A couple of weeks ago I had a get-together with some like-minded friends and we watched some crazy Japtoons as they’re meant to be watched: together, with good food, a little beer and a Fist of the North Star slot machine to keep people busy during the slow parts. I recommend all of you have such a “Baoh Night” at your homes, so as to broaden your horizons as cartoon viewers and as human beings. One of the attractions I showed my friends before we got to the really good stuff was Psychic Wars, which I’d watched on Sci-Fi Channel recently, bought on Amazon for three dollars and almost immediately forgotten about. When you put the DVD in and the menus start up, there’s this loud, angry growl that I assume is trying to scare you out of watching this movie. It’s doing the right thing.
Psychic Wars is kind of about wars, in that there is combat, and, as far as I can tell, it does not involve psychics in any way. Maybe one of the hero’s powers is being psychic, but he seems to have all the powers, so it would make about as much sense to call the film Man On Horse Wars. The 45-minute Oriental Animation Video bears more than a slight resemblance to 11th Commandment Champion The Crystal Triangle, and somehow I doubt it is because the creators of the former saw the latter. They simply must be kindred spirits who decided, at separate times, to make a nonsense story about the inexplicable adventures of an inexplicably omnipotent man.
That man is Ukyo Retsu: doctor, killing machine, unstoppable ladies’ man. In the first five minutes, Ukyo pulls a demonic tumor out of a dying woman and is given super powers involving glowing. What exactly these powers are, or, indeed, why a demon tumor is in a dying woman, is all glossed over. You’re going to get used to this: Psychic Wars is based on a novel, but all those pesky scenes where, I presume, the novel explains what the hell is going on at any given time are excised like a malignant tumor. Either Psychic Wars is a terrible adaptation, or Psychic Wars is an unreadable book.
From the moment our man gets superpowers, things just begin to happen. After a hysterical fistfight with the now-grown demon tumor, Ukyo and his nurse uncover a demon civilization from the distant past that wants to go into the future, where they will kill all the humans. So, instead, the demons must all be killed. From here, the story just gets Ukyo from one shoddily animated demon fight to the next, jumping back and forth in space and time incoherently. Also, someone calls him God.
At the end, it turns out that the leader of the demons was in fact Ukyo’s girlfriend. After this revelation she turns into some kind of lady pro-wrestler demon, and Ukyo has to kill her with his fancy glowing powers. The movie closes with a Buddhist nun telling Ukyo not to worry, since he can go visit the Asahina family and get with his dead girlfriend’s sister. No, seriously. Then the credits roll twice in a row.
The awful Manga Video dub that we watched makes matters worse, cutting and changing lines to be as bland and simple as possible at every turn. Manga was scared, I presume, that the viewer might have to put any more thought into this terrible story than the bare minimum. The dub makes the nonsense script even worse, so if you’re going to watch Psychic Wars, you might as well do it that way. Just keep in mind that this is simply Crystal Triangle Junior, and adjust your bad Japtoon expectations accordingly.