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The future belongs to one company: the "family" business of the Persona Corporation. Only a few places on Earth hold out against its dominion; one is in Kabuki Town, a ramshackle part of Shinjuku known as the Tokyo Darkside. Tatsuya is a terrorist on the run, aided by a sorcerous stranger (also called Darkside). Tatsuya is a revolutionary, but Darkside is revolution personified, a messianic figure born of oppression.
Replaying Akira with supernatural elements, DB is a beautifully designed but confused Gothic tale with a slow pace and nonexistent ending, based on the 1985 novel by Demon City Shinjuku's Hideyuki Kikuchi and filtered through a 1993 manga adaptation by Bride of Deimos's Yuho Ashibe. Concerned with the soul rather than the body, it takes many liberties with place and time, such as doors that don't necessarily lead to the same room twice. This is a film loaded with symbolism-flowers shedding petals, people turning into statues, spiders spinning red webs-but like its rebels without a cause, it says a lot but doesn't really mean anything. Its best creation is Darkside himself, even down to his voice in the Japanese edition, which was done by male impersonator Natsuki Akira. Even the foley editing of his footsteps implies the sound of hooves, most noticeable when he's walking up to a seedy hotel. His first appearance, a hell ride through the dimensions, is a masterly touch, but one that was done better in the opening scenes of Shutendoji.
Despite lush designs and a moody, suspenseful beginning, the animation and color palette get progressively cheaper as the film goes on. The same can be said for the meandering plot, which begins with a compelling mystery but soon finds itself sprinting for the finish, failing to cram the original story into the running time. NV
|Release Date:||Jan. 1, 1994|
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