Year Released: 1996
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 97 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:
One would think, since director Rintaro and company repeated the good vs. evil plot of this tedious anime film about a dozen times, that “X” would be easy to summarize. It is, to an extent. Apparently, there’s some sort of epic battle under way for the fate of the Earth. On one side, the seven Dragons of the Earth awaken, first to destroy Tokyo — which always seems to take it on the chin in Japanese genre films — then all of civilization in order to clear the planet of us human dregs. Opposing them are the seven Dragons of Heaven, represented by the seven stars of the Big Dipper, which have the power to create power shields to protect mankind’s cities from the Dragons of the Earth scourge.
Each Dragon seems to be represented by a human blessed with superhero powers…and cursed with some of the lamest one-liners this side of a Schwarzenneger flick. Heading up these human incarnations — and here’s where things get hazy — are Kamui, the captain of the Heaven team, and his best friend from childhood Kotari, leader of the Earth squad who automatically (why?) becomes Kamui’s sworn enemy and turns into a real cretin for no apparent reason. The two spend most of the film receiving advice from a pair of opposing “dream watchers” — sisters Hinoto and Kanoe who act as sort of oracles for their respective warriors — and trying to rescue Kotari’s kid sister Fuma, whom Kanoe kidnapped for reasons left entirely unclear.
The name “Kamui,” we learn, means “God’s power. One who will act on God’s behalf.” Guess it’s pretty easy to tell who the good guys are. Yet, such obvious bias undercuts what could have been a very intricate and complex man vs. the environment argument and instead reduces this film to a violent and blood-soaked white hat/black hat anime testosterone fest. Even with such overly simplistic reductionism and even after repeating the plot over and over again with some of the most melodramatic, on-the-nose writing seen outside of Saturday morning cartoons, “X” is still an interminable, confusing, boring mess. Yeah, it looks awesome; probably every bit as hot as it does in its Kadokawa Shoten Asuka Comics form or when it was serialized in Asuka Magazine.
Which leads this reviewer to the obviously cliched conclusion that the best way to experience “X” would be to read the book.
Posted on August 23, 2000 in Reviews by Merle Bertrand
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