A murder is committed by the president of a large corporation. He eludes the authorities, but another sort of justice awaits him...justice from beyond the world of the living. One of his employees is actually the alter-ego of the Judge of Darkness: one who brings those who have escaped earthly justice their just deserts. But can he outwit the unearthly attorney sent to defend a man so consumed by evil? Or will justice fail even in the courts of Hell?
With a bizarre premise that is tied in with the Gods of Japanese mythology, basically a trial before spirits, Judge should have been an interesting, if strange trip through a suspenseful world of intrigue. Instead, it is a mostly incoherent mash of the creepy, with a jumbled plot and unconvincing acting that make it, at best, an unmemorable OAV.
Nothing about this title is really remarkable. Mind trips and spiritual hauntings mark the action in this title. The art style is dated and belongs in the "Almost Black-and-White School of Animation" ... with almost no color to speak of. Appropriate, perhaps, but it's been done better.
What doesn't help things here is the English track, which is so hokey it makes it practically impossible to take this feature seriously in the least. The dub voice of the Attorney, in particular, is really bad, sounding suspiciously like Professor Honeydew from Muppet Babies. (Never a good omen for an anime.) The Judge of Darkness is too boring to be truly sympathetic, and the rest of the characters really need more development to be more than blank faces and forgettable names.
Judge falls under the category of interesting premise, bad execution. It ends up being so boring that, like the villain in the story, you want to strangle yourself just to finish the OAV. If you want more stirring attorney-client interaction, watch Ally McBeal on your Monday nights and save yourself the $1.50 rental. At least that way, you'll be entertained.
Perhaps a Japanese track with subtitles might give this a star or two, but it's simply too unimpressive to bother with. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Sexual situations, nudity, occultism, and some violence limit this one to older teens and adults. Not even they would find it all that interesting though.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Judge © 1991 Fujihiko Hosono / Futaba Sha / Animate Film / JC Staff
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