Lurkers' Retreat
Manga
Manga Video
MANV 1186 Dub

Cert 15

Shadow Skill

The cover blurb places the story in an undefined time in a war-torn town somewhere, then launches into the usual Manga blurb about people living on the knife-edge helped only by their skills or somesuch. It's a wonder anyone can be paid to write that stuff because nobody believes it anymore!

For what it is worth, yes it is based in towns that look like bombs hit big time, and it all seems to concern the fate of a girl, Ella, who adopted a boy, Gau, some years before the opening of the story and have been fighting ever since. By that, I mean that Gau, whose parents were killed by some bandits before Ella found him, is being trained up by Ella in the Karuda martial arts. The story follows a similar path to a lot of these martial arts/revenge/training stories, so to say anything more would be a real spoiler.

Mangle strikes again with another brainless beat 'em up. The animation is reasonable, the dubbing laughable and the story over in an instant as fight scene after fight scene are strung together a la Fist of the North Star and others. If the succeeding episodes that are promised improve on this, I'll gladly eat my stars, but this is a real lump of dross as it is. It tries to draw on pseudo-history and pseudo-mythology to mask its inadequacies, but the charas have no compassion, no real life, and nothing to endear them to the viewer. Add to that the shoddy hand-drawn (and not original) front cover and you have a video that may be worth watching once for the experience, but is hardly a hit in the making.

[2 stars]

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