English: Ichi The Killer: Episode 0
Synonyms: Koroshiya Ichi The Animation: Episode 0
Japanese: 殺し屋１ THE ANIMATION EPISODE 0
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Sep 27, 2002
Duration: 45 min.
Rating: R+ - Mild NudityL represents licensing company
Score: 6.031 (scored by 2,452 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
The OVA is only 45 minutes long, but by 30 minutes in you start having to endure it instead of simply watching and not because it's disturbing, but because it is awful. The OVA shows the MC's past, prior to his transformation as the frenzied hopeless psychopath Ichi The Killer, so possibly the only good aspect of the show is when we delve into Ichi's psyche, witnessing when the line between violence and sex blurred in his mind, specially in what is by far the most interesting sequence of the short film when we see something involving BDSM and the dissecting of a frog.
The pacing is terrible, we have no sense of plot development whatsoever, and the animation starts half decent before gradually becoming horrendous. And aside from the remix song containing Ichi's screams that plays in the beggining, middle and ending of the OVA there's nothing awfully interesting about the sound design and the voice acting.
Honestly, I would recomend Takashi Miike's live action adaptation instead of this one, because even if it suffers from the same issues from the OVA regarding plot and pacing it stills benefits from the incredible Tadanobu Asano's perfomance as Kakihara (the most interesting character of the movie that unfortunately is almost absent in the OVA) and Miike's trademark black humor, something that can make the gore a little more bearable for the squeamish.
Since any kind of humour is lacking in the OVA we have nothing left but extremely unrealistic evil characters (seriously, everyone in japan is freaking jerk apparently) and unintentional comedy due to the over the top Ichi's face expressions.
In the end I really don't know the reason why this even exists. Does it want to expand Ichi's character? Does it want to add to the overall universe? Beucase if the answer is yes it failed miserably. It's boring, dumb and pointless and I don't think it's possible to recommend it to anyone. Not to fans of the movie or the manga (which I haven't read by the way) and neither to ultraviolence junkies. If you want just some silly, fun bloody horror/action anime, trust me, look elsewhere.
This is the first anime I have seen that has delved into the psychology of what society sees as the ultimate in perversion and depravity - ie, brutal murder or torture giving the perpetrator sadistic sexual pleasure. That's essentially what happens in Ichi the Killer: Episode 0. If it had been nothing more than torture porn, I'd probably still have watched it all the way through, but I'd've given it a 4/10 at most. What caught my attention was essentially the parallels it draws with a great deal of serial killer cases. It vaguely covers the MC's 'descent into madness' in an artistically gritty dementia style punctuated with a jarring soundtrack that incorporates his screams. It portrays the figure of a great deal of serial killers - a pushover, a target for bullies who is manipulated and made fun of by his peers whose parents are more okay with the idea of him being a bully himself than the thought that he is the target, and who nobody could imagine would be capable of killing. The way this was delivered was pretty excellent in my books, and that's the reason why I have rated it a 7/10 - because of my interest in the topic and the fact that it didn't let me down in that respect.
What makes this 45 minute long OVA lose points for me is essentially everything other than that. Since it's something of a prologue, it basically just chronicles the leadup to the manga and thus Ichi's backstory. The plot elements external to that which are supposed to lead into the 'main plot' as it were seem totally unrealistic, almost annoyingly so.
In a nutshell, this is a jarring, psychological mess that most might find simultaneously disgusting, confusing and boring. If it sounds up your alley, give it a go - it's not like you'll be spending weeks on end watching an endless series. Why the fuck not, right? read more
As stated, this is a prequel that details Ichi's psychological deterioration. It actually differs from the prequel manga in several ways, most of which were for the better. I actually feel that this OVA is a fairly solid prequel, as it firmly establishes Ichi's character motivations and sadistic tendencies. I feel that the sometimes frenetic and loud nature of this OVA contributed to the dark nature of the story, and better allowed us viewers to understand Ichi's disturbed psyche. I don't have a lot to say, except that this OVA was a pleasant surprise. In fact, I plan to buy the DVD now to add to my Ichi collection (which so far consists of only the film sadly). Unfortunately though, there is a downside to this OVA. The animation was TERRIBLE. Absolutely horrendous looking. Probably the ugliest anime I have ever seen to be brutally honest.
In the end, I would actually recommend watching this OVA. The production value may be awful, but it is worth sitting through for the background information it provides. read more
And that brings me to Ichi the Killer. Ichi is awful.
But it's the kind of awful that I can get a kick out of.
Ichi also gets kicks out of kicking people and being awful. But not for the same reason I... you know what? Just never mind.
Ichi has got some weird, wannabe arthouse stuff going on. Lots of single colored frames- red, yellow, blue, purple with action panels shot onto them, then flashing red backgrounds. Near epileptic seizure inducing flashing included, the rest of the animation looks pretty crappy for a 2002 anime. All around rough around the edges. It's almost like they were going for the 'ultraviolent 80s OVA' look... but failed.
Conversely- they did get the ultraviolence right. Some brutal beatings, knockouts, and eviscerations give it the edge, but then Ichi puts a touch of nasty on it. I imagine most people have seen the movie who are reading this, and yes. Ichi gets off to killing. A literal murder boner.
For those unfamiliar, Ichi the Killer is a film to which this OVA serves as a quick and dirty prequel to. The film is a fairly well received cult classic horror/torture porn flick, and this OVA tries to capture the feel, but just comes up way short on delivery.
It's supposed to serve as a prequel, showing how the unfeeling psychotic sadist Ichi got his start- from dissecting frogs to bludgeoning animals and then moving up into goretastic murders, but instead is really just a psychosis filled violence romp, with some sex thrown in for good measure.
Overall, not a great watch by any means, but if things like Violence Jack, Wicked City, Mad Bull, etc appeal to you for their ultraviolence- Ichi the Killer is much in the same vein, same low expectations. read more
In the terms of the characters, Shiroishi(MC) is the only one that kinda stands out. All the other characters were pretty one dimensional and stayed that way throughout the entirety of the OVA. The bullies were dicks, his friend betrayed him, his parents didn’t seem to care that much about him, his parole officer and love interest(I don’t know what else to call her) just wanted to use him, essentially everyone in the OVA is pretty much a dick to Shiroishi. Shiroishi is the only character that seems to have any development whatsoever when he snaps and turns into a sadistic murder machine who gets off on killing people. So the characters were pretty bland, but Shiroishi does redeem it partially because of his interesting transition and his internal battle with his feelings.
The story is nothing to write home about. If you want to know what it is about, you can go read the synopsis. The story didn’t take any surprising turns and pretty much followed how I thought it was going to play out after I got a read on the mood. From the little research I did on the movie, it looks like the stories do connect with the mobster that Shiroishi is sent to kill. The story was alright at best, didn’t really make me feel anything. Felt like the did some things just for the shock, but I guess that is a major reason why you would watch this OVA though.
The animation seemed pretty normal for the time. It really hasn’t aged that well and the parts where Shiroishi has machine punches or kicks is kind of a disconnect. The art is much worse. All the character designs seem just plain ugly, especially some of the faces that they make. Some the characters in the dojo scene looked like children with the faces of adults, which made for a good laugh. Still, the art is pretty bad. The gore isn’t shown that much and when it is, it’s not that great. If you want to watch an anime for the gore porn, there are better choices than this.
I actually liked the music in this OVA. The use of Shiroishi’s vocal clips in the opening/ending reminded me of the This Is Sparta remixes. The background music did it’s job and added to the scene, it might of been a little overbearing at times.
I would pass this OVA up unless you watched the movie and wanted some backstory or you wanted to see how it compared to the manga. It was bad and just felt like a waste of time. While I didn’t really like the OVA, I am kinda interested in what the movie is like, so it is good in that respect. If you came for gore, you should go elsewhere. read more