Bio Hunter Review
The genre of anime horror has always interested me. Being an avid viewer, I do tend to stray onto the odd horror title now and then. For example this year I’ve had the pleasures of watching Hellsing, an anime horror show that really entertained me but since then I haven’t really found anything in the anime horror genre that could interest me. But now MVM have released Bio Hunter, an action horror animation which continues the standard fighting between humans and the unholy demons that feast on the flesh of the innocent. Sounds promising from the get go doesn’t it?
The unlikely heroes of Bio Hunter are Komada and Koshigaya, a pair of university professors who lecture in genetic science. But they are far from your average working teacher, as outside the classroom they are also special investigators dealing with a virus dubbed the ‘Demon Virus’. This inventively named virus causes anyone who comes into contact with it to mutate their bodies into vicious demonic creatures, with their remaining days sustained by feeding on human flesh. The two professors hunt out those who are infected and “curse” them using an anti-dote they have created to reverse the process.
It sounds all so simple but there’s one tiny problem with this. The shy and quiet professor, Komada, has been infected with the demon virus. Unlike all the other mindless demon creatures, however, he can control those which lurk beneath his skin but this ability is far from easy to control as most times he mutates into a huge demon in order to fight the monsters they hunt.
Meanwhile, Tokyo’s young female population is under siege with a barrage of murders being committed by a new demon. The professors have very little to go on until Komada discovers a young woman in danger called Sakaya. She’s being chased by thugs who are looking to find her grandfather. Preventing her capture, Komada breaks up the chase and takes Sakaya back home before any harm is done to her. After comforting Sakaya, the bio hunters come to believe that the girl’s grandfather, a famous psychic, may know the identity of the killer demon. The mission is set as Komada and Koshigaya have to act quickly to find Sakaya’s grandfather and solve the case. They will have to be prepared for the thugs who are also searching for the grandfather. If that wasn't enough, Komada is slowly losing control of his inner demons and so becoming a greater threat to both his partner and Sakaya. As you can imagine, things are about to get messy.
Though it managed to hold my interest during its short runtime Bio Hunter falls short of ever being truly captivating or thrilling. The visuals aren’t bad but do little to increase the entertainment value, though with plenty of blood and guts on display the hardcore anime horror fans out there should at least be satisfied. The story is, unfortunately, very easy to predict regardless of the constant attempts to try and twist the plot and while this features a good basic premise for an anime film we’ve already seen far too many series that deal with demon possession before, and ultimately Bio Hunter adds little to this well established genre. Perhaps with a little more thought put into developing the story and characters then maybe Bio Hunter might have been more entertaining. Instead, we’ve got something that’s been done to death and though massive fans of the anime horror genre may find some redeeming qualities here for me it’s nothing but the same old thing; which sadly is very disappointing.
Video and Sound
The video presentation for Bio Hunter is a 1.33:1 full screen transfer. Seeing that Bio Hunter was made nearly ten years ago, the picture reflects the material's age. It’s satisfactory but the quality is marred by the occasional moments of frame shaking at the beginning and then picture grain and dirt throughout. It is noticeable too that edge enhancement has been used which makes the detail far too sharp in certain places. Apart from this, the video transfer is acceptable.
MVM have managed to create a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the English dub version which accompanies the original Dolby Digital 2.0 Japanese track. The English 5.1 mix, featuring familiar voices from the Tenchi Muyo dub cast, is pretty good for the material. It’s not going to blow your speakers up but it tries to separate voices and effects with the 5.1 setup throughout the channels which is good and makes the audio dialogue clear to understand. For the original language viewers, the Japanese is also clear and understandable just only in a 2.0 format. It may not have used the 5.1 to the full potential, but Bio Hunter sounds just fine.
This really doesn’t need explaining, it’s a brief two minute trailer showing everything that happens in Bio Hunter.
This special feature allows viewers to look at storyboard segments from Bio Hunter with the option to see the selected storyboard scene in action from the main feature itself. It did sound quite promising here but with this special feature, there’s only one frame of a storyboard shown for each scene so there’s very little to look at. The only way to understand where it comes from is to watch the selected clip that accompanies it. Overall this is quite bizarre and disappointing for a storyboard feature.
If I had seen Bio Hunter prior to viewing more highly rated horror anime titles then I might have been more impressed. While I feel there is nothing wrong with the execution of a perfectly good story, it just feels like we’ve seen it all before and is therefore completely forgettable after viewing. The die-hard anime horror fans might enjoy this but for me; I’ll be looking for something with more punch. Sadly, it's an anime that can't live up to the reputations of other landmark anime horror titles.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 12:25:16