Monday, 2 May 2016


Yakuza Apocalypse DVD
Yakuza Apocalypse
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Rating: 18
Running Time: 125 Mins
Audio: Japanese DD 5.1 & Jap DD 2.0 with English subs
Release Date: 2/5/2016
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes 

Yakuza boss, Kamiura is admired in his neighbourhood, seen as a man of the people after the global recession who takes care of those in need. He is ruthless and controls his henchmen with an iron hand, but they don't know what sort of man he is, that he is actually otherworldly.

The truth is, Kamiura's strength doesn't come from his nature as a human, he's faking being one in front of his men, he is really a vampire who has had his men and the people around him living in fear of what he might do to them.

Kageyama is Kamiura's right hand man, he trusts him to get the job done, but as he's never got tattooed due to his sensitive back skin, he is viewed as less of a man by his peers. This doesn't stop him from having to justify his problem to Kamiura's men even though they plague him about it. Kageyama has an admiration for his boss the others don't seem to have, they pretend to as fear is the thing that keeps them motivated, and they have good reason to believe that.

Kamiura is fierce and will kill rival gangs if they try to get in his way. The start of the story sees how he sorts out his rivals sending his men in to beat up and slice up anyone around. In one case, Kageyama's friend is seen to have been beaten and raped by one of the rival gang men and has to be hospitalised due to her injuries. Over the movie, Kageyama visits her and she acts uncertain that she will be able to live life as normal after she has healed. Kageyama wants things to go back to the way they were and feels angry that this had to happen.

Kamiura runs an illegal sweatshop where men sit below a noodle bar knitting so they can earn enough to eat. This, I imagine is the only way they can live as their livelihoods have been hit bad by the recession. Images of the noodle bar owner stomping on the feet of any man who doesn't pull his weight tells us that the Japanese can show menace as well as dark humour. It does get much better when men from a strange land come to test Kamiura's mettle, a man acting as though he is a tourist, the other in black garb who poses as a priest with a small coffin strapped to his back and a kappa spirit with a beak mouth and turtle shell on his back. Kamiura thinks he can have an easy time killing off the two of them he meets, but they prove to be much better fighters than him. 

Through all of this, Kageyama watches and wants to avenge his master, though the only way he can do that is to become a vampire like him. When I saw the movie, Highlander, I remember the scene where Connor MacLeod would cast off the head of his enemy and lightening would surround them from the enemy's severed neck. I can only think that the writers had a fondness for that movie with its special effects and wanted to do a homage.

Vampires in movies and anime as most well know are pretty different to the Twilight or Interview with the Vampire variety. These have elongated fangs much like a snakes and a lengthy tongue. They might look human but they are imbued with special powers; strength, speed, guile (they feel good when they turn) and are so hot they can fry eggs on their palm. No. I'm not making that up. As a result, Yakuza Apocalypse is a slapstick, gory fun watch with a different take on what we have known from Western movies what vampires look like.

Bonus Material:Trailer for Yakuza Apocalypse.

Summary: Dark, comic, gory and truly wonderful - you'll be so glad this came to our shores!