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ADVENTURES IN ANIMATION: 'Art of Fighting'

by Eli Kroes

The realm of 'adult' animation is an interesting one. For a lot of people, it begins and ends with the Adult Swim channel or 'The Simpsons.' Some associate the genre with gross-out borderline-porn flicks like 'Fritz the Cat.' To be sure, this is only a small chunk of the animation that's not intended for children. In fact, the earliest cartoons were meant for an adult audience, and there is a lengthy list of terrific animated features you don't have to be twelve to enjoy. 'Adventures in Animation' will feature reviews of such films... 

'Art of Fighting' - 1993, Directed by Hiroshi Fukutomi

If the traditional Christmas animation stuff bores you, here's another low-rent anime OVA to check out. 

First off, 'Art of Fighting' is a cartoon based on a video game. Usually things are the other way around, and films/shows/books/etc. built around video games are often quite silly by definition. This one is no different, and you can expect a whole lot of cheese here.

At just under 50 minutes, you won't be wasting much time on the film even if you find it too stupid for enjoyment. I, however, was pretty entertained throughout. 

Ryo and Robert Garcia are two friends who apparently run a karate dojo, although they pretty much only talk about it. Garcia is the heir to a large fortune, so he doesn't really have to 'work' anyhow. Ryo, on the other hand, has to do odd jobs to cover the bills, including finding lost cats, which he is engaged in as the film begins.

It should also be noted that Garcia is the suitor of Ryo's sister, which makes Ryo a loser for hanging out with his sister's boyfriend, or so Garcia constantly reminds him. Though they constantly bicker, when a fight comes up, they both seem to know exactly what to do, which often includes bouncing each other around to avoid large falls.

Basically, the two end up in a random apartment trying to catch a cat and stumble into a diamond heist gone wrong. When the thugs can't locate said diamond, they assume Ryo and Robert have taken it, and put out numerous hits on the two.

There's also an obnoxious and high-strung police chief who doesn't have any lead beyond Ryo and Robert in the diamond theft, so he bothers them too. Eventually, Ryo's sister is kidnapped, and they must fight EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the diamond-stealing squad to get her back.

Silly stuff, like I said, but it's fast-paced and often humorous (sometimes unintentionally.) There are also plenty of grenades that don't hurt anyone, and Garcia's ridiculous ponytail. All in all, a 'classic' of the anything-goes era of anime.

Though to my knowledge this film is out of print, you can check it out below:


Photo by Animation Stuff.