Tokyo Majin, Part One: Dark Arts Chapter – DVD Review

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Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 350 minutes
Genre: Supernatural/Action
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: December 9, 2008

Definitely not a good time to visit Tokyo.

A zombie horde has infested the impressive streets of Tokyo and people are being ripped to pieces when a group of young heroes appear and battle against the supernatural threat that holds the city captive. There are demons that pop up as well and those thought to be dead are found walking the streets seeking revenge. Welcome to Tokyo Majin, Part One: Dark Arts Chapter, and an anime where a group of High school students are the city’s only hope.

Part One’s story arc is told in 14 episodes on two discs and there’s plenty of blood and bad language that earns this series its MA rating. Still, you can’t judge the series by its first episode that tries to blend horror, supernatural occurrences and action only to confuse viewers. By the second episode, however, you’ll find that this is more a supernatural action series that does have a lot to offer. We’ve seen shows like this but what separates Tokyo Majin from other shows is the action or supernatural twists that doesn’t take itself too seriously and the stories are well told.

We are introduced to five Magami Academy high school students from distinct backgrounds and personalities that normally wouldn’t mix well together in social circles. There’s the tough kid named Kyouichi and the sensitive captain of the school’s wrestling team named Daigo. Then there’s the dainty Class President named Aoi and the tomboyish captain of the archery team named Komaki Sakurai. Finally, we meet the mysterious and cute Tatsuma who is a new transfer student that inexplicably knows who Kyouichi is and instantly becomes his best friend despite the fact that both boys are as different at night and day. These five becomes the survivors of a supernatural attack that awakens hidden powers that will turn these five youths into the defenders of the city.

Bloody crimes are popping up all over the city that have the police force baffled but the five students know that this is the work of demons that are manipulating spirits and other monstrous creatures. Powerful alchemists in Tokyo attribute these events to an occurrence that took place in the Feudal era when a clan was wiped out. To make matters worse, there’s Tendo Kozunu (and his young companion) who happens to be the mastermind behind many spirits turning into evil demons.

Tokyo Majin doesn’t just concentrate on the supernatural events and the action sequences that unfold because of it but also focuses on the characters that become more fleshed out along the way. We come to know that Daigo is not only a good wrestler with a noble heart but he also loves to cook and is deeply in love with Sakurai who only thinks about her friend Aoi. There are even episodes that give us a look into what Tatsuma was like when he was a child and the fact that he comes to appreciate his friendship with the others. Watching the five mismatched characters deal with regular issues such as their slumping grades (due to combating the supernatural on a nightly basis) and putting up with the nosy inquiries from Anko who runs the school newspaper.

Each member of the group brings their own talents to the battles against demons and those they manipulate. The episodes in the Dark Arts Chapter features a young guitarist that manipulates crows to seek revenge for him, a boy with a crush on Aoi who punishes the bullies that killed his puppy by pulling them into his dream world and a girl with a grudge with Sakurai. Tatsuma even goes on a date not knowing he’s being drawn into a trap designed by their twisted adversary. Meanwhile, we learn more about Aoi and the mystery that is Hisui Kisaragi – a young man that has served Aoi’s family and has sworn to protect the girl and carry out his duty to destroy the Bodhisattva Eye. The final confrontation with Tendo Kozunu is one of Part One’s many highlights and the conclusion of the Dark Arts Chapter sets up the next chapter nicely enough.

Tokyo Majin, Part One: Dark Arts Chapter is certainly one of those fun anime series that definitely shouldn’t be ignored if you like your action mixed in with supernatural elements. The animation is more than decent and there’s a good story here that started off a bit shaky at first but takes off in a satisfyingly bloody and action-packed jaunt to Tokyo fans of the genre will definitely want to take.

 

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: B-
With a cast of interesting characters and an intriguing plot, the Dark Arts Chapter is a great introduction to the series. Yes, the show tries to find itself among the supernatural realm as well as the action elements but, in the end, Tokyo Majin’s 14 episodes proves to be straight up fun to watch.

VIDEO QUALITY: A-
With the exception of only a few key characters, the characters as well as the animation isn’t too spectacular or original. That said, however, it isn’t too bad and the effects do stand out. It’s also a colorful series that looks good in the two DVDs that make up Part One.

AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The English dub cast is actually quite impressive and do a great job of bringing these characters to life. It’s probably one of a few times where I actually preferred the English dub over the great Japanese voices. The score is excellent and captures the creepy mood perfectly. I also enjoyed the closing theme from ACID but their song for the opening theme sounds like their choking a cat.

EXTRAS: F
There’s very little in terms of extras and bonuses aside from a few collection of trailers and the clean opening and closing animation.

OVERALL: B-
While not overwhelmingly spooky, Tokyo Majin is like a fun thrill ride that has no shortage of surprising twists and exciting turns. While the series doesn’t push the supernatural genre to new heights, Part One’s 14 episodes makes this a series a bloody good time.

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