Devil Hunter Yohko

When I see a new teen comedy coming to the local cinema, I usually run away as fast as possible. Even though I've enjoyed a few, most of them turn out to be nothing more than raunchy treatises on bad behavior and sexual misconduct. The few standout films may have these elements to some extent, but they contain characters that are genuinely likable (or, at very least, understandable). Devil Hunter Yohko is essentially a short "magical girl" version of one of these films, and at times it seems we might actually get that character development that might elevate this show. However, ultimately it turns out to be another romp through teenage sexuality without any real hint of actual emotion.

Yohko believes that she is just another 16-year-old schoolgirl. She lives with her mother, a rather brazen woman, and her grandmother, a feisty old gal who daily picks fights with them that descend into martial arts battles. Yohko's got some problems with her love life; she's enamored with one guy, but another truly desires her attention. Typical, right? But after a near-drowning incident where Yohko is attacked by a tentacled horror, her grandmother tells her that she is in line to become the 108th member of the family to become a devil hunter. She alone will have the power to stop all sorts of evil. However, until the devil hunting powers have become fully vested in her, she must remain a virgin--otherwise, she won't receive the special gifts, and the world will be doomed. Thus, all the bad guys either want to kill her or get her seduced. What a world.

Yohko is not a badly animated show; it's bright and colorful and often nicely produced. This is also quite a funny video, with lots of humor that shows that it regards itself as quite silly. Along these lines, it succeeds quite well. The music is also quite popular; at one point, a full program was dedicated to nothing but music videos from the series.

However, I've never really liked Devil Hunter Yohko, and I've never seen any of the episodes past the first. I've never felt so inclined to hunt them down. Yohko might be cute at times, but this first episode is also obsessed with sex. The fact that there's an extended (though aborted) seduction scene between a couple of minors should already give you an idea of the hijinks going on. The dialogue keeps going back to the subject as well. I don't consider myself prudish, but Yohko pushes the boundaries of what I like. It's just a step away from late night on Cinemax, and that just doesn't interest me. I don't expect others to agree with me, but that's the benefit of having one's own review site.

That's not my only beef with Yohko, though...I know it's an older show and thus more apt to have been one of the first to have the "bad people wanting to resurrect ancient evils" plotline. But man, is it old, old, old. So many shows wander aimlessly through this story concept, and Yohko falls right into the trap. I am so incredibly tired of seeing villain A exist solely to bring back old monster B to destroy the world. It wasn't new when Yohko came out, but it wasn't as immensely tired as it has become. But you're watching anime in the 21st century now, and this has become trite.

Will the reader like Devil Hunter Yohko? It's very possible. This was ADV Films' first foray into animation, and on the strength of its sales, they started a company that has grown into one of the largest import houses in the United States. So obviously, many people found the fan service sex comedy quite a lark. Even I can't argue against it too harshly; at times, it is good fun. But it's not good clean fun, and it could have been a lot more, so I can't really recommend it.

Devil Hunter Yohko -- nudity, adult situations, strong sexual content -- C+