I purchased this because I read some reviews off the net that this was a short but amazing series. Usually, reviews are right and bingo I got a series I enjoy.
Unfortunately, The Skull Man back-fired totally. After watching 4 episodes I abandoned it... The story did not move much than an inch within 4 episodes, not much action, but i figured that when it was a like detective thing.
My guess, and this is a guess here people, is that it takes a few more episodes before you finally get to actually SEE Skullman. Only a picture was taken and you know not even 1 word of information on the guy. He killed someone, why? No clue. What is his mission? No clue again.
I love when I series can pick my curiosity right off the first episode. I even give chance to up to a disc (4-5 episodes usually) before handing out a verdict. This one, I am selling and not worth keeping in my anime collection. It is however going on my black list to not buy or watch ever again.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The Skull-faced PhantomFeb. 4 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
"Skull Man" is a series with an interesting legacy. Created in 1970 by legendary Ishinomori Shotaro, "Skull Man" was Japan's first anti-hero, a dark crusader who didn't mind if a few innocents got killed on his quest for vengeance. The one-shot story appeared in Shonen Magazine, and was an instant hit. Ishinomori was asked to re-develop the character in a lighter and less gruesome style for a kid's television program, and the masked hero Kamen Rider was born. More than thirty years later "Kamen Rider" is still on the air, while character who gave birth to him, "Skull Man," had faded to obscurity.
In the late 90s, a dying Ishinomori contacted manga artist Shinamoto Kazuhiko with his last wish: Ishinomori wanted Shinamoto to finish the story of "Skull Man" started so many years ago. Ishinomori faxed Shinamoto his plot and story notes, then Shinamoto took it from there. Skull Man was revived in 1998 to great success. In 2007, Studio Bones (Rahxephon, Wolf's Rain) updated and adapted "Skull Man" for a thirteen-episode Fuji TV series, which has finally been released in the US.
The setting for "Skull Man" is a divided Japan, split into North and South sections which are guarded by an armed border. On the Northern side, there are urban legends of a mysterious skull-faced killer stalking the streets. On the Southern side, newbie reporter Mikogami Hayato thinks that this "Skull Man" might just be the big break he needs to catapult him to fame, and convinces his editor to send him over to the North to find the truth behind the rumors. Hayato was raised in an orphanage in the Northern Otomo city and has contacts on the Northern side in the form of Kuroshiro Gozo, a powerful businessman.
At the border, Hayato meets Mamiya Kiriko, a young girl who dreams of becoming a Pulitzer-winning photojournalist. The two strike up an uneasy partnership, and go on a hunt for leads to the Skull Man. Their path quickly leads them to the White Bell Society, a new and powerful religious sect in Otomo city, and onto the trail of Kagura Tatsuo, a man killed ten years ago in an arson case but who Hayato tags as the leading suspect for the identity of the Skull Man. As the investigation progresses, it seems that everyone, from the innocent Kiriko to Hayato's powerful ally Gozo, is hiding some secret connecting them to the White Bell Society and the mysterious and dangerous Skull Man.
With the "Skull Man" anime, Studio Bones decided to keep mainly the heart of Ishinomori's original characters and to re-imagine almost everything else. The series has a 1930s Noir-ish detective feel, juxtaposed with Lon Chaney's The Phantom of the Opera and Wagner's Tannhauser opera. Ishinomori's typical futuristic bucket-headed hero has been redesigned as a gothic menace with a close-fitting skull mask and a long black coat wielding a German Luger P08 pistol and a shotgun. By contrast however, Hayato and Kiriko are almost typical old-school anime characters thrust into a darker world than they were prepared for. Instead of the urban legend he was hunting for, Hayato finds himself surrounded with dog-headed monsters and beautiful movie actresses transforming into flying monsters.
The mixture of an updated and modern anime retaining some of the style and flair of its original creator reminded me quite a bit of the Osamu Tezuka adaptation Metropolis. Some of the character designs (especially Hayato and Kiriko's hairdos) and plot twists might seem dated and in fact they are, but this was a deliberate choice that I think works well. It keeps that "nostalgic but modern" effect that I think is a strength of "The Skull Man."
The animation is beautiful, with some flawless CGI enhanced scenes. The series ends on a somewhat ambiguous note, either as a set up for a sequel or just as an artistic choice by the director. Either way, the series stands completely on its own. It must also be noted that "The Skull Man" has one of the best covers I have ever seen on an anime DVD.
This set has the entire thirteen-episode series on two DVDs, with six episodes on the first disk and seven on the second disk. There is no dubbed soundtrack, being available only in Japanese with optional English subtitles, and that is just fine with me. The only real extras are some previews for other Section 23 releases. What I feel is really missing from the release is the live-action "The Skull Man Episode Zero" that was released as a prequel to this series, but these live-action anime adaptations almost never make it to the US, which is a shame. They would make excellent bonus features.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Suspense, mystery and action rolled up into one! "The Skull Man" is a riveting anime series that is dark, captivating!Feb. 5 2010
Dennis A. Amith
- Published on Amazon.com
In 1970, one of the more popular manga series in Japan was Shotaro Ishinomori's "Skull Man" which graced the pages of Shonen Magazine and selling over 1.5 million copies. Ishinomori is well-known in Japan for creating the "Kamen Rider" character, as well as the manga series "Cyborg 009", "Kikaider" and "Miyamoto Musashi" series.
But what made Ishinomori's work for "The Skull Man" so unique at the time, was that manga series was among the first to showcase an anti-hero as the series revolves around a hero who was orphaned when his parents were murdered and now takes up the disguise of Skull Man to exact his revenge.
Before the death of Ishinomori in the late '90s, he asked mangaka Kazuhiko Shimamoto to do a remake of his manga continuing the storyline and was released in Japan and the US. In 2007, director Takeshi Mori ("Gekkou no Piasu", "Kimaure Orange Road" OAV's, "Stratos 4") and anime production company BONES began working on an anime adaptation which aired on Fuji TV. Now, the anime series is available through Sentai Filmworks/Section 23 Films in the US via a complete collection (featuring all 13 episodes).
Joining Mori for the anime series was well known character/mechanical designer Yutaka Izubuchi ("RahXephon") who wrote the screen composition, character designs by Jun Shibata ("Ninja Nonsense", "Dokkoida?!"), mechanical design by Yoshinori Sayama ("Mobile Suit Gundam UC", "Patlabor" movies, "RahXephon") and music by Shiro Sagisu ("Bleach", "Evangelion" re-build films, "Kimagure Orange Road", "Megazone 23", "Nadia - Secret of Blue Water").
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"The Skull Man" is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen. The animation by BONES is fantastic. The artists did a great job in creating the world of Otomo City and the fact that every episode, there are literally difference scenery instead of rehash or reusing scenery. Painted backgrounds emphasize the character designs by Jun Shibata. Character and mechanical designs are well-done! If Sentai Filmworks plans to get into Blu-ray in the future, this is one title that I would love to see on HD.
As for the audio audio is presented in Japanese 2.0. For a more immersive soundtrack, I chose to have my home theater receiver set with stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape. But for the most part audio is clear and understandable.
Subtitles are in English.
"The Skull Man - The Complete Series" comes with the following special features:
* Skull Man Japanese Promos - Several Japanese promotions for the "The Skull Man". * Trailers - Sentai Filmworks trailers
Suspense, mystery and action rolled up into one! "The Skull Man" is a riveting anime series that is dark, captivating! The anime series is also the prequel to Shotaro Ishinomori's "Cyborg 009' series.
I absolute enjoyed "The Skull Man". There was no need for the series to be stretched out past 13 episodes, the storyline was tightly paced and every episode just pulling you in and literally making you want to watch more and more. The ending is the true payoff and I have to admit, I was shocked.
Both director Takeshi Mori and series writer Yutaka Izubuchi really took the character and the series into a different direction from the manga series and I definitely was not expecting the connection to Ishinomori's "Cyborg 009".
In some way, viewers can see "The Skull Man" being similar to what the first three movies of the "Star Wars" films were (hint: Anakin->Darth Vader). The question is, with this latest re-imagining of the "Skull Man", it's going to be interesting to see if BONES continues with a new "Cyborg 009" or viewers need to track down the older anime series. I have no doubt that with the way "The Skull Man" ends, fans are probably hoping to get a new "Cyborg 009". I know that I am and I hope they do it.
"The Skull Man" DVD contains all 13-episodes of the series. The live action episode zero is not included in this set. The complete set is actually a pretty good deal as in Japan, viewers had to purchase each volume (with only two episodes) for over $50 on DVD. But granted, each Japanese volume came with a large number of special features while this complete set only comes with the Japanese promotional videos. But viewers are getting all 13-episodes for a very good price.
Overall, "The Skull Man" is definitely a thrilling anime series from beginning to end. A solid storyline especially for those familiar with Ishinomori's work, well-written, interesting characters, very good character design and awesome artistic backgrounds. "The Skull Man" is Definitely recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vengeance!June 3 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Skull Man, the origins of my favorite Japanese import Kamen Rider. This anime is a loose adaptation of the Skull Man manga one-shot that Shotaro Ishinomori created in 1970 while working on the development of Kamen Rider. Kamen Rider used Skull Man as a basis while toning down the dark and gruesome story.
The main character of this anime is Hayato Mikogami, a journalist who has returned to his hometown to investigate the rumors of a man with a skull mask who killed an actress. A young photographer, Kiriko Mamiya, is constantly tagging along with Hayato after they meet on the train. Over the course of the story, he follows the connections of the victims, a religious sect, half human beasts that roam the streets at night, and the identity of the Skull Man.
The story is very suspenseful throughout, and the pacing is very good but it can be a little fast at times. I was hooked from beginning to end, loving every moment of it. The twists really helped to keep me intrigued by what was going to happen next.
This series was done by BONES, who've done series such as Wolf's Rain (Which I love!) and Darker than Black, so it should be safe to say the animation to is great. It has simple, yet dark designs that fit the story and atmosphere very well. The monsters are nicely done as well. The soundtrack fits nicely enough with the feel of the series, and does what it needs to, using orchestral, noir-ish and even sometimes very dramatic pieces.
Overall, this is not only a great adaptation of Ishinomori's one-shot, but a great anime series. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a dark story, or those familiar with Ishinomori's other works, as the ending is a prologue of sorts to another of his works.
GreatDec 5 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
All was well, and were very careful with protecting my order! What gives more security to rely on next order.
great animeyDec 6 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
the dvd came like new in perfect codiction i was impressed all the way ! I love this series its story and its action and mystery!