Julien Neaves, Editor
Manga artist Hirohiko Araki is most popular for the best-selling series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure which began its run in 1987 and has been adapted in an OVA series, film and anime series. But three years prior Araki he had another lesser known manga called Baoh the Visitor about a teenager kidnapped and turned into a bioweapon via the titular parasite.
Baoh the Visitor received an OVA in 1989 which I learned about from the good folks of the Facebook group The Golden Age of Anime 70s, 80s and 90s. I checked out on YouTube and it was a pretty cool watch. With a mild SPOILER ALERT here’s my Quick Bite review:
Baoh follows 17-year-old Ikuro Hashizawa who we meet at the start of the OVA on a train and as a prisoner of the shadowy Doress Laboratory after having been transformed into a bioweapon with superman strength and other abilities. He escapes with the help of a nine-yead old psychic girl named Sumire. The duo go on the run from Doress and lead scientist Professor Kasuminome who is seeking to eliminate their experiment.
And that’s about it. The story is straightforward and at just 48 minutes the film is a brisk watch. While the OVA is not all that groundbreaking in the story department (amnesiac hero with special abilities anyone?) it shines in the solid animation and the actiom department. Baoh (the manga) is the first to display Araki’s penchant for over-the-top gore and the OVA is a glorious gorefest. Ikuro in his blue-skinned, wild-haired, arm-bladed Baoh form rips through his various adversaries with aplomb and loads of style, and it is most satisfying. There’s also a scene of a dog infected by the Baoh parasite that viciously rips a tiger to pieces. Gore galore!
In terms of bad guys, most are disposable cannon fodder, but we do have two memorable villains in the slick, purple-skinned assassin Number 22, secret cyborg Dordo and, his most powerful foe, formidable psychic Native American Walken (which Araki named after American actor Christopher Walken #themoreyouknow). The OVA actually cut some of the action sequences from the manga, including Ikuro facing off against Martin, a mutated mandrill, and giant spiders. I would have loved to have seen those fights onscreen. But even without them, Baoh is still a highly entertaining watch.
Editor Jules’ Score: 7 out of 10
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.