Saturday, April 9, 2011

In short: Baoh (1989)

aka Baoh Rihousha

aka Baoh the Visitor

The evil government organization Doress is specialized in insane experimental weaponry, so it comes as not much of a surprise when they inject the larva of a parasitic worm - Baoh - into the brain of a (probably mild-mannered) Japanese teenager called Ikurou to turn him into the ultimate - but also quite uncontrollable - weapon.

While transporting the experimental subject to their main labs/headquarters/who knows, another victim of the organization, precognitive and telepathic girl child Sumire, accidentally frees our hero. The two manage to escape (not without Ikurou ripping someone's hand off). Of course, Doress isn't very happy with having a teenager who's turning into a killing machine (cleverly also called Baoh) whenever he's in trouble running around the country, and so they send a few of freakish operatives after the pair to kill Ikurou.

That's easier said than done, seeing how Baoh's destructive power grows exponentially, and he's soon able to melt faces off, project electricity, or shoot energy spikes out of his hair when he's getting bored of just punching people until their eyeballs pop out or cut them to pieces with his elbow claws like an awkward, candy-colour-haired Wolverine.

After a few attempts, Doress at least manages to kidnap Sumire and take her to the organization's island HQ/main lab/whatever. Our mass murdering hero doesn't like this one bit and decides to pay the place a visit.

The short OVA Baoh (directed by Hiroyuki Yokoyama) is based on an early work by mangaka Hirohiko Araki, the man who'd later go on to create the awe-inspiring insanity known to humanity (and various species of burnt-for-live aliens) as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Unfortunately, neither Baoh the manga (well, at least what's been translated of it) nor Baoh the OVA are as crazy as their authorship would make one hope for.

The OVA's very much a standard gory fight anime of the sort Japanese filmmakers churned out by the thousands during the 80s, without much to let it stand out among its peers, apart from dialogue that's slightly more flavourful than that of OVA not based on anything written by Araki. A bit of the man's love for colourfully absurd smack-talk is in here.

Fortunately, the basic standards of gory fight anime of the time were really pretty high, so Baoh does provide when a short and entertaining burst of hyper-violence between bizarre characters is what you're looking for. After all, faces melt, large numbers of eyeballs pop and a psychokinetic native American gets really angry and big once he has lost his psychic-ability-damping headband (don't ask). What's not to like?


No comments: