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[ a parent's guide to anime ]

[ rated pg ] Darkside Blues

A Parent's Guide to Anime
Rated: PG
Parental Guidance Advised

Review by Sylvain Parent:

Darkside blues is a weird, yet quite visually attractive tale to say the least. It tries very hard to combine Taoist principles (or so I've been told) within the framework of a pseudo-Gothic cyberpunk environment. The story focuses on rebels who fight against a greedy and evil monopolistic company that actually buys cities neighbourhood by neighbourhood. They somehow get involved with this weird newcomer named Darkside who doesn't seem to fit into this story at all.

We meet very odd characters who usualy fit into the standard cyberpunk archetypes (the mutant, the corporate guy, the sadistic dominatrix female, the rebelious anarchist street thug) with one exception being Darkside. Darkside is probably the only really Gothic thing about this movie. He looks the part for one thing and his "treatments" (a dreamlike state in which he somehow brings forth memories from the person's past and sometimes fights in this state) are very dark and moody. But these treatments sometimes get rather violent and bloody when he fights in them. The villains are nothing to write home about. The main ones are the brother/sister team who own the company. The brother is your average cruel, cold, calculating business man while the sister is a vain and cruel woman who enjoys torturing half-naked prisoners with whips in quite overt scenes.

The story didn't seem to really have any ways of properly tying in the rebels with Darkside. And the villains didn't fit Darkside much better either. In fact, the story seemed like if it was a secondary aspect of the movie, with Darkside's messages being the primary focus. Not being knowledgeable of Taoism, I cannot say whether Darkside really was talking about Taoist ideals.

All in all, the story seems to be nothing more than a bunch of bits and pieces put together with no one asking themselves if they actually fit together well or not. And on a final note, there is a blues song thatw as actually sang in english in the Japanese version and kept intact in the dub... big mistake... the song was phonetically sang and thus quite horrible to hear. This is one instance where a dubbed song would have been better.

Parent's Guide Rating:

yellow (parental guidance advised)

Well obviously the torture scenes are the worst part, but there is but two of them and they do not last that long. The villains themselves have very little to say during them and nothing is really lost by skipping them.

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