Bio Hunter is a Madhouse film from the mid 90s based off of a manga by Fujihiko Hosono. Madhouse has a bit of a mixed history with horror themed anime in general. They worked on Blade, which was okay. Death Parade, which was fantastic and Highschool of the Dead, which remains among the worst anime I’ve ever seen. So, this anime could end up anywhere on the spectrum.
We open with a couple having sex. She seems disinterested and just wants something to eat. Guys, if your partner responds like that, I’m sorry but you need to work on your technique. Maybe communicate a little and find out what they would like you to do. But this nameless dude is an asshole so he doesn’t even think of that. Then her body breaks out into little faces and one of them rips his hand off.
We cut to a Professor doing a lecture while one of his students writes flirty messages to him. He and one of his colleagues are called by a bunch of shady looking people and they find the girl from before chained up and covered in little faces. Which renders the opening sex scene entirely pointless. Because everything important about it is reiterated in this scene. It turns out the Professors are involved in fighting against the so-called “Demon’s Virus” by using medicines and the infection suffered by one of them.
Here’s my first question, if they have medicines that can treat this then why does one of our protagonists have it? They never cover that in the film. They don’t even give us a throwaway line about how “his is too advanced” or something. We can have an entirely pointless sex scene but we can’t cover an important plot detail like that? Are you fucking kidding me?
But the narrative issues don’t end there. We have plenty of other things that just aren’t cohesive. For example, we spot a group of thugs trying to capture a young girl so they can find out where her grandfather is and, not five minutes later, they run her car off the road in an attempt at killing her. So, if they need her for information why would they do that? And if they don’t, then why bother her in the first place when all it does is draw attention to themselves? Did no one proof read this?
Then we have the effort at connecting science with fortune telling. Now, there’s a reason most writers use either magical elements or real science but not both because it’s difficult to justify magic using science and most people can’t pull it off. Bio Hunter is a primary example. Particularly when they meet the fortune teller and try to justify his craft as him “reading genomes” which is exceptionally stupid. Oh, and our infected scientist has the lamest possible way of detecting other infected. He tears up. You think he gets false positives if his mind wanders and he thinks about something sad? You think the Beast Wars episode Code Of Hero has just popped into his head and left him wondering whether he was tearing up because of that or because of the virus being present in someone else nearby?
The characters in this are a bit shite just in general. Koshigaya is just kind of a twat. Komada is one of those super angsty characters who we never really see in another mode so it has no impact when he actually has some reason to be upset. He’s not as bad as Shinji in that regard. He’s a bit more subdued about it, but it’s still terrible writing. The antagonist is just evil.
Then we have Sayaka. I want to talk about her a bit because she is indefensibly vapid. This is a character who finds herself in a car that’s going over a cliff, wakes up and never really questions why she and the other people are completely unharmed. Or why one of the guys doesn’t have a shirt anymore. Does she just assume that he was exposed to gamma radiation and transformed? Except instead of the Incredible Hulk he’s the Incredible Disappointment. His parents were right the whole time. In all seriousness, this isn’t something anyone, even a complete moron, would just accept. You were quite literally tossed off of a cliff in a car that’s now a fiery wreck. This is something we need a lengthy scene addressing. You can scrap that pointless sex scene for it.
The film doesn’t look good, frankly. A lot of the animation is just lazy, especially when it comes to conversational scenes. They can’t even be bothered to put any real effort into syncing the lip movements, when they actually have them, to the dialogue. The action sequences aren’t anything great either. They’re just generally boring. 3×3 Eyes looks much more impressive and it started airing four years before this. And strong artwork is usually something that Madhouse works have, even when they’re kind of shit, except for the aforementioned Highschool of the Dead which is overly focused on trying to arouse teenage boys and for this which isn’t that bad but is very low effort.
About the best thing I can say for the film is that they got some capable actors. I know that Seki Toshihiko can be good. I know that Inoue Kazuhiko can be good. I know that Minaguchi Yuko can be good. I’ve heard them all deliver strong performances. They don’t in this. In this they just sound like they don’t give a shit. Which I can’t really blame them for. I don’t think the greatest actors in the world could take this script and sound invested. Amano Masamichi’s soundtrack isn’t bad. It’s just kind of mediocre. Which still makes it the strongest element of the film, sadly.
There isn’t any. Which is fine because what little romance they try to develop is pretty awful.
Bio Hunter is a really bad film The script is a mess. The characters are annoying. Even the artwork, animation and acting are weak. And it’s not even executed in such a way that it’s at least entertaining to watch just to poke fun at. Ultimately, I give it a 2/10 and I’m tempted to go lower but I don’t think it’s that horrible. I do not recommend it.