A masochistic mobster meets his match in the dark streets of Tokyo. His nemesis, Ichi, is a psychopathic killer with an unrelenting thirst for bloodshed. A horrifying secret burns in his mind, and his hands deal death without mercy. At last, the shrouds of mystery are parted to reveal the origin of the monster. The city will know its greatest fear at the unveiling of Ichi the Killer.
This is NOT worthy of the Takaashi Miike film that everyone loves. Avoid this anime for bad art, reused cells, boring plot development and confusing situations that are supposedly revealing details about Ichi's backstory. The shock level of the film is rather tame, despite the overtones of marital sexual abuse and of course violent sexual frustration. Watching this leaves you feeling dirty, and not the refreshing enjoyable dirty like watching the real movie. Go see a Miike film instead.
Man oh man. If you like twisted, violent, psychopathic and demented killers, YOU WILL LOVE this OVA. I laughed alot during this insanely twisted mindfuck of an anime. I watched it twice in a row, the second was to show my wife cause she got home about 10 minutes after I finished the first viewing. She thought it was stupid and sick. But she likes the anime Red Garden, so she don't know nothing. Animation was excellent and sound was great. The opening theme is a psychotic, energy filled kill song that may give you a siezure or at least the urge to laugh or
be violent. This is a twisted story of how to make a psycho killer. Watch and you'll see.
It's no secret that sometimes I'm a masochist when it comes to anime, or film, for that matter. There's something about subjecting yourself to the blinding agony of something that's so terribly made that it makes you question your existence. There's something pure about the awfulness.
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.
Extreme violence and sadism are things that really shoud be handled with care in animation, otherwise you end up with something like Ichi The Killer.
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.