Reviewer: Rich (Webmaster)
on: Entire film
MVM have been releasing some really great
stuff of late – Tenchi Muyo, Serial Experiments Lain, Ninja
Scroll TV and Fruits Basket to name a few – so it was a surprise and
a shame that they have blotted their copybook with this ‘90’s demon anime
The back plot is surprisingly well explained – at the dawn of time mother nature
created a demon in order to provide trials to make the fledgling human race
adapt and grow, unfortunately it became too powerful and she was forced to
create a guardian to defend humanity. The story begins in the future where
a worker for a research company transforms into a hideous monster which badly
wounds his fiancée. Now driven by a desire to give her former lover the
release of death she searches the city for the monster he became, and soon she
has enlisted the help of a mysterious man who lives in the ruins that were once
downtown Shinjuku. As is always the thing with stories like this there is
of course a shady organisation which appears to be manipulating things for some
unknown purpose, strong supernatural elements and plenty of mysteries to be
Sounds a lot to fit into 40-odd minutes doesn’t it? And that is this
film’s problem. It has some good ideas and some intriguing plot
possibilities that could have made a relatively strong and interesting series,
but in the time frame allowed by the short film format everything seems far too
Characters appear and disappear within the space of a few minutes, often with no
explanation as to who they are, what they are doing and why; all dramatic
tension is omitted in favour of some all too brief action scenes; and important
chunks of plot are sacrificed as the story thunders towards the inevitable and
unbelievably anti-climactic final showdown.
There are some points to praise this on – considering its short run time it
manages to get across a lot of story and some of the music is pretty good.
It is also not as pointlessly gory as many of the anime titles it resembles –
preferring to keep most of the messy deaths off screen – and does try to create
some emotional involvement with the characters. Another plus point is that
the DVD itself has a great extra which shows the superb cover art being created,
which is certainly interesting, if a little galling for envious (cos I’m crap)
artistic wannabes like myself.
Sadly though Twilight of the Dark Master just ends up coming across as a
decent premise wasted by a lack of time to develop any of the characters and a
(albeit highly amusing) crap ending. You won’t hate watching this, and if
you are a fan of the likes of Urotsukidoji or Monster City you
will probably enjoy it more than I did, but considering it’s not a budget
release you could do a lot better for your money.
Best Bit: The truly hilarious
‘oh, we’ve ran out of time, better wrap this up quick then’ final show down.
Worst bit: The Guardian’s mean and moody moping in Shinjuku.