Baoh

Tagged: TV

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1989). Original title Baō Raihōsha. Based on the Manga by Hirohiko Araki. Pierrot. Directed by Hiroyuki Yokoyama. Written by Kenji Terada. Voice cast includes Noriko Hidaka, Hideyuki Hori, Ichirō Nagai and Yūsaku Yara. 46 minutes. Colour.

Nine-year-old Sumire (Hidaka) has Precognition powers, so has been taken from her orphanage for study by the mysterious Doress laboratories. Travelling by train, she is accompanied by security guards and a casket: this contains seventeen-year-old Hashizawa Ikurō (Hori), a Doress experiment. The pair escape but an assassin is sent to kill Ikurō and told to burn the corpse before he "goes through the first armed phenomenon". The assassin gets half the job done, but before he can light the match to burn the petrol-soaked body, Ikurō self-repairs and turns into a Baoh, killing him. Baohs are biological Weapons created by Doress's Dr Kasuminome (Nagai): they are the result of accelerated Evolution, where a parasitic worm (see Parasitism and Symbiosis) attaches itself to the brain and defends itself by transforming its host into a blue-haired Superpowered warrior.

Sumire is kidnapped by a Cyborg, luring Ikurō to Doress's coastal laboratory: on arrival he battles and defeats the bandanna-wearing Walken (Yara) "last of the annihilated Skurm tribe of American Indians" and the most powerful psychic on Earth (see Psi Powers). Whilst Ikurō rescues Sumire – bringing her back to life at one point – Dr Kasuminome decides to blow up the laboratory as a last resort. Meanwhile, Walken reappears, whereupon a Scientist cries out, "Oh no! The bandanna's come off ... the bandanna that regulates Walken's colossal psychic power!" A surprisingly brief battle ensues in the caves beneath the laboratory, with Walken eventually sliced in two by a laser cannon. Dr Kasuminome also dies, his last words praising his creation. The laboratory explodes ... the fate of Ikurō is unknown but Sumire survives, has a vision of Ikurō sleeping beneath the waves, and believes he will awaken when she is seventeen.

The Anime's short run time creates the impression of a film with all the parts an adolescent male would find dull – padding, characterization, logical underpinning – exorcized, to leave only the exciting bits. Aside from explosions, there is considerable gore; when heads are not melting they are popping or being torn off. Well animated, this is a forgettable but fun example of Horror in SF that lacks the tension to be truly scary.

The original manga was an early work by Hirohiko Araki, who would go on to write the popular series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (1997-current, 129 volumes to date) about members of a Superpowered family who battle supernatural Villains. [SP]

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