- The Return of Kato 11/1/2005 12:00:00 AM by bobgray2000
For those very few of you who have seen "Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis" (or the more renowned anime version "Doomed Megalopolis") and enjoyed it, you might be interested in seeking out this continuation of the story. Apparently IMDb got things mixed up here, and they're displaying the "Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis" cover in the section for "Teito Taisen" ("Tokyo: The Last War"), which is the official sequel to the aforementioned movie. Somebody needs to fix this quick! Right now, I'm reviewing "Tokyo: The Last War", not "Last Megalopolis".
Alright, I admit that this film has not been subtitled, and I don't understand Japanese. So how do I know what's going on in here? Repeated viewings and lots of translated summaries. However, even if you don't know Japanese, this film has just enough action and scenery to make it worthwhile.
The story starts out at the end of World War II. Tokyo lies in ruins due to repeated fire-bombings from the American army. However, one surviving magic-user brings together a new group of mystics. His plan is to "turn defeat into victory" by using spiritual psychic powers to assassinate the evil world leaders from a distance (I know Hitler's involved). Unfortunately, the surge of spiritual energy along with the repeated horror of all those who endured the nightmare of the fire-bombings, rouses up all the souls of the dead, whose resentment and anger come together and revive...Yasunori Kato. Now it's up to a young apprentice of the psychic magic user to stop Kato before the evil sorcerer ruins their plans for victory. Kato also seems intent on torturing and gaining revenge on Yukiko (his "daughter" from the previous story), whose all grown-up now and works as a nurse in a hospital.
It should be noted that this is the only film that I've seen that Takagise Ichise (the producer of "Ringu", "Ju-On", and "Dark Water") directed, and it definitely shows in the style. "Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis" was going for an exotic fantasy atmosphere, while this movie aims to be more of a dark and gory horror movie. The silly creatures that Kato summoned in the original film have been completely dumped here. The only magic he really uses in this movie is throwing stuff around with psychic energy like Darth Vader. He even acts differently, coming off more like a slow-moving and leering "Terminator" rather than the more dynamic way he was portrayed in the original. Strangely enough, the sets aren't as varied as they were in "Last Megalopolis" either. Everything's dark and brooding, putting a greater emphasis on the grim historical setting. The beginning of the film felt like a docudrama or just some historical war movie. It's not until Kato arrives that the film begins to explore it's fantasy roots more.
I liked this movie. The story is easily more comprehensible than its predecessors, the characters are better defined, and the production just feels more taut this time around. But I can only enjoy it as a standalone production. When viewed as a sequel to "Last Megalopolis", it's an incredible disappointment. "Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis" was a very unique production in that it was a genre bender of a film: an epic that was equal parts fantasy, horror and historical fiction. This film feels more like some commercial horror film in a historical setting. It didn't even try to follow up the promises of its predecessor (for example, many plot threads left hanging at the end of that film are not resolved here). From an entertainment perspective, it's decent, but not in the same way.
Two years later, Rintaro would take the story of "Last Megalopolis" and the dark atmosphere of this film and make the anime "Doomed Megalopolis". Ironically, since the atmosphere between the latter production and "Last War" is more consistent, "Last War" serves as a better sequel to the anime than "Last Megalopolis".