As a prequel to Ichi The Killer, I enjoyed what the filmmakers were trying to do with this film. Directed by Masato Tanno, who was an assistant director on Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer, the ideas surrounding a prequel were all in place. I appreciated the fact that an origin story was being attempted with this film. Set in the days of Ichi’s teen years, this film seemed like it was going to have a very cool story. It spoke to the root of the protagonist’s obsession with blood and violence. It hinted at where his fighting styles came from. It even had a conspiratorial cliffhanger ending that was truly appreciated.
The film as a whole, however, was just downright weak. There was tons of silliness and very little gore. It almost seemed like a comedy, even when I don’t think they were trying to be funny. The plot was also pretty unrealistic. It felt like a video game, where teens were vying to be the best fighter in school. This created numerous situations that could have had brutality and blood; instead, it just created poor fight sequences and almost no gore at all. It also boasts strange sexual imagery and creepy scenes involving scooters. Since it was part of my Bloody Evil box set, I will take it. As a collector, however, I would have to come across this Unearthed release at a very low price to justify my purchase.