Crying Freeman [Anime OVA Series] (1988)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Anime  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Originally a manga created by industry icons Kazuo Koike (Lone Wolf and Cub, itself adapted as the Baby Cart series of live-action films) and Ryoichi Ikegami (Sanctuary, Mai the Psychic Girl), Crying Freeman attempts to condense over a thousand pages into a short video series. As the first episode opens, ceramic artist Yo Hinomura accidentally becomes entangled in the Chinese underworld and is kidnapped and brainwashed into becoming the ultimate assassin in the employ of the 108 Dragons. When painter Emu Hino witnesses Freeman dispatching two targets, she becomes entangled herself as she and Freeman are irresistibly drawn to each other despite his directive to kill her. While many of the scenes look like they were lifted straight out of the manga, viewers shouldn't expect a direct translation. Where the manga uses Ikegami's expressively detailed and languorous artwork to fuse sex and death, the animation necessarily streamlines both the story's imagery and pace. The end result is a production that tips more in favor of the business of death than the passions of those who deal it.