Dead Leaves was one of those anime that I was iffy about from the moment I saw it on the movie shelf. Looking at the case, it doesn't exactly look like anime, the characters look strange, and the movie itself, as is the wont of Manga, was short. Luckily, it was inexpensive. The store I bought it from had a sale on Manga titles and I picked this up, along with R.O.D. and Kai Doh Maru. After watching all of them, I considered myself lucking, being two for three (see my review for Kai Doh Maru).
To explain, I watched Dead Leaves last and was already jaded because of Kai Doh Maru. I was prepared to be disappointed when I popped it in. And, after the initial confusing moments of this anime, I was expecting it. But then came the action, a fiesta of explosions and a**kicking. The two main characters, Pandy, named for the tattoo over her eye, and Retro, named for the TV he uses for a face, are masters of destruction, and prove that in the initial scene of action where they almost completely destroy a city all on their own. Eventually, though, they are captured and imprisoned, and the action moves aside for some pretty suggestive comedy. Strange sex and nudity fill the next twenty minutes or so, until Pandy and Retro finally decide to make their escape, and once again, in comes the action.
The story is confusing and hard to explain, so I'll paraphrase the back of the DVD: Character wake up with no memory and no clothes, characters go on crime spree, characters are captured, characters discover the secrets of the prison known as Dead Leaves, characters decide death and destruction is the best way to deal with the secrets. I've written it the way I did because, well, the story is unimportant. Top notch animation from Production I.G. is what drives this anime, from start to finish.
And I'm thankful to Dead Leaves for one reason: it took the taste out of my mouth left behind by Kai Doh Maru.
The one problem I had with this anime was the length. I'm getting tired of spending so much money on something that doesn't even go past an hour. I wish it was at least ten minutes longer, making it a full hour and therefore a movie.
That, however, is no reason not to own Dead Leaves, especially if you enjoy quality animation. In many ways, this anime is similar to FLCL and Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi in that both of these anime use a certain amount of chaos in their animation style. Dead Leaves, however, goes beyond that. It's visual madness, and one I'd recommend to hardcore fans of anime.