Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wicked City

 This first paragraph will be mostly reminiscing and rambling about anime, so if that doesn't interest you, just skip on ahead to the second paragraph for info on Wicked City. I started watching anime at a very young age, I just didn't know it was something different until my teens. Growing up in the 80s I watched alot of Nickelodeon. Back when it started it had no original programming, just whatever random crap they could get a hold of. And many of those early cartoons were in fact, anime. The Little Prince, Grimms Fairy Tales, and Bell and Sebastian to name a few. I was a big Voltron fan growing up and dabbled in Robotech. It wasn't until spring break 1992 when my local Movie Gallery added a tiny animation section that I really realized these cartoons were Japanese and sort of their own genre. I rented up everything they had from Robot Carnival to Windaria, the old Streamline Pictures releases. Not long after I saw Vampire Hunter D. and I was totally hooked. From there I watched for years. Saws trends come and go and saw the eventual de-evolution of the genre after the anime boom of late 90s. And though I no longer think of myself as an anime fan, I do hold an extreme fondness for the classic stuff.

That being said, I come to Wicked City. This review is for the book, not the anime. Written by Hideyuki Kikuchi in 1985, Wicked City tells the story of an elite guard that defends the human world against demons from, you guessed it, the demon world. Written in first person, it is a journal of sorts of a man named Taki, a human who uses psychic powers to battle demons. His partner, a good demon named Makie, joins him to protect a small Italian pervert who is instrumental in keeping the peace between the two worlds. The plot may seem generic, but you have to keep in mind when it was written. It was one of the first of its kind and set the stage for dark animes and hentai to come. Hideyuki would develop plot devices and gags that would forever be mainstays in hentai. Don't get me wrong, Wicked City is not hentai, it has a serious plot and much action, but it is very naughty in parts including a giant vagina with teeth that tries to eat the hero. 

I go won't too much more into the story. It is fairly similar to the anime adaption, but with much more detail. The world they live in and the urgency of the peace treaty make a great deal more sense. If you liked the anime, you will enjoy the book even more. It is also cool to see the blueprint for the anime that followed.

The translation, by Tor/Seven Seas publishing is fair, though slightly confusing in a few select parts. Not enough to discourage from reading, but enough to make you have to go back and read a couple of sentences over again. There are also some scattered illustrations throughout the book. The art is good, but often contradicts Kikuchi's descriptions completely. Makie is described as having long dark hair in the book, yet the drawing of her has short blonde hair. 

Wicked City, subtitle Black Guard, is the first of three Wicked City books put out by Tor/Seven Seas. If there are more coming I am not aware.

If you are a fan of dark, somewhat sexual, fiction, you will enjoy Wicked Enjoy. Many people compare the author to Stephen King, which I do not agree with at all. I think Clive Barker would be a better Western author to compare to.

Wicked City went on to be adapted into an animated film as well as a Chinese live action film.

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