This week we take a break from movies to examine Genocyber, the ultra-violent anime mini-series from 1994.

5 thoughts on “E19: GENOCYBER

      1. The violence and nihilism is the story. The same people who trash this for not having a “plot” are the same who gives passes to the most asinine of films for being “escapist fun”.

        The OVA is based on an unfinished one volume manga, and a lot of gaps had to be filled in by Kohata over the course of the series (who I managed to meet and speak with briefly in the 90’s). His revelation at the end is quite somber, just because the story and outcome (horrible world is cleansed and given a new start by an avenging angel) aren’t spoonfed like the typical shounens of today, doesn’t make it horrible or worthless. Maybe I’m biased, but anime like this, Wicked City, Ninja Scroll and Urotsukidoji are sadly relics of a bygone (and better) era.

      2. Appreciate the response. To be fair to me I think I did say that Genocyber is very nihilistic and that perhaps that was the whole point of it all. I did, in my review, question whether or not that message was intentional and of that I’m still not sure. I’ve not read the manga nor have I seen any of the other anime directed by Koichi Ohata, so my review is very much a first-blush, face value impression coming from a viewer that knew nothing about Genocyber other than its reputation as an extremely violent anime.

        I’ll also say that I do not consider myself an “anime fan”. I have seen quite a bit and I enjoy a lot of it but I don’t have any particular attachment to anime in general; I don’t watch anime simply because it is anime, I watch it if the subject/story is something that I would otherwise be interested in. So differences between plot/structure/etc. of Genocyber and the shounens of today isn’t a comparison that ever would have entered my mind while watching Genocyber; I do not have enough of a background on the subject to really have any sort of opinion on it. I do understand what you’re saying about not spoon-feeding the audience but in the case of Genocyber, I think it’s more a matter of the creators failing to communicate their intent than it is a stylistic choice to make it ambiguous. I am far from the first person to point out that the characters’ motivations, relationships, and personalities are basically non-existent. This is exactly the reason that any themes or subtext in Genocyber failed to resonate with me. It’s not that I don’t think they exist, it’s that I just didn’t care because I don’t think I was ever given a reason to. I get what you’re saying about the ending revelation but for me it didn’t hit the same somber note and I think this is just a part of Genocyber that we’ll have to respectfully disagree on.

        It’s interesting that you bring up Wicked City. I liked that one quite a bit. In fact, watching Wicked City is what lead me to watch Genocyber in the first place. I haven’t seen Ninja Scroll or Urotsukidoji but they are on my radar as they always seem to get mentioned in the same conversations as Wicked City and Genocyber.

      3. That is the point of it all, very much so. K.Ohata’s work is based on the principle of a morose and violent reaction to the surrounding world, and the overbearing violence and cruelty are a direct result (or even cause) of that. It’s absolutely intentional, trust me. I spoke with him briefly about it back in CPM’s offices in the 90’s.

        I tend to disagree on that part. Just because a lot of people point out what they believe are non-existent relationships and motivations, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Elaine is a mentally handicapped child that longs for companionship and friendship .Tortured by her “father”, seeing the loss of her friends in brutal manners. Myra lost her daughter in the blast of Hong Kong caused by the Genocyber, hence her mother-like devotion to Elaine and the need to protect her (even at the end, she loses her sanity due to it all). Threads of loss, destruction and abandonment are all prevalent, I just think because it’s wrapped around a bow of mayhem and destruction people tend to miss the forest for the trees. Is Genocyber perfect? No, but it remains a very close and personal work not only to me, but KOhata as well.

        It’s a show that only just now is starting to get more appreciation, which after 20 odd years I’ll take.

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