Another short horror OVA churned out by famous animation studio “Madhouse”, “Twilight of the Dark Master” is an enjoyable if forgettable slice of gothic horror that never really steps beyond what is now cliché within the genre.
After witnessing her fiancée transform into a hulking monster and being scared to within an inch of her life, the bride to be, Sizuka, is naturally a little pissed off and becomes hell-bent on finding out just what the hell has happened to her true love.
It is during this search that Sizuka crosses paths with Tsunami Shijyo, a powerful man with seemingly magical powers and ice cold wit.
And so it’s not too long before our 2 hero’s join forces and become intertwined in a plot that involves unethical biological tests and more than the usual amount of drug-enhanced monsters.
Being someone who enjoys many of the mid-90s ‘Manga Ent.’ horror releases, this kind of short burst of cyber punk action is nothing new to me. You have the fragile pretty boy who is actually pretty damn strong, the random monster transformations that more often than not involve semi-naked women and then you have the power crazed super villain, someone who is absolutely determined to reek havoc on the entire human race.
And indeed, my main problem with Twilight of the Dark Master is that is never extends beyond the cliché and thus becomes rather dull affair.
The restrictive running time of 60 minutes certainly doesn’t help things either. Just as a few interesting characters or conflicts are introduced, they concluded in such a swift fashion as to leave you wondering if you’ve missed something. I kept getting the feeling that this was a summary of a 250 word book, highlighting only the action and ignoring the all important character development.
For what it’s worth, the monster ‘designs’ are pretty interesting and the many magical powers/techniques on display can be enjoyed by action fans. In particular, the climaxing battle between Tsunami and a massive floating monster is impressive, if just for the swiftness of its conclusion and the bad-ass dialogue.
Just as enjoyable is the final meeting between the two tragic love birds, who, to be honest, are the most interesting characters in this OVA; a tribute to their desperately broken dreams.
Essentially, they are the only characters that display a recognisable human emotion.
I would recommend Twilight of the Dark Master to only the most hardcore of horror genre fans. It’s just not worth your time otherwise. Indeed, as a fairly large horror/cyber punk fan myself, I recommend you first check out “Wicked City”, “Cyber City Odeo 808” and “Devil Man” before filtering down to strictly below par titles like this. Disappointing.