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A state of stalemate exists between our world and the next dimension, and while "Black Guard" agents from both sides play a game of espionage, representatives from the two worlds prepare to sign a treaty. Renzaburo Taki is an undercover human, forced to partner up with the sexy, deadly Makie. Charged with guarding the uncooperative and lecherous old ambassador Giuseppe Maiyart, the pair become attracted to each other, though relationships between a human and a denizen of the Dark Realm are most inadvisable. In the climactic final battle between good and evil they learn that they are vital to the future of both worlds, and the love they have developed is more than just coincidence.
Made for the theaters with a relatively large budget, WC is vastly superior to the later straight-to-video Demon City Shinjuku, with which it is often confused, and indeed shares a writer, director, and studio. However, it still comes lumbered with risible "Oh Taki!"/ "Oh, Makie!" dialogue, perfunctory sex scenes, and a misogynistic obsession with Bad Girls From The Dark World. The final showdown in a church also throws in a contrived twist to wrap up the story, tearing vast holes in the preceding plot as it does so.
Darkside Blues-creator Hideyuki Kikuchi's original novel cleverly exploited the fantasies of bored businessmen. Taking the viewer from bar to office to airport to hotel, it walks through the scenery of a company rep's humdrum life, enlivening each familiar place with dangerous sex and vicarious violence. WC was the first film to show the distinctive style of Ninja Scroll's Kawajiri, whose trademark blue-red lighting is leavened here with artful fog effects and moody shadows. The first set piece says it all: a fight to the death beneath the wheels of a taxiing jumbo jet, with superfast fists making a virtue of the low animation cel count, an imitation shaky-cam effect right out of a Sam Raimi film, and superfast cutting to hide the joins, borrowed from Hong Kong action master Tsui Hark. Tsui would repay the compliment in 1993 when he produced a live-action version of WC in Hong Kong, featuring Leon Lai as Taki and Michele Reis as Makie.
Amid the dark palette and piano-wire tension, Kawajiri demonstrates a marvelously gothic sense of the unbreakable link between sex and death. The predatory nature of most sexual relationships, set out in Taki's opening encounter with a spider-woman whose vagina is lined with teeth, is contrasted in true Hammer-horror fashion with the purity of his relationship with Makie, whose inner self is affected but not changed by the sexual horrors she endures. For Makie, transformation and transcendence come when the deadly power of her fighting skill is lifted to another level by motherhood; Death and the Madonna become one. LNV