Wicked City has a bit of an icky reputation. It's renowned for having a rather large amount of sexual content, and some consider it to be a hentai anime. The store I rented it from had labeled it "adults only", but it wasn't kept with the other hentai anime, so I really didn't know what to expect.
The story involves an alternate world known as the "Black World" inhabited by demons. A treaty exists between Earth and the Black World, preventing demons from entering the Earth. However, the treaty is about to expire, which means a new treaty must be created. Two warriors, a young man named Taki and a mysterious woman, Makei, must guard Earth's last chance for peace, a lecherous old man, Guiseppe.
The basic premise of Wicked City (demons show up, all hell breaks loose) is fairly straightforward and derivative, but the story itself is nicely told and contains a few surprises. I genuinely surprised by this given my experience with these types of plots. Usually stories about demons and the like are fairly formulaic, and while Wicked City doesn't break this trend, it does bend it in places.
The artwork was another plus, with a very bold and moody look to it, reminding me a lot of Demon City Shinjuku. However, the animation itself could have stood to be a bit smoother. The English voice acting was surprisingly decent, even if some characters sounded a bit hokey.
Unfortunately, the art and story was about all that I enjoyed. I must say I didn't really care for the characters, as they were just so flat and uninteresting. Alright, I'll admit Guiseppe was a hoot at times, but his perchance for trouble was rather annoying. And Makei was slightly interesting at first (probably because of her killer nails), but her sullen attitude grew tiresome. I also didn't care for the overindulgence in sexual content. I guess it was supposed to shock the viewer, but I just kept thinking, "okay, okay, enough already" (although, the first scene with the spider-lady was definitely creepy). I felt some of the pointless sexual scenes should have been axed, and replaced with something more thoughtful.
Had the cast of characters been more engaging, and the sex trimmed down a little, then I would give this movie a thumbs up. But as it stands, it's a marginally watchable title at best.
The Verdict: * * 1/2 (below average)
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