Wide Angle 19.3 (1997) 41-63
Transcultural Orgasm as Apocalypse:
Urotsukidoji: The Legend of the Overfiend
Fade up on a close-up of the U.S. presidential seal. Off-screen, a woman is moaning rhythmically. Panning across the familiar details of the seat of power, the camera eventually reveals the blonde-haired U.S. president behind his desk, engaged in enthusiastic intercourse with his equally blonde secretary. They do not appear to be deterred by the presence of several dead secret service agents sprawled on the floor around them. The phone rings and the president answers it.
"The units of the fleet are standing by. What is our target?"
Cut to the darkened skyline of Osaka and the ancient Osaka castle bathed in a ghostly green glow.
"Correct. Two of my agents brought me proof that Osaka was the source of the strike against us."
"Mr. President, what are we going to do?"
"Order the fleet to open fire." As the President replaces the receiver the woman rises up, startled. [End Page 41]
"John, it was you?"
"Yes, the chojin has been resurrected and no one can stop the destruction he brings. I am nothing more than his agent. We'll have one last fuck before the end."
As the secretary draws back in horror, the president's eyes begin to glow red. His head contorts, splits open and a snake-like, one-eyed monster emerges. His torso begins to pulse and expand. An enormous phallic-shaped mechanical drill bursts from his groin. Long, writhing tentacles wrap and bind the woman, caressing her nipples and opening her thighs. As the monster rapes her violently, the action is intercut with images of the U.S. fleet sailing towards Japan, their nuclear missiles bursting through open hatches. A Godzilla-like monster rises from the ocean and immolates the fleet with bursts of fire which spurt like ejaculate from his mouth. His tentacles wrap and encircle the hapless ships. Meanwhile, inside the green-glowing Osaka castle, a young Japanese woman named Akemi gives birth to the true chojin, whose presence on earth signals the restoration of the balance between the human and the demon world. From Urotsukidoji 2: The Birth of the Overfiend.
A graphic expression of adolescent sexual anxiety? A reflection of the traditional Japanese fear of miscegenation and cultural imperialism? A post-industrial homage to fifties disaster classics like Godzilla and Mothra? A reflection of the cyberpunk desire for synthetic fusion? Or simply a case of postmodern sensory overload, jazzed-up hard-core porn for the jaded American adolescent market? The above scene is taken from a 1992 feature-length animated video directed by Hideki Takayama and released in the U. S. by Central Park Media in New York. Although Urotsukidoji and its sequelae have been for the most part unpublicized, are still marginally distributed, and remain uncompromisingly challenging in their narrative structure, these examples of hentai, a sub-genre of Japanese animation that literally translates as perverted, have managed through word of mouth to achieve a cult status among young adolescent males on college campuses and internet sites across the U.S. The original Urotsukidoji:The Legend of the Overfiend was shot in 1989, and translated into English in 1992; it was followed by Urotsukidoji 2: The Birth of the Overfiend, shot 1992, translated 1993; and Urotsukidoji 3: The Return the Overfiend (four episodes), [End Page 42] shot 1993, translated 1994. All are based on the comic by Toshio Maeda, and all are directed by Hideki Takayama. The complex narratives of apocalyptic destruction revolve, at least at first, around the beautiful young Akemi and her nerdy boyfriend Ngumo, who function as unwitting hosts for various kinds of outrage in three cosmic dimensions.
For audiences more accustomed to the pleasant sentiments of Sailor Moon, Urotsukidoji:The Legend of the Overfiend and its equally disturbing clones such as Doomed Megalopolis, Wicked City, Genocyber, and Demon CityShinjuku represent a new level of thematic intensity in the thriving Japanese animation industry, whose market penetration since the late 1980s, despite scarce mainstream...