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Crying Freeman 2: Shades of Death, Part 1 (1989)

Kuraingu furiman 2: Fûsei kakurei (original title)
R | | Animation, Crime, Drama | Video
With the blessing of the 108 Dragons, Yo and Emu marry and receive new names, Ron Tayan and Fu Ching Ran. The elders send them to Macau to find out who's behind a new attack. Fu is kidnaped... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshio Furukawa ...
(voice)
Steve Bulen ...
Yô (1994) (voice)
Chiharu Kataishi ...
Emu (voice)
Edie Mirman ...
Emu (1994) (voice)
Ryûsei Nakao ...
Kô (voice)
Jeff Winkless ...
Kô (1994) (voice)
Dump Matsumoto ...
Bayasan (voice)
...
Bayasan (1994) (voice)
Edward Mannix ...
Rón (1994) (voice)
Kôhei Miyauchi ...
Rón (voice)
Nobuyo Tsuda ...
(voice)
Catherine Battistone ...
Fû (1994) (voice)
Toshiko Fujita ...
Kiche (voice)
Diane Michelle ...
Kiche (1994) (voice)
Osamu Saka ...
Mercury (voice)
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Storyline

With the blessing of the 108 Dragons, Yo and Emu marry and receive new names, Ron Tayan and Fu Ching Ran. The elders send them to Macau to find out who's behind a new attack. Fu is kidnaped; at the same time, Baya San (the huge granddaughter of the 108 Dragons' aged leaders) demands to be the next head of the gang, not Ron. The childish Baya San has joined forces with the Macau gang, in league with the American mob. A surprise visitor from the US arrives where Fu is being held captive. Can Ron rescue her, find the traitor within the 108 Dragons, defeat his enemies, and bring discipline to Baya San? He must still face the angry and deadly girlfriend of the American visitor. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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A honest man is forced to become a heartless killer, and an innocent woman is targeted for death...


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Also Known As:

Crying Freeman 2: Shades of Death, Part 1  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Freeman's new name Long Tai Yang means "Dragon Sun" in Chinese. Emu Hino's new name Hu Quin-Lan means "Tiger Orchid" in Chinese, and Bai Ya-Shan means "Ivory Fan" in Chinese. And all the names of the counsel men are named Elder followed by the name of a planet between Mercury to Uranus. See more »

Connections

Followed by Crying Freeman 3: Shades of Death, Part 2 (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

2nd CRYING FREEMAN volume adapts two stories from the manga
17 August 2002 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

CRYING FREEMAN 2: SHADES OF DEATH, Pt. 1 (1989) continues the Japanese animated adventures of Crying Freeman, the Japanese potter-turned-Chinese assassin for the 108 Dragons. It's an almost scene-for-scene adaptation of the two stories contained in the first half of the "Shades of Death" graphic novel (written by Kazuo Koike and drawn by Ryoichi Ikegami) and delivers the whole package in a compact 51 minutes. The first story, "The Tiger Orchid," tells of Beya-san (Bakah Sin in the manga), the greatly oversized, immature granddaughter of the leaders of the 108, Father Dragon and Mother Tiger, and her bid to oust Crying Freeman as their successor by conspiring with someone high up in the organization. The second story, "The Wind and the Crane," spotlights a black female assassin, Kitche, and her attempt to kill Freeman by identifying and exploiting a perceived weakness in him. She gets past Freeman's eagle-eyed security team by using special body dyes and hair coloring to turn herself white and blonde and pose as a female golfer visiting a Hong Kong golf meet. Interestingly, the character has all her best scenes as a gorgeous blonde white woman, severely undercutting her rare example as one of the few significant black female characters in anime.

Like the first volume, the animation strives to capture the rich, dramatic qualities of the manga artwork while expanding the action to meet audience expectations. The final showdown between Freeman and Kitche on the deck of the 108's submarine, for instance, boasts a lot of fluid movement as Kitche gracefully dances around the deck in full balletic mode to savor the moment. In the course of it all, Freeman has plenty of vigorous battles with opposing assassins and even takes on a band of Italian killers armed only with a sharp blade gripped in his bare toes. The anime basically delivers the same high level of violence, bloodshed and nudity as the manga. The women in CRYING FREEMAN just love to go around naked, even the 99-year-old Mother Tiger! However, there's a slight drop-off in animation quality from the first to second anime volumes, perhaps due to a lower budget, and the overall mood is not as well established. The character movement is also generally not as fluid in all sections as it was in the first volume. Perhaps the directorial hand of the new director, Nobutaka Nishizawa, was just not as confident as that of Daisuke Nishio, who directed the first volume.

The other big problem is that the two stories, though unconnected, follow one right after the other as in the graphic novel they're drawn from. Such a pairing makes sense in print, but deprives the anime of a single narrative arc. Also, because the focus of each story is on a new, separate woman character, the relationship of Freeman and his wife, Fu Ching Lan (the new name given Emu), which was so crucial to the first volume, is subordinate to the rest of the action here. There are some beautiful moments between them, such as the wedding at the very beginning and a later scene where he applies tiger cub tattoos to her torso, and playful moments, such as the one where Fu Ching Lan and Beya-san give Freeman a dual massage (with all of them in the nude), but they are few and far between. Still, overall, it's a pretty spectacular example of crime-themed anime and manga adaptation and is well worth watching, especially in conjunction with a reading of the manga.


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