Since I am in the mode of inserting random 1980’s ovas onto my blog posts recently, how about another one? The last one was from a very early Studio Gainax, so how about something from a younger but moving Studio Madhouse? Goku Midnight Eye comes from the directional helm of a certain prolific guy named Yoshiaka Kawajiri whose works I am missing from my own anime bingo card. I have only seen a few things from him, so it’s about time I added some more to my repertoire. Surprisingly, there seems to always be more retro anime I haven’t checked out. Here is another example of that. Thank you to CripledNerd for suggesting this one. Ummm, content warning for this one.
Goku Midnight Eye follows the very late 80’s trends in terms of anime in terms of content. It is set in a futuristic dystopia setting with lots of problems and very advanced technology. Very 1980’s. This is set in 2014 which is off by a little bit in terms of dystopia by six years. The show features an attractive, freelance detective by the name of Goku. A former cop who went rogue to dispense justice his own way for a pay check. He’s very muscular, shirtless but wears a jacket and a tie, is slightly monkey-ish in design, and in the English dub he’s voiced by Steve Blum so he’s got everything to be a heart throb. This is two-episode ova with each episode having a run time of 50 minutes each. So basically, it’s a two-hour watch. In my opinion, I think it’s worth the time.
So yes, Goku is a very classic cyberpunk kind of detective personality wise. What makes him different is his eye and the magic stick that he carries. Somehow, he follows some aspect of Journey to the West by being given an invincible metallic stick that extends to an infinite length. Don’t mind me though, I only got that knowledge by watching and reading the original Dragon Ball. He also has an eye that can connect to any network and satellite on the planet which can cause untold amounts of damage if he wanted to. Lucky that he’s a good guy. Character wise, he’s easily a detached and mysterious person until he gets involved in the cases in this OVA because of attractive female characters. He’s a fun combo of characteristics.
The first case or episode is where Goku acquires his new gadgets. It starts with the deaths of his former police teammates supposedly by suicide. Of course, this isn’t the case. Hired by his last remaining former coworker, Yoko, to investigate the crime itself, this case leads him to a crime lord by the name of Haruko. A crime lord of very interesting tastes in women like one which hypnosis powers with peacock feathers after they take their clothes off or a woman combined with a motorcycle. I wasn’t expecting those, but I’m somewhat new to the concept of 80’s OVAS it seems. A decent mystery with some unique uses of the powers Goku has been provided after not being shocked by them. But then who wouldn’t want an eye that can hack into any computer, network, or whatever in the world?
In a somewhat classic story with a twist or two, Goku follows a woman by the name of Ryoko (which is a very lazy name considering the woman’s name from the first part) who insists that her brother is still alive. The proof for all of this comes from the fact that Goku can track all information cross the planet, but can’t find anything on him. So with that fact, you can guess what this story comes to, right? The brother not being the same he used to be in a cyber punk sort of way instead of science experiment sort of way and on the run. This is a story that show’s how far Goku’s capabilities with his eye have grown and how compassionate he can be. The weirdness is there a bit, but not any that feels out of place.
I’ve been thinking about the visuals of this ova for a little bit and I think this OVA just looks great. The shadow work is great, the character designs are interesting, the settings are on various places in city streets and very basic insides of buildings, but the shadow work and visual direction amplifies all of that. Same with the animation itself. There isn’t a lot of over the top animation on this one. It’s very subdued and very well detailed which works to make the environment feel much more realistic and believable. Great mechanical design for vehicles and machines, great character animation and fight scenes, and everything in general. I wonder what Goku Midnight Eye would look like on Blu-Ray.
This series was a good, fun watch. Goku Midnight Eye does have some mature content and doesn’t treat the women that show up in this ova exceedingly well. I mean they all die, but those incidents never felt overly hateful or angry to me. Very subdued like a lot of aspects in Goku Midnight Eye. I suppose you can say that aspect is a part of the noir genre which is an excuse that can be used if you want to. This series is a breeze of a watch, will keep you interested in it all the way through, and will give you some interesting things to think about. One could say that this is underrated and I would agree with that. At least this is out there on a lot of platforms that can be watched anywhere. At least in North America.