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 Post subject: Dark Shell
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2008, 7:00 pm 
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Location: Trier, Germany
I was lured into this two-episodes OVA after seeing some artwork and I thought it might be not bad. Oh, how wrong I was!
This is just another title that tries to surround itself with an air of psychological elaborations and philosophy, and, as usual, fails.

If I got the background story right, something went wrong in the history of Japan after WWII and the land was divided, there are people in green uniforms and people in brown uniforms, and they're all Japanese.

During the course of the show we follow a small group of green soldiers who are escorting five young women on their way back through enemy urban territory to their own lines. But they have a strange way of dealing with the situation, raping the civilian women in their custody one after another and the only female soldier among them is a nympho who doesn't mind and wants her share.

The psychological factor sets in when the youngest male soldier, whose name I cannot remember, faces his own incapability when his senior rapes the girl, a classmate maybe, whom he actually loves. Out of frustration the boy goes mad and violates one of the girls who happens to be another classmate. The implied message: War makes beasts out of people!
Hoohoo, tell me something original.

The main psycho factor comes in the form of a sniper, and it is clear from the start that it's a woman. If it was a man the sniper wouldn't be wearing a grey cloak that conceals her head (but which is of no use as a ghillie suit). This sniper shoots anyone who, well, crosses her cross-hair, with no regard to the targets being civilians or combattants - one of the girls is raped, steps outside and is being shot right in the skull. Better off dead, I'd say.

The civilian women have no wish to remain with them, but the green soldiers keep to the twisted logic to hold the women back and argue there was a sniper out there who'd shoot them on sight - positively speaking, this is indeed a dilemma, because it asks the question whether, as a woman, you'd rather take the risk of being shot, or whether you'd choose to be raped. I'll give it a point, honoris causa, for that.

There are several flashbacks, and in the end you conclude that these are the memories of the sniper, who suffered a great deal at the hands of the greens, yay. The end holds another surprise about the characters, but the motivation of the sniper to shoot innocent civilians has never become clear to me.

I'd say it's a "weak" title, in ANN rating terms, that is not convincing in its attempt at a story with deep topics, but the graphical element is very good, including very good character designs and very explicit depictions, and the voice acting is at least not bad.

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