Surprisingly this short OVA was really interesting. So interesting that I didn't notice each episode was 40 minutes long until the last episode.
I guess you could say the story is pretty typical. A group of people exterminating demons to keep the town at peace [or because it's their job], but it has a more, how should I say this, natural feel to it. Most of the time an anime with this kind of story tends to be a little too supernatural. Sometimes even making totally impossible things seem possible.
The animation was beautiful the whole way through. It was really detailed, yet sometimes so detailed it
was disgusting. I just wanted to skip over some of those deformed faces. There is also a problem with some scenes being too dark. I know this is supposed to be horror, but it made it hard to see what was going on.
I didn't pay too much attention to this, but the reason may be that there was barely any BGM. It sounded as natural as possible when in the city or a bar. The only time there was some music was during an action scene to make it more exciting.
The main characters made this fun to watch, but there wasn't much to them. You were never told why Enma has to destroy these demons, how he met Yukihime or how long they have know each other, and what Kapaeru's true form is. All of the character development was spent on the minor characters. Which in this case is important to better understand the situation they face.
The comedic scenes created by Enma and his group were always entertaining. There were some nice fights as well, but they never lasted any longer than maybe 3 minutes. Some scenes, on the other hand, felt like they were longer than they should be. I'm sure each episode could have been 30 minutes or a little less if they wanted to make this more enjoyable.
In the end this OVA receives an 8. There isn't really anything else I can say except if you have time and this interests you then give it a shot. I enjoyed it and maybe you will too.
It begins like this: A woman, covered in blood, is walking through a dark maze of alleyways. She's pursued by a little boy in a dark cloak, and a ghostly young girl in a white kimono. As the boy and girl corner the injured woman, they're momentarily obscured by a patch of shadows, and when they step out into the light on the other side, they've somehow become older; the little boy is now a tall, intimidating man, and the young girl is now a striking silver-haired teen. None of this is particularly new for the horror genre, but it's executed well enough, and watching
it, I was having the comfortable sort of fun which arises from seeing something that's generic but strongly presented.
That was quickly ruined when a demon fetus covered in blood crawled out of the injured woman's nether regions and attacked the silver-haired girl, latching onto her chest. The man in the black cloak used a magical staff to blast it with fire, burning it to death and searing off the front of his companion's kimono in the process. The scene then changed, but not before zooming in for a sexploitive close-up of the female lead's bare breasts. Real classy. I imagine all of this might be somebody's cup of tea, but for me, the fun had ended.
What is this “interesting” creation that I've described? Well, it's Kikoushi Enma, a four-part OVA that tries like hell to successfully weave together elements of psychological horror, fantasy, and sexual humor into something worth watching. And if it had a decent story, or characters worth mentioning, it might have even succeeded. Unfortunately neither of those elements are present, and while there's a good artistic effort from Brains Base, and an acceptable musical score, ultimately this OVA's writing drags the entire thing down.
The first episode doesn't waste any time laying the groundwork, and we quickly learn that the man in the black cloak and the woman in the white kimono are Enma and Yukihime, respectively. They've been placed on Earth to destroy demons who possess people. Together with their magical hat friend Chapeauji and their toad-duck-monster friend Kapaeru, they pose as a “supernatural detective agency” to draw themselves closer to possible demon-related events.
Two episodes of the OVA are self-contained; one is about a vampire prostitute, and the other is about a doll who kills people. Clearly points for originality are not to be awarded here. I'd also consider it a mistake to place these two episodes back-to-back; they're so incredibly similar, so formulaic, that it feels like the same story being told with a slightly different supporting cast. Discoveries are made at the same rate, the same conversations occur, and plot twists and violent confrontations happen at exactly the same points in each episode.
The third and fourth episodes are paired together, telling the story of a group of people trapped in a house which seems to taunt them with reminders of their checkered pasts, picking them off one by one and turning them against each other as it does so. Again, we're treading pretty familiar ground for horror, and the execution here isn't strong enough to make up for the lack of anything truly new; it's predictable, without suspense, and altogether pretty darn boring to watch. In addition, the shift from violent, gory fare to a sudden unforeseen attempt at less in-your-face psychological horror is totally without tact or subtlety, and it gives the OVA even more of an identity crisis than it already had. These two episodes also make an effort to create tie-ins with the first two by bringing in several recurring characters and attempting to stitch them into the plot. The overall impression is of something crude and clumsy that desperately tries to create continuity when in fact there is none to be found.
The biggest problem with the story as a whole is the lack of not just an overarching plot, but even a basic explanation of what happened to lead us to this point in time. Several “minor” details, such as where the demons are coming from, and why it is the job of the dynamic duo Enma and Yukihime to destroy them, are left out. It's tough to care about what is happening, or be intrigued by the actions of the cast, when we're not given any context to work with. In the rare cases where the writers see fit to give us a clue about the nature of the situation, it's normally an outright cliché. For example, we learn that the demons “feed on the darkness in the human heart” and that “all humans have darkness within them.” There are also massive plot holes. I won't spoil it, of course, but suffice to say that at least one major plot point revealed at the end of the fourth episode (which is clearly supposed to be some sort of mind-blowing twist) makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in the scheme of the OVA as a whole. This is an adaptation, and whether flaws this serious are present in the source material or not is beyond me, but they're definitely present here.
The characters are a perfect match for the story; they're also paper-thin and without any background. By the final roll of the credits, we still don't know who Enma, Yukihime, or any of their supernatural companions are, much less how they know each other or why they're doing what they're doing. They're clearly supernatural themselves, so it would be interesting to know what their motivations are for killing other supernatural beings, and how they feel about it. Unfortunately the OVA never answers these questions. None of the cast members have a single identifiable character trait, so it goes without saying that none of them really develop or have any meaningful interactions with one another. There is some weird unrequited romance between Enma and Yukihime, but it's tough to give them a thought as a couple when they don't even have a leg to stand on as individuals. Helping the main cast's problems along is the fact that they're barely even present in the third and fourth episodes, essentially turning them into a minor sideshow act in their own circus.
The supporting cast isn't much better. The series has a weird habit of throwing random characters into the mix with no introduction or previous knowledge of their existence. For example, in the third and fourth episodes, five characters are trapped in the haunted house. Two of them—a cop who investigates the doings of Enma and company, and a reporter who does the same—were present in the first couple episodes. However, the remaining three, a creepy perverted teacher and two young girls (go figure) are just suddenly tossed in for what seems to be no reason other than “we needed more characters.” The most interesting character in the entire span of the show is the aforementioned reporter, and several scenes involving her are the closest this OVA ever gets to being genuinely engrossing or suspenseful.
Brains Base as a studio has a good artistic track record, and while this isn't the best I've seen from them, it's more than suitable for the purposes of the OVA. The character designs for the main roles are generally strong and distinctive-looking. The supporting cast members are a little more generic, but certainly not offensive. Where the art really works is in creating a setting and atmosphere; the use of lighting, combined with the backgrounds, is effective in giving the impression of a dark and slummy city district that's the perfect home for modern-day demons to take up residence. The lighting does sometimes cross the thin line between “atmospherically dark” and “too damn dark to see anything,” as is a common problem with this type of setting in general, but the damage is mostly kept to a minimum.
Music is generally used to a good effect in this OVA. It typically consists of ominous orchestral tunes, spearheaded by traditional Japanese stringed instruments and booming drums. The use of an older style of music in a modern setting works surprisingly well, given the sense that the conflict of Enma-and-company vs. demons is an ancient one. Sometimes the soundtrack hurts for variety, as most of the songs sound pretty similar to one another. However, the music is used sparsely enough that this doesn't hurt my impression of it overall. In the grand scheme, it's not a great soundtrack by any stretch, but it's a much better one than the story really warrants, and along with the art, it's definitely one of the stronger aspects of the OVA.
In terms of the spirit of the whole production, the best thing I can compare this OVA to is not other anime, but live-action films in the vein of the “Friday the 13th” franchise. There's lots of bad jokes, mindless gore and violence, and a pointless emphasis on sex that might entertain the more animal part of the human brain. If that sounds good to you, then pick this one up, because it won't disappoint you in those regards. But anyone seeking a strong story or memorable characters would be better served looking elsewhere.
Just finished watching, so I thought it was time for a full review. It was a little short, but still a great OVA to watch.
A great little story to watch, It may seem like the classic: Demons appear and all of a sudden a team shows up to combat them, and i guess in a sense that's true, but there is more to it than that. It has a down to earth feel to it. Although you may think pssh superpowers and demons.... how can that be down to earth? Well Although there are superpowers involved, nothing is overly dramatic and over the
top. there is also the human element of the regular individuals who get dragged into the horrors that surround them. All in all, everything is wrapped up pretty nicely and closes off with a somewhat dramatic finale.
Probably the best part of this entire OVA was the artwork. it builds so much of an atmosphere that pulls the viewer into the environment, experience the emotions of the characters, and the thrill of watching what is unfolding on screen. One thing that was lacking a bit was the artwork of the characters. Don't get me wrong, the characters were decent looking but they weren't anything special. It seems to stand out a bit more when you compare minorly detailed characters with the highly detailed backgrounds.
Sound: My first impression on this OVA is that probably where this OVA is lacking the most in is sound. I meant that quite literally, there didn't feel like there was that much sounds going on. Actually looking back on it, and re-listening to a couple segments from the episodes i noticed how wrong i was. There is sounds throughout most of the way, but it feels like it has been incorporated so well into the scenery and what is happening that I didn't actually notice. I was drawn so deeply into actual going ons of the scene. The dramatic ominous music, was used throughout, but never overused, and was always changing. the other sounds generally consisted of things like characters breathing loudly, screams, and the scenery. I thought that this just added to the dark and ominous atmosphere that was created throughout. Although you could argue well.... there is not too much background music, and there isn't even an opening. I would agree with most of that. There isn't much background music, but it is well placed. However the lack of an opening, and the kinda lousy ending song were a bit of a disappointment. Ranking this OVA purely based on sound, its kind of low, in that it although it builds up the atmosphere very well, stand alone the sounds are quite generic.
One thing about this OVA that i was not overly fond of. The main three characters seemed somewhat one dimensional, and we barely learned nearly anything about them. Little to no character development. Motivation- nada, backstories- nada, how they got their powers- nada. Those characters were a bit of a disappointment. On the other hand however the "mortal" characters whom the stories revolved around,we had a little bit more information about them. The characters were a bit better introduced and we learn more about them, but even then, we still only scratch the surface. Overall the largest flaw of the OVA
I found this OVA to be very enjoyable. I found myself constantly leaning forward towards my computer screen just being engrossed into the story. I honestly didn't notice the 40 min time of each episode until i finished it. Well worth the watch
I do recommend this to most people. Although there is a slight bit of nudity, and ecchi scenes, nothing is over the top and it really doesn't take anything away from what the storyline does so well to build up. If you can find the time (and i am sure you can) i suggest you to check it out.
wow, lets start this out by saying i will never forget this anime and i dont think i will be the same after watching it. this anime started out good, and you dont know where its going. but it takes a strong psychological turn and by the 3rd ova it takes it in a direction i never expected, its not the violence even though it had some decently violent scenes.that did not bother me so much, but it was a psychological headf**k on the darkness of the human heart. and it was quite scary in the last 2 episodes not for the fact of
anything but the emotions and thoughts it evokes in the watcher... i loved it and i wanted to give it a 8 or 9 overall but i had to give it a 10, just for the fact it is very good, but also one of the very few anime i have seen that evoke such strong feelings and thoughts, i will never forget this anime and i dont think i will be the same after watching it. a must see for anyone into the psychological animes and also for those into anything GOOD...