Thursday, October 5, 2017

Seikima II - Humane Society

If you've followed Orphan's releases, you should know that many OVAs of the 80s and 90s were made as promotions for other media, like manga (Yuukan Club, Nozomi Witches), light novels (Eien no Filena), and video games (Cosmic Fantasy). 1992's Seikimatsu - Humane Society (Seikima II - Humane Society) was a promotion for a rock-and-roll band. It wasn't the first of its kind; it was preceded by 1991's Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band, for example. But it may be the strangest.

Seikima II was a Japanese death-metal band, of the kind parodied so lovingly in Detroit Metal City: kabuki makeup, songs about rape, murder, and satanic destruction, and a public persona of devilish evil. The OVA purports to tell the backstory of the band, which, according to its publicity, was composed of actual demons (akuma) from the parallel dimension Makai. In the OVA, five vicious demons (the five band members), led by Demon Kogure (the lead singer), are plotting the destruction of humanity. The only effective opposition comes from the saintly Rosa, who is actually the reformed war goddess Freyja in disguise. The demons attempt to activate their ultimate weapon, the Tower of Babel, before Rosa can complete her counterweapon, the Tower of Cain. The demons {spoiler alert} triumph and are on the verge on destroying the world when their leader suddenly decides that they should, instead, form a rock-and-roll band in order to convert people everywhere into demon worshipers. End of story.

For some reason, I am irresistibly reminded of the Monty Python sketch "Hell's Grannies." At the end, a pompous British colonel stops the sketch with: "Started off with a nice little idea about grannies attacking fit young men, but now it's got silly." Seikima II - Humane Society starts out as a nice little fantasy about demons versus gods, but then it gets silly. The demons themselves are goofy; for example, Sgt Luke is deathly afraid of celery, and Prof. Ishikawa uses his clairvoyance mostly to peek at women. The ending credits include a live performance by the band, replete with bad makeup, bad hairdos, and cheesy special effects, emphasizing just how silly it all is.



As befits a death-metal band, normal speech played backwards is used for various incantations. Where we could make them out, these lines are set reversed, in a different font and color, as "spells."

A few translation notes:
  • "Its name was... maneki neko." The famous beckoning cat figurine of Japanese commerce.
  • Odr (or Óðr) is a warrior from Norse mythology associated with the goddess Freyja.
  • The giant water bugs in Ishikawa's plague are native to east Asia but are now considered endangered in Japan.
  • A daisangen hand is an easily completed hand in Mahjong.
  • The Japanese dialog uses akuma for generic demons and the English loan word Demon as Kogure's first name.
The five band members played themselves, and the lead "demon" (Kogure) is quite good; his opening English monologue is a treat. Doi Mika, who voiced Rosa, played the lead in Explorer Woman Ray and provided the wonderful narration in all the Mushishi properties. Matsumoto Yasunori, who voiced Odr, Rosa's foremost soldier, played the lead in action shows Armor Hunter Mellowlink, Hard the Bounty Hunter, Starship Troopers, and Oz. He also showed his flare for comedy as Tohru the magician in Every Day Is Sunday and Dick Saucer in Dragon Half. The director, Kamiya Jun, worked on many projects, including Blue Seed and its sequel, Girl from Phantasia, and the first Kingdom series.

Seikima II performed from 1982 to 1999, with occasional reunion concerts after that. They continued their association with anime as well (thanks to the anonymous commenter for this information). Demon Kogure appeared in Wanna-Bes and Urotsukidoji II. The group did the theme song for Maze in 2001, and just last year they did the openings for Terra Formars Revenge. Because their activities and popularity continued well into the digital era, this OVA was released on DVD. Iri found the disc and translated it. ninjacloud timed, I edited and typeset, and Nemesis and VigorousJammer did QC. M74 encoded from the R2J DVD. Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band is also available on DVD, but no promises about that show.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that this genre of music is not aimed at my demographic. (I stopped listening to rock-and-roll in the early 1970s.) Accordingly, I'm not the best authority to consult on the merits of the band or the OVA. But whether you find it all entertaining or silly - or both - you can get Seikma II - Humane Society from the typical torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

2 comments:

  1. I've been curious to see this. I only know about SeikimaTsu from Demon Kogure Kakka's other media appearances like in Wanna-Be's, Urotsukidōji II, and Godzilla vs. Biollante. They did the theme song to Terraformars Revenge a couple years ago, so they're not totally gone.

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  2. Girl From Phantasia isn't a Blue Seed sequel, is it...?

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