Violence Jack Review

Violence Jack, originally published as a manga in 1973, was shonen back when shonen included the likes of demons, torture, rape, mass murder, cannibalism, and gore. Stuff that would be classified outright adult only in today’s age of anime and comics. Originally created by Go Nagai, considered by many as the “king of shonen,” the Violence Jack franchise was ported into anime form in the form of three movies. The first movie Slum Kings aired in 1986 with the subsequent titles Evil Town and Hell’s Wind being released two years later.

As far as the movie trilogy is concerned, there really is no over-arching story. The premise takes place in a post apocalyptic world, the cause of which is not really delved into. What matters is that the world as we know it is now in a state of absolute chaos and anarchy. Biker gangs and slum lords rule the wastelands. Many people are forced to live underground. Villages and communities scattered throughout the Earth live in constant fear of kidnappers and criminals.

As always, from Itano’s directorial history, we can expect distinct character designs with a terrible scripting and plot. Violence Jack himself looks very much like Marvel’s Sabertooth from the X-Men. He uses a jack knife to rip people to shreds, barely speaks, and has little depth to his character. We are led to believe that Jack is supposedly on the “good” side of things, a hard sell considering his raw brutality when disposing of his victims.

An interesting literary development is the evolution of the old western setting to the post-apocalyptic. The western novels and films of old are characterized by a lack of authority, law-enforcement, and the general freedom to roam the land. In such an environment, strength is the only determining factor. The western has very much lost its place in the modern age of film and television. However, the disappearance of the western has given rise to the emergence of the “post-apocalypse,” a fascinating correlation to say the least. Violence Jack, for its time, employed an idea and premise that was quite new for a shonen manga series. It wasn’t revolutionary by any means, but it is still a historical point in Go Nagai’s career. Too bad the anime is utter failure.

Final Thoughts: 3/10
Those looking for a grim-dark violent packed series that happens to take place in a post-apocalyptic setting, Violence Jack definitely fits the bill. It doesn’t get more violent than getting one’s intestines torn through the pelvis then eaten while being raped. Despite all the negative aspects mentioned hitherto, what really destroys Violent Jack in the end is the extreme nihilism. Nothing good ever happens to any of the characters. There is no one to root for, not even Jack, who is supposedly the “hero.” Overall, the movie trilogy is simply too little entertainment for too much time spent.

Skip It.

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2 Responses to Violence Jack Review

  1. kadian1364 says:

    The first OVA was simply awful, “saved” in the sense of entertainment by a ludicrous final fight and epilogue. The other two are just abhorrent. Wretches pieces of nihilism and torture porn with absolutely no redeeming value. Bleh.

  2. santablah@gmail.com says:

    Extreme nihilism is why I like Violence Jack. There’s no good or evil in the natural world and the same can be applied to a post apocalyptic world. With a completely anarchic place with no proper society set in place, do you really expect him to forgive and forget? You rape, you die, there’s just no way around it. He is brutal, and rightfully so.

    “Nothing good ever happens to any of the characters. There is no one to root for,”
    I’ve failed to see how this is a negative considering that’s the point of it. It isn’t even an exaggeration of how low humans can fall. Just look at the rape of Nanking as an example. Cannibalism, rape, torture and all other sort of horrible things happened at that time.

    The anime doesn’t need to reveal much depth about Jack himself because the manga is episodic. It’s not continuous. So I really think it’s unfair to judge it based on that considering Jack is not the hero of the story the same way Golgo 13 isn’t. Rather, it’s about how Jack influences his surroundings.

    The reason Go Nagai stuff shows so much of this horrible stuff is in this interview from him:
    “I was particularly saddened when I found out that in many countries I was considered to be an author who loves to depict battles and destruction just for the fun of it. The reason why I depict the effects of war in my comics is because I strongly believe that a person should learn from childhood how war can be destructive and how much people and societies may suffer from it, just the same way I learned it from the stories of adults around me when I was a little child.”

    Forgive me for ranting, but too often do people watch Violence Jack and think the author is insane, mad and depraved. In my opinion, they just failed to see the point. Another one is how Go Nagai apparently hates women which is negated by the fact that he has a lot of works with women as protagonists. True, he likes drawing naked women, but that in no way makes him a misogynist. I mean, Jack kills both men and women purely based on their deeds, not their gender. Didn’t he rip apart a woman in two for raping another woman?

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