I had heard very little about this anime and rented it with a little skepticism. Strangely enough, the dubbed box cover is quite misleading since there is almost no sexual content in this anime.
The moment I started watching this I had already made up my mind about how it would turn out. The introduction combined poor animation and a cheesy setup which had me thinking, "This is going to suck".
I couldn't have been more wrong. It doesn't take long before Judge's true colors are revealed. It turns out it's a moody, intriguing thriller with an interesting concept. When the crimes of humanity go unpunished by the regular legal system, the forces of Darkness exact their own brand of "justice". While the idea of "justice for the dead" sounds very corny, this movie takes it so seriously that it ends up being funny as a result. Heck, the moment the "defense attorney of Darkness" made his debut I nearly rolled over laughing. I knew lawyers were evil, but this just takes the cake. It may sound silly, but it works. And it works well.
Interesting characterization is where Judge really excels. The hero is, well, quite dull to be honest, as are all the "nice" characters. It's the villains which make this movie special. It doesn't take long before you'll *hate* these guys. Sure, it doesn't hurt that they're corporate slugs, but everything about them makes them come across as low-life scumbags begging to be punished. And when they got what they deserved, I almost jumped up and cheered. That's what I found so compelling.
Yet, Judge is far from perfect. There are too many moments when stuff just seems to happen for convenience, without much explanation. This is particularly glaring at the end with the "mirror of truth". I couldn't help but wonder, "Where the heck did that come from?". There's also little explanation into the pasts of the characters. Exactly where and when did this "Judge" fellow acquire his powers? I felt an extra half-hour or so would've really helped flesh out the story.
If you're looking for something serious, with a neat twist, then grab a copy of Judge. A must for any fan of courtroom dramas.
The Verdict: * * * * (good)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|