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Crying Freeman
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 09/13/2003

Synopsis:
Yoh Hinomura was an up and coming pottery artist when a Chinese mafia organization called the 108 Dragons ensnared him. Since then, Yoh has been trained to become the 108 Dragons' most skilled and feared assasin -- Crying Freeman. Every time Freeman kills, he sheds tears for the life he takes. A young woman named Emu Hino catches sight of Freeman in one of his assassination attempts and immediately becomes enamored with him. Freeman is instructed to terminate Emu as not to leave any witnesses, but Emu seduces him and they become lovers instead...
 
Review:
Like almost every other mafia-related show, Crying Freeman is characterized by lots of good old-fashioned sex and violence. I must admit though, I was rather taken by the series' premises -- how one man who seems doomed to be a lone killing machine manages to find love and redemption in the arms of a woman who hails from a totally different world.
 
Crying Freeman starts off nice and solid. Our main characters Freeman and Emu are established, and we are drawn deeply into the development of their relationship. Freeman and Emu complement each other so perfectly that the 108 Dragons soon accept Emu as Freeman's wife and part of the organization. What's more, leadership of the organization is eventually passed on to the young couple... which brings us to our first major plot conflict. If you take Freeman's account of how he ended up with the 108 Dragons, you'd get the impression that he's with them because he got coerced into it and someday he'd want to escape their clutches. It's just plain weird how he ended up being the leader of the organization by the second episode... and he seems to actually like it too.
 
After Freeman assumes leadership of the 108 Dragons, the episodes that follow do nothing more but show us various conflicts the 108 Dragons get into with other mafia organizations. Freeman gets involved with an African group, a Russian group, a religious cult, and so forth. It was disappointing how the series weakened as it progressed. In one episode, Freeman aids a Chinese mafia leader when his family is kidnapped. As it turns out, the mastermind is a woman who's obssessed with Freeman. She wants Freeman's body because she saw him killing somebody when she was a teen and she has never forgotten him since. As a result, she's naked for more than half of the episode... masturbating while watching Freeman, moaning and groaning like a sick animal, etc. It's so... stupid. Such a pity that a series with enormous potential had to be reduced to this.
 
Another strange thing about Crying Freeman is how almost every major character has a penchant for taking their clothes off. Be it Emu, Freeman, their huge female relative Bayasan, or even their enemies... it seems as if nobody in this series can fight or carry on their missions with clothes on so they just have to strip. Then there's the sex. Freeman has lots of sex. With his wife, his enemies, his allies... whenever there's an eligible female, there will surely be sex. It got to a point that I felt the writers were doing it on purpose, trying to find some reason to have the characters screw around in every episode like it was a necessity.
 
In terms of art and animation, Crying Freeman's visuals are quite good but come off as dated and inconsistent. In some episodes Freeman would come off as strikingly handsome, while in others he'd be no more than ordinary. The same is true for the other characters. Although a lot of the action scenes are pretty exciting to watch, there is some degree of stiffness and a general lack of fluidity. Blood, violence, nudity, and sex are portrayed graphically although you never really get to see the lower genital areas. The English dubbing is done well enough, and perhaps my only complaint is how different the English dialogues are from the subtitles.
 
Crying Freeman had a good thing going; it's just too bad that the momentum was lost in the middle of the series. Despite its shortcomings however, it is still all in all an above average series. Worth checking out if you like sex and violence within the context of an intelligible plot.
 
Miscellanies:
This series spans six episodes, each of which is nearly an hour long.

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Crying Freeman
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Review Title:
Crying Freeman
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
6
Duration:
300 Minutes
General Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1988-1994
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Genres:
Action, Adventure, Drama,
Martial Arts
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