The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Violence Jack

Title: Violence Jack
Genre: Action
Company: Dynamic Planning
Format: 3 OVAs
Dates: 9 Jun 1986 – 9 Nov 1990

Synopsis: In the aftermath of a world-shattering earthquake, the few survivors are separated into the strong and the rest. People live in fear of biker gangs that roam the roads and everyday brings the risk of being maimed or raped. Some survivors digging into the rubble unexpectedly excavate Jack, a hulk of a man and the only one with the power to stand up to the corrupt and deadly villains that rule this new landscape.

The Highlights
Rape: Early and often.
Mutilation: Count the ways to behead children.
Misandry and misogyny: Fun for the whole family!

I enjoy watching awful anime; really any laughably poor motion picture. I’m sure many of you out there would agree that there’s a unique sort of entertainment to derive from cinematic trainwrecks. A hammy line of dialogue here, a nonsense plot twist there, and some outrageous character or setting design is enough to fill an evening with mirthful mockery and unending non sequiturs. But Violence Jack offers none of that. Framed by boring dialogue, clumsy action, and a weak and uninspired story, and filled with a steady stream of empty cruelty and heinously gross torture and bloodshed that I scarcely remember another “entertainment” experience in my life this woeful.

This miserable series is comprised of three separate one-shot OVAs adapted from Go Nagai’s manga of the same name. Thus, each episode revisits similar events: a megaquake ruins Japan, biker gangs take control, Jack sprouts from the ground, and smashes said gangs and their Big Bad Boss. Yet a repetitive storyline and some inconsistent and ugly art design is only the light garnish atop of Violence Jack’s half-baked casserole of atrocities.

To me, Violence Jack represents all the worst elements from past generations of the medium. Imagine instead of today’s moe moe high schools tropes, incessant otaku in-jokes, and random pantyshots crammed in at every opportunity, replaced with the tropes of yesteryear; grimdark post-apocalypsia, incessantly savage biker gangs, and random rape crammed in at every opportunity. Operating on the appeal of hyper-violence, gore, and tits isn’t necessarily bad, but Violence Jack is an uninspired exercise in misanthropy. Cause rarely precedes Effect. Episodes begin with kids getting their heads blown off or some guy getting his legs chainsawed. Why? One of the end bosses cannibalizes the body of his transvestite lover and transforms into a giant red demon. How? And then there’s the rape, which gets featured so often I can only think there was a standing order to depict a woman getting assault for at least every ten minutes of animation. In addition to being absurdly disgusting, there just isn’t any perceivable greater meaning to it all; maybe that everything with a penis is stupid and evil.

Jack, despite being the titular character, is somewhat of an enigma. He’s a giant, 12 foot man who literally can, and does, stomp down lesser grunts. He can pick helicopters out of midair and heave them at his enemies, dig through the ground like a mole, and apparently regenerate whole limbs with lightning bolts from the sky. Why then he insists on fighting with only a dinky pocket knife is a mystery to me. The fights are clunky and awkward events comprised mostly of him and his adversary trading slow, lumbering stabs. His dialogue is barely more than grunting and roaring, and usually he lets all the weak and innocent die before getting around to doing anything. Add to that how he’s unearthed like some ancient fossil, Jack is more force of nature than human, less a hero than a walking plot device to end the pitiful wriggling that Violence Jack calls a story.

The worst thing about Violence Jack is how it feels completely phoned in. Not an ounce of imagination to its horror/violence porn premise, its lone defining characteristic is joylessness. I was nearly amused by the boorish extremes it carried itself to, but in the end, the dearth of anything remotely appreciable or enjoyable left me at a complete loss. Violence Jack is absolutely dire.

The Rating: 1

Reviewed by: kadian1364

Top of page