Quick reminder that I’m reading Violence Jack without the benefit of actually being able to read Japanese! So take everything I say with a pinch of salt. After all, back in 1990, during the burgeoning of the grey import console scene in the UK, my friends and I played a Game Boy Lupin III game thinking it was the third in the series of Lupin games…
So in 1983, Violence Jack returned this time in the pages of Weekly Manga Goraku. Now with an audience of adult males rather than teenagers, we start to get the Violence Jack that people might have in mind when the name is mentioned.
Well kind of.
While the violence and sexual content is amped up, the metaphysical, mystical elements are too. And the usage of other Nagai characters and concepts runs riot. As I’ve stated before, that’s something that gets overlooked in the reputation the title has earnt from the OAVs alone.
This particular chapter brings in elements of his Susano OH series. We’ll see them more explicitly used in the fifth arc of the revival – “Hyper Grapple“. There seems to be very little information on Susano OH’s actual storyline in English. The best I can tell is that it starts as a story about super-powered school hoodlums, before turning into another variation on Devilman, complete with a blonde sexually ambiguous friend/enemy. Though there’s also a great deal of Mao Dante in there too.
Then it turns into something so mind bogglingly strange it strained my brain trying to take it all in. Imagine if HP Lovecraft was a big Saint Seiya fan and took over the Conan franchise after Robert E Howard killed himself. It’s something a bit like that, but with a spaceship. And it totally needs translating as its apocalypse outdoes Devilman’s and Jack’s in terms of sheer strangeness. Like if HR Giger had been the art director on Hell Comes To Frog Town.
Back to the sexual content.
In many ways, the 70s incarnation of Violence Jack wasn’t all that far removed the Shameless School and the like in terms of its sexual content. It felt like an extension of the horny teenagers and corporal punishment obsessed teachers in the way the would-be assailants seemed more interested in stripping people and tying them up rather than actual intercourse.
So Dragon Fort makes up for it with a sex scene straight out the gate (after a quick recap of the whole Earthquake thing. Compare that to the lengthy disaster recaps that would be used to open arcs in the 70s). There’s nothing overly offensive yet.
Storywise, not much makes sense to me here, and the story seems to cheat with an “it was all a dream” ending. It excuses the eviscerating of two characters by the Slum King by making it some kind of psychic episode involving Jack and a girl he rescues who has some connection to Susano-OH, and leaves the pair perfectly OK despite one having had all their extremities sliced off and the other having had their intestines fall out.
Artwise, it’s very clear that it’s more of a Go Nagai AND Dynamic Productions work than ever before, as the eponymous fort is drawn with a detail that makes it look like it comes from a different world to the characters.
Oh and let’s not forget that Terrence Stamp shows up.
This General Zod looking chap will appear again later, despite getting his head torn off by a psychic whirlwind in this story.
And, finally, it is definitely worth noting that the following occurs: