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Anime / Highlander: The Search for Vengeance

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Highlander: The Search for Vengeance is a 2007 animated adaptation of the Highlander series directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri.

Set in an Alternate Continuity from the films, the anime follows the story of the immortal Colin MacLeod as he searches for revenge against his rival immortal Marcus Octavius, the Extremist who killed Colin's wife.

Set in the distant future, Colin meets up with a resistance group, partially held by the prostitute Dahlia, that is being oppressed by Marcus and plagued by a disease only Marcus has the vaccine to. Throughout the story we get flashbacks of Colin's failed attempts to kill Marcus. Marcus seems to be perpetually attempting to rebuild the glory of his beloved Rome whereas Colin, blinded by his hatred, joins whatever cause is opposed to him in the hope of taking his head.



  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Colin cuts the head off Malike and it takes a very long time for him to notice. Not to mention all the armored soldiers, battle droids, and tanks he cleaves through. This being an anime, it's forgivable that his katana behaves more like a lightsaber.
    • Marcus' gladius has a nasty habit of cutting right through whatever sword Colin's using against him, until he finds a possibly magical katana in a burning Japanese temple.
  • Action Girl: Dahlia. A Hooker with a Heart of Gold who also spies and recruits for the Resistance, infiltrates Marcus' stronghold, and mows down mooks with machine guns.
  • Adaptational Badass: The Immortals in general. While not exactly wimps, there was nothing in the films or TV show that suggested Immortals were anything but normal people who happen to live forever. Here, Colin and the others all showcase Super Strength, Super Speed, and Super Reflexes.
  • After the End: One of the biggest draws of doing an anime adaptation was the ability to show audiences the distant future. Or at least, a distant future more inspired by Fist of the North Star than Mad Max or Blade Runner. This is surprisingly the fourth time this franchise has done this (the second in animation).
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  • Anti-Hero: Colin is very much a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, although it does take time before the "Heart of Gold" bit actually reveals itself. And while he initially doesn't care much about heroics or other people in general, neither does he shed blood needlessly.
  • Always Save the Girl: Averted when it comes to Moya. Amergan actually points out that Colin has met several reincarnations of her through the centuries, and could have lived many happy lives with her if he wasn't so hell-bent on revenge.
  • Badass in Distress: Colin after falling from an impossibly tall skyscraper.
  • Badass Longcoat: Colin MacLeod wears one.
  • Badass Normal: Dahlia is an ordinary woman, but probably the best fighter on the good guys' side aside from Colin himself.
  • Barbarian Hero: Colin fits the archetype in the flashbacks, and still functions as one in the post-apocalyptic present.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: During the first skyscraper fight between Colin MacLeod and Marcus Octavius, the latter pulls one off rather easily. Moreover, he does this with one hand!
  • Berserk Button: The mere sight of Marcus Octavius puts Colin into a killing rage.
    • He doesn't even have to be in the immediate vicinity for Colin to go berserk. Just seeing Marcus talking on a Jumbotron caused him to pull a Shizuo Heiwajima and launch a parking meter at the screen.
  • Brave Scot: Colin is a Caledonian, one of the ancestors of the modern Scottish people. He later fights alongside his descendants who are resisting the English invasions of Scotland and is later inducted into the clan posthumously. The clan's name? Macleod.
  • Big Applesauce: Via After the End. The movie largely takes place in the rebuilt (and not) ruins of New York.
  • Bittersweet Ending: By the end, New York is saved, Marcus is finally killed and Colin rediscovers his humanity. Unfortunately, Dahlia doesn't make it out alive...although it's implied that they'll see each other once more in another time.
  • Chainsaw Good: A rival immortal Malike has a Chainsaw-Sword!
  • Collateral Angst: Moya's death is the main reason why Colin's so obsessed to take revenge at Marcus for centuries.
  • Combat Compliment: During the WWII flashback scene, Colin ejects from an exploding fighter plane and lands on the wing of the transport plane that's carrying Marcus. Marcus seems genuinely impressed by this feat, and compliments Colin on it.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Marcus to the Kurgan; the Kurgan is an Ax-Crazy, guttural Blood Knight barbarian. Marcus is a Wicked Cultured, Faux Affably Evil Roman general seeking to rebuild Rome.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Marcus and Colin have fought many times over the centuries, and every battle has ended in either a draw or a victory for Marcus. But every time Colin is defeated, some incredible stroke of luck occurs that stops him from being decapitated.
    • Although, given Colin's return to faith is a crucial plot point and God is said to be an active player in his and Marcus's duels, it could be Divine Intervention.
  • Crapsack World: Global warming, civil wars and world wars, genetically-engineered super-plagues and countless other catastrophes have lead to the collapse of civilization, as seen in the movie. The survivors live scattered throughout the world, nomadic or dwelling in the city-states that arose from the ashes of the dead world. Mutants run rampant and cybernetics are commonplace. One of the predominant city-states, which was created from the ruins of New York City; is a sterile dystopia in which the rich, wealthy and chosen; live in relative security and safety, under the control of an Immortal tyrant of great power and influence; who has a massive army of robots and war machines, and is secretly creating a new plague to wipe out the dredges of the world. Said dregs live in constant misery, doing what they can to scrape by, subsisting on rats, lizards and whatever else they can get a hold of. Oh, and there's big fucking mutant crocodiles down in the damn sewers.
  • Cyberpunk: Used for the future segments.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Invoked. At one point, the Big Bad has the hero helpless (again) and at his mercy... and points out the vendetta's centuries old. Maybe it's time to get a hobby?
  • Dark Action Girl: Kyala, Marcus' Dragon.
  • Decapitation Required: It's shown that it doesn't necessarily have to involve blades to get the job done, so long as the head's gone. Such as a grenade shoved into an immortal's mouth.
  • Delayed Causality: Malike after he gets his head chopped off and Marcus at the end.
  • The Determinator: Colin, who has spent two thousand years trying to kill Marcus. Despite multiple failures he never considers abandoning his quest. Amergan and Marcus both comment on Colin's persistence. This level of determination lets him will through some pretty gruesome injuries, Healing Factor nonwithstanding.
  • Dissonant Serenity: For most of the film, Marcus is shown as so unsettingly calm and nonchalant about everything around him, sliding into a bit of bored annoyance every now and then. It's only towards the end, just before Colin finally decapitates him that it actually breaks.
  • Doomed Hometown: Colin's original home in Britain. In the future, it's the home of the Resistance down in the subways of New York City.
  • The Dragon: Kyala, a rare female example, is Marcus' student, enforcer, and concubine.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Viewers get a glimpse of Colin's Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality at the beginning of the movie. While he is shown to be brooding and single-minded in his search for Marcus, it's telling that he doesn't want to kill anyone needlessly.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Marcus is very adamant about his refusal to shed blood on any form of holy ground.
    • This might not be a case of standards as simple self-preservation; when an immortal tries to wield a weapon on holy ground it results in them being struck by lightning (something that Colin learned the hard way).
  • Exposition of Immortality: The film lives off the memories sub-category.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: The film makes it clear on no uncertain terms that it's Colin's lack of faith in anything after Moya's murder that made him waste 2000 years for nothing but vengeance against Marcus.
  • Fallen States of America: Having been split up into city states in the future.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Marcus is always polite and soft-spoken while doing terrible things to people.
  • Flashback: Parts of Colin's past are told in flashbacks.
  • Flashback Stares: Colin gets one when this current love interest manages to match word for word what his past love interest said just before she died. It was a rather long flashback too and Dahlia was a bit worried.
  • The Future: The story is set in the 22nd century.
  • God Guise: When Kyala is resurrected after her first death, she asks Marcus if he is God.
  • Guttural Growler: Colin in the dub speaks with a raspy, scratchy sounding voice.
  • Hammerspace: Averted. Colin simply carries his sword around without bothering to hide it.
  • Healing Factor: One of the many benefits of being an Immortal. With the exception of wounds they sustained from dying, Immortals heal and recover from all wounds, and they do have levels of regeneration. Colin was able to recover from the massive injuries he had sustained from falling thousands of feet up from up in Marcus' penthouse, along with everything else Marcus had inflicted upon him, including a fall from an exploding transport plane during WW2. How quickly an Immortal heals and regenerates is dependent of the severity of the wounds. Marcus was able to recover from a stab wound to the heart that temporarily killed him in a matter of minutes. Colin recovered from most of his fatal injuries in hours, due to the extent of the damage.
    • It may be due to the number of Quickenings the immortal has undergone. The first time Marcus killed Colin by slashing his head it took him an unspecified amount of time to heal and left a scar, but it is implied to have been months by how the scenery around him changes in accordance with the seasons. 2000 years later he can awaken from a fall that crushed most of his bones within minutes and heal fully within hours.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Colin again. Been holding on to it for two thousand years.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: After 2000 years of atheism, mortally wounded, Colin is about to witness Marcus murder an entire city of innocents with a super-virus, hears the dying voice of his resurrected love calling to him from Heaven...
    [Picks up his katana] God... please give me the strength... for them... for her....
  • Hollywood Atheist: Colin is a particularly mean-spirited and thoroughly unlikable example of this trope. On top of being a Jerkass, he has managed to have faith in absolutely nothing for two thousand years. This does have a rather tragic justification, however, and is eventually subverted towards the end. Of course, he was born during a time long before Christianity would have reached Britannia Inferior, so it's strange why he would put more stock in the Christian god than say, Crom Cruach.
  • Honor Before Reason: Why Moya went off in the first place.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Colin is reduced to another beatdown from Marcus until he hears his dead lover from Heaven, at which point he goes into a Tranquil Fury and proceeds to kill Marcus in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Dahlia is a prostitute when she's not fighting against Marcus' regime. In fact, when she first meets Colin she tries to convince him to help the resistance by offering him sex.
  • Hope Spot: The only time it seems in Colin's long immortal life when he actually tries to settle down and move on happens to be his time in Scotland with Deborah. Until Marcus comes into the picture and "kills" for the nth time, revealing his identity to the MacLeod clan. At the very least, he's spared by them and allowed to retain the MacLeod name even after being banished.
  • Hypocrite: Marcus to a degree. For all his talk of having moved on with the times and chastising Colin for getting stuck up over what happened generations ago, he himself remains obsessed with recreating the Roman Empire by any means necessary.
  • I Owe You My Life: Kyala agreed to serve Marcus for all eternity after he found her dead on a battlefield in feudal Japan and assisted in her resurrection
  • It's All About Me: Marcus is all about reviving the Roman Empire, with a few bits of Nazi Germany to boot. Preferably under his version of it.
    • Colin himself isn't much better for most of the movie, being obsessed with his revenge at the expense of the people around him.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Colin's weapon of choice. Not just any katana, mind you, but the very katana of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Say what you like about Marcus but you never find him moaning about the past, his goal is always towards creating a better tomorrow. A better tomorrow for himself granted but still...
  • Master Swordsman: Colin is very impressive but Marcus manages to outshine him almost every time.
  • Mr. Exposition: Amergan. His main role initially is explaining the rules of Immortality to Colin, after which he becomes a spirit advisor (nit that Colin listens).
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Although at first it's more like a scream.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Colin wears the exact style and color of trenchcoat that Connor wears in the first Highlander movie and in the TV series.
    • A Macleod obtains a masterwork katana as their primary weapon; and his happens to belong to the deposed Daimyo of the Toyotomi Dynasty of Japan. It must be a tradition for all of the Macleods who are Immortals to have one.
    • Immortals who have survived the Game for a very long time, are very cultured and refined. Colin being the exception, as He's spent most of his Immortal life pursuing Marcus, possibly only picking up enough of the local languages in cultures he's fought along side with; to get by and follow orders.
    • Marcus Octavius is the first Immortal Big Bad in the movies who doesn't have a K in his name, breaking the tradition of having Immortal Big Bad with a K in the name (Kurgan, Katana, Kane, Kell). Subverted in that the 'c' in Marcus's name would have sounded like 'k' anyway.
    • Even though he's the ghost of a druid, Amergan fills the niche of mentor for the Immortal, Colin. Most Immortals in the franchise have a noticeable mentor. Amergan is unconventional because He's a ghost.
    • Once again, a MacLeod has made their presence known in New York City.
    • "There can be, only ONE!"
    • After killing the Big Bad, there is an accompanying Quickening of massive proportions. This by far has to be the biggest Quickening in the entire franchise, since not only did it purge a synthetic plague from the atmosphere and destroy it outright, but it also leveled a massive mile-plus high skyscraper and its supporting structures and utterly decimated an entire army of robots and war machines. Talk about an extremely tough act to follow.
  • Not So Stoic: When Marcus realizes that he might actually lose to Colin, his calm, stoic exterior begins to crack for the first (and last) time ever.
  • The Older Immortal: Malik, the immortal thug Colin kills at the start of the movie, brags about having lived a thousand years. Turns out that Colin has lived two thousand years, and Marcus is even older. At least, he's old enough to know what Stonehenge is for.
  • Opening Scroll: One that details how the world ended up the way it is in the future segments, and also alludes to the immortals, before Amergan's voice-over clarifies things.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Marcus claims he wants to create a world of order and beauty but wants to achieve this by exterminating everybody who doesn't share his vision. Showing him to ultimately selfish.
  • The Perfectionist: Marcus desires perfection above all else.
  • Pinned Down: Dahlia when she's trying to escape with the vaccine.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Kyala gets one. Naturally she gets over it.
  • Putting on the Reich: Marcus clearly got more than a few hints from the Nazis in setting up his future empire.
    • Considering there is a flashback scene where he's fighting against Colin while allied with the Nazis, this is somewhat justified.
  • Rated M for Manly: As to be expected from Highlander.
  • Re-Cut: The Japanese version of the film was later distributed as the Director's Cut edition, with about 10 more minutes' worth of scenes which were cut out of the American version.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Currently providing the image for the trope.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Near the end of the film, Amergan reveals to Colin that Moya, Deborah, and Dahlia are the same woman. After Dahlia's death, Amergan assures Colin that he will meet his love again.
  • Resurrective Immortality
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: And how!
  • Rousing Speech: Two; one by Colin and the other from Doc. However Colin's is rather bleak in retrospect.
  • Revenge: Kinda the point of the film.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Over the course of two thousand years, there are several instances where Colin hot-headedly charges into battle against Marcus. The end result is usually Colin barely avoiding being decapitated.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: A stark juxtaposition against Marcus' tower.
  • Rule of Cool: Shamelessly embraces anime tropes, and being an anime, is not constrained by a special effects budget, allowing for some truly over-the-top action. Some specific examples include a giant mutant Immortal with a huge chainsaw sword that he can ride to charge an opponent, and Colin deflecting bullets with his katana like a Jedi.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Amergan for Colin.
  • Scars are Forever: Mostly averted but Colin's facial scar that took months to heal is permanent.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Inverted. After about a thousand years of butting horns, Marcus Octavius admonishes Colin MacLeod to stop feeling sorry for himself and do something constructive with his immortality.
  • Skyward Scream: "MAAAARCUUUUSS!!!", which is a repeating occurrence.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Colin is a scruffy-looking Sociopathic Hero, while Marcus is a Wicked Cultured aristocrat.
  • Smug Snake: Marcus. While he has a point about being Wicked Cultured, he's rather insufferable about how much better he thinks he is than everyone else.
  • Spirit Advisor: Amergan, much to Colin's chagrin.
  • Stripperiffic: Both Dahlia and Kyala wear outfits that are sexy, but impractical for combat. Somewhat justified since Dahlia works as a prostitute and Kyala is Marcus' concubine in addition to being his chief enforcer. And, you know, anime.
  • Super Strength and Super Speed: Unlike the movies and TV series, Search for Vengeance is able to show how strong and fast the Immortals are as they age, gain more Quickenings, and train without having the limits of a special effects budget. Colin rips out a parking meter and throws it hundreds of feet into the air to destroy an outdoor television screen. Both Colin and Marcus trade blows that resonate with superhuman power and both are able to move incredibly fast and leap great distances into the air to do combat. Colin attacks many of his enemies with such blinding speed, you do not see the cuts. For all intents and purposes, Colin is the Immortal equivalent of a high-speed blender.
    • In the World War 2 flashback, Colin is seen leaping out of an exploding Spitfire without even flinching.
    • When Marcus stabs Colin through the heart, pinning him to the ground, the force of the stab cracks the floor around them.
  • Sword and Sorcery: More so than others in the franchise thanks to the Spirit Advisor.
  • Sword Drag: Inverted by Malike. He ends up riding his damn chainsword sword to attack Colin.
  • Sword Sparks: As an animated series with sword fights, this is inevitable.
  • Synthetic Plague: Marcus has released a virus over New York to wipe out all of people who haven't conformed to his ancient Roman ideals. The virus only had an 80% kill rate but by the end of the movie he's managed to make a 100% version.
  • Take a Third Option: On a meta level, this is the only Highlander adaptation where NONE of the main immortals have any interest in gaining The Prize, or earning Quickenings. Or on the other side of the spectrum, hiding from The Game or trying to live peacefully. Any Quickenings that happen in the movie are the result of a bounty contract being fulfilled (in the form of Malike) or the beheading of an Immortal to conclude a battle (Marcus).
  • That's Gotta Hurt: "Oh. That'll hurt," as the resident mentor observes as MacLeod falls off a skyscraper.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In World War II, Marcus served as a Nazi SS Officer.
  • Tranquil Fury: Colin finally manages to obtain this state of mind at the climax, and upon it's acquisition Marcus is dead in very short order.
  • Unknown Rival: As far as Colin is concerned, Marcus is his greatest enemy. As far as Marcus is concerned, Colin is little more than a nuisance he keeps having to deal with.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Averted. Colin's rage causes him to fight sloppy, allowing Marcus to easily defeat him time and time again. It isn't until Colin calms down and starts fighting with a clear head that he's able to finally kill Marcus.
  • Used Future: With the exception of Marcus' Neo-Rome City-state, Most of everything in the world is worn out and used. Totally appropriate, considering that its a post-apocalyptic future and not many places have an intact infrastructure that supports the development of newer technologies and products.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Marcus's final solution.
  • Villain Respect: During the WWII flashback, Marcus seems genuinely impressed when Colin leaps from an exploding spitfire and lands on the wing of his plane.
    Marcus: Well, you definitely get an A for effort.
  • Weapon Tombstone: Moya's grave. However since Moya didn't use a sword because at this point Colin has become a DEVOUT athiest and didn't care how she rests because as far as he's concerned, she no longer even exists to be bothered by it anymore.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Given by Marcus who calls out Colin for not doing anything else with his life for centuries on end. He comes off as sincere which underlines the tone of the movie: even the villain is disappointed in Colin.
    • Just about every main character has a go at him at some point in the film, as well.
  • Wicked Cultured: Marcus Octavius, a villain who is fond of literature, art, music, and philosophy. In his own words when He meets Colin again in Nazi Germany, He can write poetry in 3 dozen languages, can paint like Rembrandt, and can play piano like Liszt.
  • World-Healing Wave: When Colin kills Marcus, the Quickening ends up destroying the virus before it kills everyone in the city.
  • You Have Failed Me: Marcus orders the execution of a scientist who did not meet his project deadline.
  • Your Head A-Splode: A dying Dahlia kills Kyala by shoving a hand grenade into her open mouth and pulling the pin.

Alternative Title(s): Highlander