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ANIMATION REVIEW : An Over-Violent 'Overfiend'

March 07, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON CHARLES SOLOMON..BD: SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Even by the undemanding standards of its genre, "Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend," the latest installment in the Laemmle's "Japanimation" series, is short on plot and long on misogynistic violence.

Adapted by Michael Lawrence from a screenplay by Noburo Aikawa, it's another tale of overlapping dimensions: the Human World, the World of Monster-Demons and the World of Man-Beasts.

According to a legend known to everyone but the humans, the super-powerful Overfiend is reborn every 3,000 years to unite the dimensions in peace and happiness. Nagumo, a nerdy high-school student, may be the Overfiend without knowing it; Amano and Megumi, a brother-sister team from the Man-Beast World, think he is and protect him from marauding demons.

Their efforts to ascertain his identity quickly devolve into a hodgepodge of Japanese animation cliches: flickering backgrounds, rapid-fire editing, explosions, monsters sprouting phallic tentacles, flesh blowing off skulls, fountains of blood.

The dubbed English dialogue is often unintentionally hilarious, providing a welcome note of levity. As a towering monster pulverizes Osaka, Amano warns that if the destruction doesn't stop, "I'll never forgive you!" Viewers unaccustomed to Japanese sci-fi will be repulsed by all the rape and gore.

MPAA: Unrated; contains profanity, cartoon nudity, sex, masturbation, rape and extreme violence.

* Playing at midnight Friday and Saturday nights at the Sunset-5 in Sunset at Crescent Heights, Hollywood. (213) 848-3500.

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