha. Sorry. It’s obviously old. And though it manages to fit for the most part, the thing that makes it even more awkward is the simple fact that 90% of the movie is music-free. There will be absolutely no background music and all of a sudden, wham! the music bursts into the movie for some pivotal moment. Adds some corniness to the movie, as a matter of fact. But it can’t be helped.

The movie is decent, characters are fine, plot isn’t all that original though. I mean, honestly, how many times has Japan/Tokyo/some other city been destroyed and eventually rebuilt or threatened by the onslaught of a demon takeover? Not so new. The methods used to kill demons is interesting, but, ah, questionable. Chibi mentions that nuclear devices were used to no avail, and yet Mephisto aces one with a bottle of Jack Daniels? I’m embellishing, of course, but still. And of course the end, while the whole nenpo thing was unique, was just way too easy. I’ll bite and claim that it’s possible, but come on, it wasn’t much of a climax. A little too deus ex machina for me.

3 stars, though I probably wouldn't ever bother mentioning it to a friend, so watch at your own risk – maybe I’ll sell mine on eBay.


Absolutely Pointless Trivia: If you watch Johnny Mnemonic, this movie is playing when he gets his first download, a screen capture of it becoming a part of the code.


Viewing Format: VHS
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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More Demon City Shinjuku reviews
Quick Tip by . June 03, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
I haven't seen this in roughly 9 years, but while this wasn't terrible, this can be best described as "Wicked City Lite."  In other words, imagine Wicked City with less violence and much, much less sexual overtones and starring a protagonist more identifiable with teenage males.      I say skip this and get your paws on Wicked City, BioHunter, Doomed Megalopolis, and Rin:  Daughters of Mnemosyne instead.
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Nicole ()
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Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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About this movie


Sayaka and Kyoya must fight the evil Rah who threatens the city of Shinjuku in this futuristic Animi by legendary writer-director Yoshiyaki Kawajiri.
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Release Date: 1993
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: Central Park Media (January 28, 2003)
Runtime: 1hr 22min

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