Tokko Volume 1 (DVD)

Tokko Volume 1 DVD (click for larger image)Directed by Masashi Abe

Distributed by Starz Media

Five years ago in Machida, Tokyo all sorts of nasty Hell broke loose; demons from beyond crawled out of a giant crater leaving few survivors in their wake. Now, those who watched as their loved ones and friends were slaughtered are being hunted down by a strange force that only the Tokko squad can handle.

Not being much of an Anime fan, I was unsure of what to make of Tokko. The animation style isn’t very fluid or articulated like fancier films and each installment lacks detailed character models but there’s just something about it that made me come back episode after episode. Pinning down the exact reason is tough. The story itself is not what appears to be driving the need to watch each episode. The inter-dimensional demon idea is kind of interesting, but it is delivered so slowly to the viewer that it almost becomes an after-thought with everything else that is going on. It doesn’t seem to be the gore either because that just sort of gets old. Sure people are torn up or shot; yet, there’s not a whole lot of variety. The blood does spray beautifully as if were coming from some sort of wicked fire hose, and that makes for some awesome viewing. Don’t let these negatives sway you though. Tokko has a huge positive thanks to a healthy dose of laughs. Let’s take a look at what is offered up.

Tokko Volume 1 DVD (click for larger image)Poor Ranmaru may have found his parents torn to bits, but that seems like a happy memory when compared to his dealings with his creepy younger sister. Saya loves to walk around their apartment half naked, showing off her body and even offering to take a bath with her older brother. Finally! An Anime aimed towards Americans who live in the South! All this creepiness and there was not a single damn tentacle involved. The brother/sister interaction is a very humorous aspect, and that is followed up by better ones like Ranmaru’s tattoo. It isn’t really a tattoo but a symbiote living inside him. By the design of the mark on his arm it is obvious that trans-dimensional demons are in love with the tacky, overused fad known as tribal. At least they didn’t infest him with a heart, unicorn or butterfly on the lower back. What do you call a guy with a tramp stamp?

The best bits of comedy come from Ranmaru’s boss, Chief Kaoru Kunikida. An investigation division of any police force wouldn’t be complete without a hot-headed leader for all the investigators to answer to. The Chief has no control over his attitude or mouth. Every single slip up or crime scene that involves the Tokko force is followed by a bombardment of colorful language and clean up duty for his underlings. Kaoru isn’t a major player in the plot, but he relieves the boring areas such as flashbacks or exposition. He orders a “fucking tank” just to take care of a few possessed humans … giving new meaning to the term “excessive force.” Kunikida also tries to take a bath with his daughter, who wasn’t too thrilled at the idea. Wait, that isn’t excessive force. That is just nasty.

Tokko Volume 1 DVD (click for larger image)Tokko has a pretty damn good English dub. Every now and then you may get an annoying female voice, like Saya’s, but as a whole the voice actors make the episodes work. Saya’s a bit like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon that makes your ears ring, but then again she seems to fit the part. The other voice actors appeared to like the material and no doubt had fun with it. How couldn’t you when there is so much swearing, incest and nastiness in each episode?

The special features of Volume 1 are far from things to write home about. Purists will enjoy that there is also a Japanese dub and a video from a forum that the cast participated in. The same could be said for the opening and closing theme songs: Anime freaks will be pleased but those of us who aren’t avid fans of the genre may just brush it off as fluff. What is lacking here is a peek at the next volume since there are 8 more episodes to go. After Episode 5 the viewer is given a very short glimpse at the next installment but it hardly reveals anything. The story builds up to some interesting plot points but leaves the audience hanging without so much as a tiny tease at what is to come. Hurry up with the next volume!

It was hard to prepare for all the stuff Tokko was going to unleash on this reviewer. What looked like a dark and moody Anime turned out to be more of a laugh-riot instead of a horrific splatter attraction. There is plenty of blood to spare, no doubt, but the humor of this series makes it all seem a little more lighthearted and fun.

Special Features
Cast forum excerpt
Tokko theme song
Tokko closing song
Image gallery
DVD ROM: Screensaver


3 out of 5

Special Features:

3 out of 5

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Mike Phalin

Mike Phalin is a contributing writer, reality television star and engineer.