I am featuring Riki-Oh on the Summer of Spooks because it is a gruesome anime OVA. It is violent and it doesn’t hold back with its brutality. Riki-Oh began as a manga series that ran from 1987 to 1990. The manga series spawned two anime OVAs as well as a live-action film that released in 1991. Originally, my intention was to review the live-action film that’s titled, Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky. The film is a cult classic that’s not available anywhere. Prime Video, Crackle, and Shudder advertise that they have the film on their sites. After checking, the film is unavailable. The film is on YouTube, but the quality is poor. For now, I’m going to review the two OVAS until I can get a copy of the live-action film. I’m going to review The Wall of Hell (first OVA) today and save The Child of Destruction (second OVA) for a later date. These OVAs are available on YouTube with good quality.
The first OVA is directed by Satoshi Dezaki. The short film begins in a post-apocalyptic Japan that has been ravaged by warfare and global warming. We are introduced to Riki-Oh, who seems to be a homeless lone wolf. A car filled with yakuza members are driving down a road, then Riki-Oh absolutely destroys them with his fists. He literally punches a guy’s jaw off and we are able to see this grotesque feat. As we see later on, Riki-Oh intentionally killed these yakuza members in order to get sent to this prison facility. The prison facility is ran by corrupt leaders who secretly run an opium farm for profit. The leaders have certain prisoners who run their own section of the jail. The leaders and evil prisoners try to prevent Riki-Oh from getting his revenge on the chairman of the prison. However, they are not able to stop Riki-Oh and his superhuman abilities.
This OVA is not for the faint of heart. Riki-Oh destroys these vile prisoners with absolute ease and gory kill sequences. He literally punches a man so hard that the man’s guts explode out of his stomach. I feel like this anime perhaps inspired Mortal Kombat and One-Punch Man. Its influence is clearly felt in the subjects that I mentioned above. There are also very innocent people in this story that meet a doom that they don’t deserve. One of them is a child, so be prepared for how twisted this story is.
The anime short does give Riki-Oh an interesting story arc that makes him this mysterious character similar to Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive or Clint Eastwood’s character in High Plains Drifter. The story clearly explains why Riki-Oh is at the prison. He’s there for revenge. However, the mystery is what Riki-Oh was up to for two years. He was a star student and a brilliant musician. Before college entrance exams, he falls off the face of the earth, then pops up at the prison. The mystery is up for interpretation for viewers. It feels as if Riki-Oh has become this being of vengeance, who’s looking to cleanse the evil in the streets of Japan.
To conclude, Riki-Oh: The Wall of Hell is a brief, yet entertaining anime story. I can’t wait to watch the second OVA to see Riki-Oh’s story continued. I recommend the OVA for martial arts fans and fighting game fans. If you like gore too, check this out.
Overall rating: 3.5/5.