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Anime / Maryuu Senki

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The battle begins.
Maryuu Senki is a three episode OVA series from The '80s. It was an original work directed by Hiroaki Okami. The first episode was released in 1987 and produced by AIC, but the other two were made by Bandai Visual and would have to wait until 1989 due to production troubles. Part of the script was penned by Sho Aikawa, who went uncredited due to his plans for the third episode being abandoned.
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In the times of empress Himiko, the kido shamans who ruled Japan from the shadows were killed by fear of their power. However, those who survived hid through the centuries, hoping to recover power in the nation through a mystic ritual to summon the Four Holy Beasts in human bodies. Their plan was stopped in The '70s when one of the beasts turned on their leader and sent away the soul of other two. Or was it?

18 years later, the tranquil life of young and manly Japanese artist Kyoichi Hiyu in Tokyo is shattered with the arrival of demonic ninja cultists, the old drunk monk Gendo and a sinister young gentleman named Miki Chiyoe. He soon will learn all of them and his girlfriend Shiho are all involved in a perverse plot to continue the ancient shamans’ plan, and will have to discover his true identity in order to avoid the catastrophe.

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The work remains a pretty unknown horror OVA from The '80s, but it was a personal favorite of dark anime pioneer Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who praised its first episode's art highly and requested its animator Naoyuki Onda to work with him in Demon City Shinjuku.

This work provides examples of:

  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: This is most justified in Japan than in other countries, given the Buddhist monks's martial tradition, but Gendo is a straight example.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Gendo, literally, given that he is a martial artist monk.
  • Dead All Along: Gendo, who died in his battle with Miki's predecessor in 1971.
  • Downer Ending: Kyoichi, Gendo, Ryora and Kinshi arrive at Miki's temple to rescue Shiho. Everyone is separated and forced to fight to the death against either Miki or his henchmen. Miki's servant Tamaki uses Kinshi as a human shield, forcing Ryora to sacrifice him in order to kill her. Kyoichi is too late to prevent Miki from stealing Shiho's soul. Miki then promptly kills Gendo, but reveals that the latter was a decoy under control by the Chiyoe family all along. The real one died back in '71. Enraged, Kyoichi attacks him, but is subdued and mutilated, losing both arms in the process. Before Miki can deliver the final blow, Shiho's soul intervenes, declaring her love for Kyoichi one final time and destroying the temple along with Miki. Kyoichi is teleported back to the Tokyo streets with Shiho's lifeless body on his lap. He dies shortly after promising her that they'll be reunited in the next life. Talk about a downer!
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  • Kill 'Em All!: Everyone is pretty much dead by the end of the third OVA. Ryora is last seen cradling Kinshi's body before the temple is destroyed by Shiho's magical energy, so it's unclear if he was spared.
  • Makeup Is Evil: Miki turns into a Creepy Crossdresser after receiving an androgynous face. A karmic punishment for his vile actions against Kyoichi and Shiho in the first OVA.
  • The Four Gods: Gendo is Genbu, Kyoichi is Byakko, Shiho is Suzaki and Miki is Seiryu.
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