This weekend (while I’m at Kumoricon), we’re taking a look at one of the more recent takes on the Highlander franchise, with the anime film from the director of Ninja Scroll.
Title: Highlander: the Search for Vengeance
Alistair Ubell as Colin MacLeod
Debi Mae West as Dahlia
Zachary Samaels as Marcus Octavius
Scott McNeil as Armergan, Gregor, and Lab Director
Hank Banks as Joe
Janyse Jaud as Kyala
Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Character Design by Hisashi Abe
Written by David Abramowitz
Animated by Studio Madhouse
In the far future, Earth has been ravaged by a global war, and all of the once powerful nations have broken up into independent city states. The city state of New York, has been taken over by warlord Marcus Octavius, who is an Immortal. Immortal Colin McCloud comes to New York, seeking Marcus, who killed his love in 125 AD, driving Colin for a search for vengeance that has lasted through millennia.
This film does an excellent job of giving weight to Colin’s vendetta. Compare it to Connor McLoud in the original film, who never encounters the Kurgan after the death of Ramirez and the rape of his wife until the 20th century. Colin’s titular search, on the other hand, has intensity and pathos to it, by having it last through generations.
This film is dub only. This, on its own, wouldn’t necessarily be bad. However, the cast feels like it’s made up of second-string Streamline dub actors who weren’t able to get anime work after Streamline shut down. It’s not terrible – but it’s not great either.
This is a Yoshiaki Kawajiri film, which means that there is sex and graphic violence.
Originality: This is a spinoff of the Highlander series (obviously), with another McLoud as the hero, and with some cues taken from Kawajiri’s other works (including Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust). 3/6
Animation: Well, this is a Kawajiri film, and one animated by Studio Madhouse, so it looks gorgeous! 6/6.
Story: The vendetta that Colin has for markus is handled very well, though the rest of the story is incredibly simple. 4/6.
Emotional Response: Most of the characters are fairly one-dimensional, though they try to give Marcus a little depth before he goes off his rocker. 3/6
Production: The sound design and score are very well done, and the CGI that’s used is decent. 4/6.
Acting: See the low point. 4/6
Overall: This is an okay, mindless film. It won’t blow your mind like Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust did for me (and Ninja Scroll did for fans before it), but you might have done. 4/6.
In total, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance gets 27/42.