Hello guys! I’ve been away from my keyboard for a while unfortunately, but I’m excited to be hitting the keys once again. As this is my first post in a while, it is only fitting that I do my first review on a film that has just hit the internet.
Violence Voyager was produced by TriCoast Studios and features the voice acting talents of Debi Derryberry (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius), Cedric Williams (Toradora), Saki Fujita (Attack on Titan), and Shigeo Takahashi (Nichijou) depending on whether or not you are watching the dubbed version or the original Japanese version. In addition, it features a distinct art style known as gekimation where paper cutouts are filmed in real time moving through a scene to create the illusion of motion (similar to Claymation that is used in many Tim Burton films). This film was written and directed by Ujicha, who is known for using this style in many of his works.
So, without further ado, here is my review of Violence Voyager.
Following an end-of-term school ceremony, the American boy Bobby decides to go with his friend Akkun into the mountains outside their village, to a place perfect for a secret base. On the way they stop into a mysterious amusement park. They have fun there, but are attacked and cannot leave. Falling in with some other children who are also lost there, they fend off a number of attacks, and gradually learn the truth behind the facility.
At first glance, the animation style used in this film is actually quite jarring. While it is interesting and unique, it does take some getting used to (as I assume Claymation did when it was first released). It has an unnatural feel to it, but when you couple it with the way some of the characters are designed, and the nature of this film overall, it fits in perfectly and is obviously expertly done with finesse.
While I cannot speak on behalf of the Japanese voice acting because I only watched the English dub, I can say that the voice acting is amazing. As someone who mainly watches Japanese content in its original language (with English subtitles), I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the voice acting in the English dub was. Of course, with the talents I mentioned above in the booth, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised at all.
The story and characters are very simple. However, simplicity in this case is not a negative. I feel as though that the story elements were intentionally left simple in order to allow the animation to truly shine.
This film was bloody, filled with grotesque and unsettling imagery, and simply strange to watch. While I was perturbed by some of the things displayed in this film, I found myself captivated by it. I wanted to look away at some points, but found myself unable to do so because I was genuinely curious and enraptured by what was happening on screen.
As I mentioned earlier, the animation style is jarring. It feels out of place. But, when I think about the B-horror films that I used to watch growing up, what with their low budget effects and make-up, I understand that this movie pays homage to that by using this artificial animation style, gore, and sci-fi elements. The way I see it, the use of gekimation separates the viewer from the violence going on because you can clearly see that there are not real people going through the things happening in the film. However, because most of the characters are children, the film tugs on our protective feelings towards them and draws us into it.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Violence Voyager. If I’m being honest, when I first glanced at it and watched the trailer, I didn’t expect much. But the way I was sucked into the story, the characters, and the violence was not only unexpected, it was amazing. I can honestly say that I feel like this movie is a work of art in its own right and it is definitely a thrill ride I will be sharing with my own friends.
If you are a fan of B-horror and foreign films, Violence Voyager is a movie I would definitely recommend you give a watch. For more of TriCoast Studio’s works click here.