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Media Blasters presents
Apocalypse Zero: Kakugo Complete (1996)

"There is no sense in fighting without style."
- Harara

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: January 28, 2002

Stars: Lex Lang, Mona Marshall
Other Stars: Jane Alan, Katie Ashley, Melissa Charles, Jessica Gee, Steve Kramer, Dave Mana, David Orasco, John Smallberries, Terrence Stone, David Umansky, Zan
Director: Toshihiro Hirano

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Extreme, graphic violence, nudity, language)
Run Time: 01h:14m:20s
Release Date: September 25, 2001
UPC: 631595011074
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- D+B+B+ D+

DVD Review

If you are looking for extremes in your anime, foregoing taste, style or substance for vulgarity and shock value, then Apocalypse Zero may be of interest. For those who prefer a little more class, and aren't looking to be grossed out, you can stop reading right now—this show is not for you. Don't say you haven't been warned, as this review is explicit in detail and contains possible spoilers.The world has been destroyed by three years of intense seismic activity, and radioactive fallout from massive nuclear explosions has created a number of monstrosities in human form that now plague the planet. The hope for humanity lies in two children of a warrior master, who themselves have inherited the ability to fight. As the show opens, Kakugo Hakakure is practicing Zero Form Martial Arts, stripped to his shorts in the snow, against a huge, multi-breasted, bear-like creature. His attacks are effective, but he is unable to subdue the beast. Enter his older brother Harara (actually his sister, see below for more on this), whose fighting skills are vastly superior. Harara lands a combination of moves that lay waste to this monster, much to the chagrin of his father, who criticizes using more force than necessary for the task. The two have inherited a pair of special, living, fighting suits, Fortified Armor Shell, evolved from the souls of warriors before them. They must be pure of heart or the suits will consume them—if they are successful, they and the suits will merge.In the ruins of Tokyo, amidst streets strewn with decaying corpses where rats gnaw at the remains, two school children, Kazu and Hiroko, walk amongst the rubble. Hurako, a giant, bulbous, naked female monster, spikes jutting from her crotch, attacks the pair, jealous of the attention the young girl is getting from her male suitor. Clasped in Hurako's giant hand, the schoolgirl is crushed, spewing her innards from her own mouth. Despite the state of the world, the school system is alive and well. Protected from demon monsters by young police squads, the future of Japan is being taught in derelict buildings. Kukugo is the newest student, but is immediately chided by the class bully, Haoka, who doesn't like the fact that the class beauty, Horie seems interested in the newcomer. Knowing the dangers of roaming the streets in these anarchistic times, word of the disappearance of their classmates is spreading. Meanwhile, the young man's fate is being decided, as the monster rapes him, then sucks the flesh off his face. Kugato's new school mates are strolling through town, when they are accosted by the giant female monster, and recognize Kazu's face sewn to her nipple. From the shadows comes a warrior, Zero Form, clad in black, who is their only hope for salvation. Zero proceeds to rip the monsters spine out, and as she dies, she vomits the carcasses of her victims out onto the streets, including the half-digested remains of her last.The show doesn't get much better than this. The first issue that pops out at you with this OVA set is the character of Harara, who throughout the show is referred to as a man in the sub-translation, despite clearly feminine design and a pair of rather ample breasts, which are not only highlighted in the clothing she wears, but also bared later on just to make the point clear. I could accept that this character perhaps had a glandular problem, if it weren't for the persistent use of the Japanese word aneue when her younger brother is referring to her, which even this complete layperson can figure out is translated as "older sister." The second, of course, is the excessive violence, which I'm sure some people will enjoy, yours truly not among them. Lastly are the designs of our monsters, who look like Mardis Gras floats, but also must be fat, naked, and have either their breasts be used as weapons, or their very large (and very visible) male appendages play a vital role in their fighting—again, not my cup of tea. The history of Kugato and his she-male brother is fleshed out through the course of the rest of the OVA, which contains a procession of more overstuffed monsters, each with graphic sexual traits playing important roles in their fighting styles. The character designs were interesting, and fitting with the look of the series. Had this been handled in a little less graphic manner, and with more focus on the story rather than how disgusting they could make the battle sequences, there might have been something here that I could find redeeming, however, I really didn't need to experience this, and suspect most others won't either.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Video quality is decent, with colors being somewhat muted, and black levels straying from solid on rare occasions. The pallate is generally beiges, blacks and reds, creating a drab backdrop which highlights the blood and guts that frequent the production. There is some degree of aliasing, but compression issues are minimal.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Both Japanese and English dub stereo are available. No technical anomalies were noted. Both tracks feature decent use of the soundstage, and a full, if not expansive frequency range. The dub by Bang Zoom! is fair, with the lower emotional level typical for dub tracks, but does not seem miscast.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Voogie's Angels, Rurouni Kenshin, Kite, Samurai Hunt For The Sword
Packaging: unknown keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Image gallery
Extras Review: Extras include a 9 image art gallery, and trailers for Voogie's Angels, Rurouni Kenshin, Kite and Samurai Hunt For The Sword. Character introductions are hard subbed, and there are no Japanese voice credits that I could locate. There are a few oddities in the subtitles, not the least of which is the constant refering to a female character as a male.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Fans of extreme and graphic anime violence laced with grotesque nudity will find something to like here. Anyone else won't. Outside of shock value and some nonstandard character design, Apocalypse Zero is limited in appeal. Certainly not on my list of favorite Media Blasters titles, and parents are strongly cautioned.


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