Violence Jack – Hell City Kanto

Well this has been sitting on my PC for ages, so I suppose I ought to post it.

This was adapted into the Evil Town OAV, which makes sense as it’s a fairly stand alone arc, I think it only ties into one later arc (Beast King) and that’s only by sharing some characters. Luckily this arc has been scanlated so I can properly tell what’s going on, though ironically this is probably one where it’s least needed.

The character this arc shares with Beast King is Aira Mu, who is the first imported character for this arc. She is from God Mazinger, Go Nagai’s Mazinger flavoured take on Daimajin. The TV version can be considered a failure, getting cancelled before it completed it’s tale. There is however the manga version which is complete, as well as novelisations. Considering what a massive snooze its theme is, the failure of the anime comes as no surprise.

Aila here resembles her manga incarnation, a traditional Nagai heroine rather than the Satoshi Hirayama designed red-headed appearance she had in the anime.

The second imported character is Ricki, the former female pro-wrestler and sidekick/protector of Jiro Shutendo in Shuten-Doji (1976-78). She features in the sections before it goes completely insane with time-slips, spaceships and cyborgs.

Here she is in Violence Jack in one of the rare panels where she isn’t topless pickaxing.

And here she is in Shuten-Doji:

This arc deals with an underground city/shopping centre built under Tokyo that has been cut off from the outside world by the Great Kanto Earthquake. It’s now home to three factions: Area A – the everyman group, Area B – gangsters and Area C – fashion models. Well it is a Go Nagai comic, after all.

So the group from Area A dig up Jack (I don’t know why he’s buried), but Area C offer him riches to come and protect them from Areas A & B, who they quite rightly fear will rape them. Jack agrees, and without his protection Area B raids Area A. The survivors flee to Area C, before Area B sets their sights on that area too.

However Area C have been working on an escape tunnel, and with Jack and the remaining men from Area A offereing to hold off Area B, the women flee into the tunnels. Of course this being Violence Jack, that’s not enough, and they end up getting attacked by men from Area B. Well, men and one transexual, who dresses like a droog from Clockwork Orange. This Blue, yet another sexually ambiguous Go Nagai villain.

From an artistic point of view we start to see a technique here where visual metaphor is used to represent the rape of the women, with the men of Area B turning into wolf men. As the series progresses the sexual content is more and more represented in abstract ways, and I’m curious if that was from some sort of backlash or editorial decree. It doesn’t really work here, coming across silly rather than horrifying, but later attempts really amp up the horror aspect. Also these sort of hallucinatory scenes eventually have a part to play in the final arcs as, yes, things actually begin to tie together.

Anyway, Jack does his Sandman run in for the day and kills Blue, mid-rape. Blue’s boyfriend, Mad Saurus, the leader of Area B, finds Blue’s decapitated head and in what is probably the most disgusting part of the arc, eats Blue, so they can be together forever.

Then, with the women safely outside, Jack waits at the cave entrance and tells Saurus to return to Hell City or face death. Naturally Saurus isn’t having this and so must have the stabbing done to him.

Ultimately an unenthralling arc. The use of Aira Mu isn’t particularly interesting, and the art is lacking compared to the 70’s chapters and to future installments. Not having read/seen God Mazinger I can’t confirm or deny that Aira Mu’s dullness is due to her origins. However, more feisty Nagai heroines seem to get to keep their feistiness fairly intact when transfering to Violence Jack – Jun Hono we’ve seen already and Cutey Honey plays a major role later on, so maybe Aira was useless to begin with.

One thought on “Violence Jack – Hell City Kanto”

  1. I’ve always been really interested and curious about the manga version of Violence Jack from what I’ve heard of it as compared to the OAV’s.
    And it’s quite interesting to read your summaries and how all of Go Nagai’s work is woven into this, I never even knew that.
    Keep up the great work.

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