The Abashiri Family
The Abashiri criminal family is about to reveal its greatest secret: the youngest "son" of the family is really the first female born to the family in centuries! (Why her brothers didn't notice this before is beyond me.) But between the senseless violence of their world and the whims of a few arch-criminals who would silence their opposition, does Abashiri Kikunosuke stand a chance of becoming the daughter her father wants her to be, or will she die trying?
What happens when the yakuza go insane? You get the Abashiri family - a family of criminal goons that is simply beyond belief. How Kikunosuke (the lone female of the family) manages to keep a semblance of sanity in that background is beyond me. Amid very unsettling violence, she goes to school to attempt to be a normal girl (only God knows why), only to find out she's entered the school from Hell. (Literally.) Fight, kill, live. (Did Go Nagai have THAT bad of a childhood or something?)
The Abashiri Family is a truly absurd, yet somehow amusing piece of animation that is akin to Cutey Honey meets the yakuza meets Itchy and Scratchy. The superhuman powers of the family itself tend toward the hilarious side, with one of the sons, for example, almost literally a rubber man as far as flexibility (practiced in his pursuit of ladies' undergarments a la Happosai).
The body count in this show is staggering, bloody, and bared to the screen. The story includes double-crosses, traps, and all manner of devices designed to make an end of the Abashiri criminal empire, which inevitably fail due to their inhuman powers and capabilities of killing. For all it's worth, very few characters in this show are portrayed as being truly good. (Don't attach yourself too much to the one that is...hint, hint.) The Abashiri clan might be the protagonists, but they are just as loaded with faults as the villains in the cast, though by no means as mean-spirited or nefarious. They want to rule, not destroy, and that makes them far more "noble" than those who would kill and rape to keep control. So it seems, anyway.
I'd really recommend this only for those with the strongest constitutions. Lots o' bloody death a la Go Nagai, slightly dated animation and art, and really bizarre character designs make this one a truly strange trip indeed. Again, being hopped up on caffeine at six in the morning also helps with this one. Just don't bother making too much sense of it; there's just not a lot of sense to be found here.
Add one star if you're a Go Nagai fan. If you're not, feel free to ignore this videotape. A whole lot of people might even drop this a star and stick in the turkey bin, and I can't say that wouldn't be unfair. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Definitely not for children. This is one of the movies that rank up there with Fist of the North Star in bloodshed. Decapitation, bullet wounds ... you name it, they've got it, in all its crimson charm. Also a few rape and attempted rape scenes that are just as repellent as the violence.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (3/3)
The Abashiri Family © 1992 Dynamic Planning Inc / Studio Pierrot / Soeishinsha / NEXTART
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