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Every three thousand years, a superbeing is born who will unite the three separate dimensions of humans, demons, and Jujin "man-beasts," bringing about a new world. Man-beast Amanojaku is determined to track down this "Chojin," and after 300 years of wandering, locates demonic forces at work in 1993 Japan. Teenager Nagumo impregnates schoolgirl Akemi, rupturing the fabric of the universe and ushering in the apocalypse. Akemi goes into hibernation for a century to await the birth of her child (the Chojin), and Earth is ravaged by a nuclear war. Decades later, in a Japan ruled by former industrialist Caesar, the Chojin is born early because of the arrival in Tokyo of his diametrical opposite, the Kyo-O (translated variously as Mad King, or Lord of Chaos). Buju, a man-beast hybrid, elopes with Caesar's daughter, Alecto, and finds the Kyo-O in a temple shortly before he is killed. Buju is brought back to life by the Kyo-O (a young girl called Himi whose growth is rapidly accelerated) and overthrows Caesar. He vows to take Himi to Osaka to confront the Chojin. Despite the efforts of the Chojin to stop him, he eventually succeeds-Chojin drinks a drop of the blood from Himi's first menstruation, and the world is restored to normality.
Based on the violent and pornographic 1985 manga by Toshio Maeda for Wani magazine, Urotsukidoji is the best-known of the anime "nasties" released in English in the 1990s. A fiercely complex cycle of rape and redemption, it even seems to have confused its Japanese crew-the first three episodes take place in Osaka, the next two are set before the third episode, with the same characters inexplicably moved to Tokyo. This leap backward seems designed to incorporate the Kyo-O subplot, vital to the rest of the series, but unnecessary if the series were to end early; though considering that the series has a fiendishly cyclical plot (like its contemporary Gall Force), it is conceivable that one is set several eons after the other! Perplexity continued in the English-language market, where the series was dubbed by three different companies using different actors and contradictory translations. The first five-part video series was edited into the two "movies," Legend of the Overfiend and Legend of the Demon Womb. Note that Demon Womb was numbered in Roman numerals as "Urotsukidoji II," thereby causing the second series, Return of the Overfiend, to gain the misleading numeral of Urotsukidoji III. In the U.S. all five video episodes appeared, numbered 1 to 5 in order of release, not action, to add to the confusion. The massive and (to the Japanese originators) completely unexpected success of the series in English led to the making of two sequels. The four-part Return of the Overfiend (1993) featured the postholocaust chapters, fol-lowed by Inferno Road (1995), which concludes the saga in three parts. However, though the series is complete in the U.S., Inferno Road was delayed by the British censor for three years. Eventually, the final chapter alone was permitted a release in 2001-the British DVD sheepishly includes the scripts of the banned episodes to compensate. Urotsukidoji V: The Final Chapter (1996) is a mysterious curio in the history of the saga, intended as the first installment of yet another series. Despite being abandoned partway through production, with some of the animation still jerky and incomplete, it was nonetheless released in Japan and Germany and claims to introduce the real Chojin at last, dropping many of the newer characters and returning to a continuity that seems to owe more to the earlier episodes of the series. This, however, could have made no difference-as with some installments of Gall Force, the ending of Urotuskidoji IV implied that some characters had been shoved back through a time or dimensional loop, and hence would be reexperiencing certain elements of the saga again, albeit with some changes.
The story was remade again as Urotsukidoji: New Saga (aka The Urotsuki, 2002), a three-part video series made as part of the erotic Vanilla Series. In a return to the subject matter and characters of the original series, Amanojaku evades prison and hides out at a Japanese high school; along with the usual sex and violence, there is an increased concentration, in the style of Inferno Road, on the childhoods of the protagonists, designed to show how they might grow up into the kind of beastly people they ultimately turn out to be. In this version, the Chojin is renamed the Ultra God.
Urotsukidoji amply achieves Maeda's overriding narrative aim-to demonstrate that the only way to win in this world is to die young before your dreams are shattered. The question for his critics, in both the pro- and anticensorship lobbies, is whether the poetry of the end justifies the gross extremity of the means. Since Urotsukidoji, many other Maeda works have been adapted, including Demon Beast Invasion, Adventure Kid, La Blue Girl, Nightmare Campus, and Demon Warrior Koji. Though the Urotsukidoji saga is now complete in manga form, recent spin-offs have included stories of the Chojin's earlier manifestations in human history, leaving a rich vein of material for potential further anime installments. Scenes from Urotsukidoji, Md Geist, and Perfect Blue were shown onstage as part of Madonna's Drowned World tour in 2001. LNV