Okay, so I really can’t talk about much of the plot without revealing a lot of what is revealed over this 13 episode anime. But I’ll say what I can. Hayato Mikogami is a journalist, sent back to his hometown of Otomo to investigate the mysterious killings committed by the notorious Skull Man. Hayato is followed by an curious and rambunctious photographer, Kiriko Mamiya. The two of them together, over the course of an all too short show, uncover the mysteries and secrets that lie under this dark town.
And that’s about all I can say. I watched this with my friend and we thought, “Hey. This’ll be pretty badass. It’s an anime about a man with a skull for a head.” I know what you’re thinking. I thought it too. Japanese Ghost Rider. Turns out not. I’m a real sucker for Ghost Rider, and I guess you could consider this an equivalent.
The show starts of kind of slow. But that all ends about six episodes in. After about episode 7, every episode becomes nonstop discovery and thrills. There’s one scene in episode 6 that surprised me so much I came close to crapping my pants. You really don’t know what to expect when it comes to this show, so when something happens, it flies at you from out of left field.
After some research, I found that this wasn’t the first rendition of Skull Man. There have in fact been 2 mangas that take on a slightly different approach. The original in 1970 was a one-shot manga that told the story of Skull Man and his quest for revenge. If you look at it, Skull Man is a really dark and sinister brother to Batman. In the 1998 version, we are given the Skull Man’s rise to power through mutation experiments and his battles with evil animals. Neither of these really have anything to do with the anime. If you’re expecting that/read the mangas, I apologize.
Besides that, the anime is really quite good. It has a detective style approach with dark undertones, coupled with violence and the outrageous discovery or two. The voice actor for Skull Man is great, and it’s really enhanced by the lines from Hamlet that end every episode and the theatrical judgment laced lines that Skull Man delivers. You don’t want it to end by the last episode, and at the same time, you want the back story. You want more. You want everything explained step by step. In a word. Hooked. You become hooked on what’s going on, and quite literally, you could watch this anime in one sitting and not be disappointed. The fight sequences and art direction are fantastic and give this great otherworldly feeling, yet tied into reality. Definitely something cast right out of the abyss. 7 out of 10.