Welcome to yet another chapter of Anime Amok in which I unearth the most controversial Anime OVAs, films and TV series of yesteryear. In this segment, I’m going with Violence Jack.
Synopsis: Based on the 1973 Manga by The Father of Mecha; Go Nagai, the world as we know it has been torn apart shattered by a series of natural disasters that have turned civilization into a brutish nightmare of survival and has left whole cities buried beneath the Earth. It’s now a lethal and chaotic place, a place where only the strongest and most savage remain alive. The strongest of them all is a giant warrior known as Violence Jack. The Angel of Death and defender of the weak Violence Jack is uncovered among the rubble by the inhabitants of this city, asking him to aid the defenseless and helping them destroy what, in most cases, are the strong groups commanded by killers and rapists (this is the story line of “Violence Jack: Evil Town”). Even though Jack contains the figure of a ruthless, evil character, he always helps the weak section of people, in trade for nothing.
In the first OVA Harlem Bomber, the story opens when a giant comet breaches into the Earth’s atmosphere thus causing disasters throughout the world and as a result of Man has been reverted to the Stone Age. Among the pile of corpses and rubble rises Jack; a giant hulking man armed with a jackknife (hence the name Violence Jack).
“This jackknife has lent me its name so, call me Jack. Call me Violence Jack.”
Part of Jack’s premise is a bit of the “White Knight that rides into town” to kick ass but with brutal results and when I say “Brutal,” I’m referring to the entire series! By smelling the bloodshed of innocents, Jack emerges to punish those responsible for horrific acts of genocide and sexual assault (My kind of hero!).
There was a fucked up scene involving a madam who commits human trafficking via kidnapping models and forcing them into submission by sticking her tongue in that most intimate area of a female. Afterwards you can even see the “residue” from the victim.
And that’s just the first episode!! The questionable scenes in which the survivors that prey upon the weak is the sole reason why this series is so fucking controversial (Episode 2: Helltown in particular).
Gang rape? Check!
Mutilation and disembowelment? Check!
Mass murder? Check, check and check!
There’s even a disturbing scene involving necrophilia and cannibalism!! WTF, Japan?!?
I remember back when my friends and I had gathered to watch the OVA Helltown, we were shocked and disgusted with the aforementioned scenes. Some may feel that Violence Jack pretty much lowered the standards of Anime, however it sort of mirrors the real life atrocities committed by so called “Human Beings”.
The accusations of the OVAs being nothing more than torture porn, well…Anime isn’t all about mecha and cutesy characters, cherry blossoms and all the usual clichés.
There’s a diverse range of stories, genres and concepts but that being said, damn, the third act in Helltown was a bit too much. We’re talking rape orgies folks! Eventually Jack will crash the “party” as the role of judge, jury, and executioner.
“There is a sky, the wind blows and the sun heats the earth!
However this World of light belongs to human beings!
It is not a World in which I can afford, to live with a Hellish beast like you”!
I don’t know if I could recommend this to most Anime enthusiasts, but let’s just say that it’s of an “acquired taste”.
If you’re into the dystopian action horror genre that features such schlock, unapologetic depravity and Grindhouse flair, then Jacks got your back! Otherwise stay away. Far away!!
Now you know…
- The concept of Violence Jack predated other Post-Apocalyptic icons such as Mad Max and Fist of the Northstar’s Kenshiro.
- When it was originally published there were several hints that pointed out the relationship between Devilman and Violence Jack. The final chapter reveals that the apocalyptic world in Violence Jack is in a world re-created by God. Jack is actually Akira Fudo, and is one of three parts that form Devilman, the others being a child Jack and woman Jack, both of which were normally seen as birds around Jack from time to time. They merge in order to stop the recently awakened Satan. This time Devilman manages to stop Satan.
- Violence Jack was originally released in an edited form in the US by Manga Entertainment. As fans wanted to see it uncut, the Right Stuf arranged with Manga Entertainment the release of an unedited version in November 1996. The label Critical Mass was created since it was considered to be too intense for the Right Stuf line. The censored version by Manga Entertainment only had dubbed audio, while the uncensored version by Critical Mass was available in both dubbed and subtitled formats. The censored version was also released in the United Kingdom by Manga Entertainment. In New Zealand, also released by Manga Entertainment, it was promoted as the banned version from Australia.
…and knowing is half the battle!