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Shadow Skill (1995)

Not Rated | | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi
In a war torn world of deadly conflict, one small group of heroes stand against the forces of darkness, armed only with two weapons - their unswerving dedication to good and the superhuman ... See full summary »





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Stars: Katsuhide Uekusa, Ben Fairman, Yûko Mizutani


Credited cast:
Yuri Amano ...
Rirubelt (voice)
Megumi Hayashibara ...
Ella Lagu (voice)
Chieko Honda ...
Fais (voice)
Rei Igarashi ...
Falstese (voice)
Tomoko Ishimura ...
Gian Deez (voice)
Jonathan Keeble ...
Scarface (voice)
Takehito Koyasu ...
Kai Sink (voice)
Takeshi Kusao ...
Stephen Lyons ...
Wolfman (voice)
Daniel Marinker ...
Screb Lohengrin (voice)
Yasunori Matsumoto ...
Scarface (voice)
Roger May ...
Blackwing (voice)
Mitsuru Miyamoto ...
Dias Lagu (voice)
Yûko Mizutani ...
Follymayer Razmatizer (voice)
Chinami Nishimura ...
Kara La Luka (voice)


In a war torn world of deadly conflict, one small group of heroes stand against the forces of darkness, armed only with two weapons - their unswerving dedication to good and the superhuman martial art known as the Shadow Skill... For fourteen-year old Gau, it is time once again for him to return to the graves of his parents, murdered by bandits when he was just ten. In the company of his adoptive sister Ella, Gau quickly comes to realize that his journey is more than a pilgrimage, and that his combat abilities as a student of the Karuda school of martial arts are about to be pushed to the breaking point! Attacked by the demonic Wolfman, left for dead and then forced to fight by Ella and Karuda master Scarface, Gau's dreams of becoming a new generation of warrior are put to the ultimate test - can he face his sister in single combat? Will he be able to match the unearthly abilities of Scarface? And can Gau ever uncover the secrets of the Shadow Skill? Written by Kentti

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based on comic | anime | See All (2) »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Also Known As:

Shadow Skill: Epilogue  »

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Version of Shadow Skill - Eigi (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Walls of blood do not an animé make...
4 July 2002 | by (Christchurch, New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Shadowskill is a series of two parts; an OAV and the epilogue. It tells the story of a Gau, an orphaned boy who is adopted as younger brother of a beautiful young martial arts master. Yet again, this isn't a cartoon for the kiddies, as it is a martial-arts drama containing graphic violence.

The opening of the story comes across as a hotchpotch of parts as it explains the formation of the group of main characters. This probably comes across as disjointed because of the story's origins as a Bumper Comic, originally published in short installments. Confusingly, the main characters fight a series of monsters with loosely explained premises. This is all well and good if you just want to see some action, but not easy to take seriously.

The second half of the OAV is the only part of the OAV plot that I find really interesting. It deals with a fight between two dear friends who have been turned against each other. I feel that this addresses the issue of obligation and honour more clearly than the earlier part of the story, but yet again I feel like the background is somewhat glossed over. Perhaps it was felt that a superficial storyline would less interfere with the pace of the action. I don't know if it pays off, but a bunch off blustering people throwing around glowy fireballs isn't my idea of action any way.

Some of the art is appealing but for the most part the plot lets it down. I think that Shadowskill suffers from tenuous character development and melodramatic nonsense, though I am not really a big fan of martial-arts drama stories. The animation of the fight scenes is not too bad, though it seems to be needlessly bloody. I don't feel that waves of blood add much to the plot line, or the realism of the fighting.

Westerners may find some of the devices of the story confusing. In a way that is becoming increasingly familiar to animé fans (primarily due to the advent of Shoujo animé like Card Captor Sakura) magic is cast from cards, or more technically "Ofuda". This is a Shinto concept. Unfortunately this will probably seem weird to most people especially as the cards have to be subtitled because their names are in Japanese kanji. In the Madman release of this production this subtitling is done with glowing green subtitles, which looks kind of cheesy.

It is amusing to note that though the OAV and the epilogue share the same name, they are produced completely differently. From one to the other new characters have been introduced, and the personality of already established characters has changed. One of the main supporting characters is recognisable only by her attire and the mole that she has on her cheek; in the first production having short blue hair and in the second having long brown hair.

The epilogue has more comedy and more attractive art. The production quality comes across as higher, from the story telling to the pacing and the soundtrack. The animation is well done, though, as is fairly common with this sort of animé, the action comes across as far-fetched and fantastic. It is not uncommon to see parts of the scenery exploding with the ferocious blows of our protagonists, and a training battle in the middle of a rockslide has to be seen to be believed.

I can see this being popular primarily with guys aged 15 to 20, or younger, if they can get it past their parents. The plot isn't very deep and there is some "fan service" (though not much). Personally I'd give it about a 5/10; I could watch it again, but I will probably have better things to do.

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