Doomed Megalopolis (帝都物語 Teitō Monogatari?) is an anime rendition of the Japanese literary epic Teito Monogatari (Hiroshi Aramata). It was released by Toei in 1991 as a 4-part OVA. In 1999, ADV Films gained the rights to the anime and released it on a four-volume cassette series in the US, under the title Doomed Megalopolis. In 2001, ADV re-released the entire series on a 2-Disc DVD edition. However, the release contained Streamline's dubbed releases and did not have an optional Japanese soundtrack or any special features. As such, ADV gathered the rights to the original Japanese voices, and in 2003, re-released an enhanced version entitled Doomed Megalopolis: Special Edition, wherein the Japanese language option was available and many other features were added. In the context of the cinematic adaptations, the anime could be considered a remake of its live-action predecessor, Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis, since it covers exactly the same plot.
The plot concerns a spiritual battle within Tokyo during the early 20th century.
Episode 1: "The Haunting of Tokyo"
The story begins in 1908, with a narrative concerning the state of the expanding city of Tokyo. The narrator tells the tale of how Taira no Masakado went against the Emperor and was executed for his crimes. However, his hatred for the new capital of Edo has left a curse that persists in the city to this day. The setting moves forward a few years. Two figures appear in Tokyo at exactly the same time. One is Yasumasa Hirai, an Onmyoji of the Tsuchimikado Family who has come to give advice to Eiichi Shibusawa as to how to make Tokyo blessed and successful. The other figure is Yasunori Kato, an evil Onmyoji who wishes to destroy Tokyo completely to appease his ancestors. Kato plans to do this by awakening the raging spirit of Taira no Masakado as a weapon to demolish the city. To do this, he kidnaps a young girl (Yukari Tatsumiya), who is blessed with some "unusual spiritual power", to use as a medium for Masakado's spirit. Hirai discovers this and attempts to stop the evil fiend and save Yukari through his own magic. Unfortunately, the two Onmyoji at first seem too equally matched and their battles keep ending is stalemates. Finally Hirai takes the fight to his temple, where he and his followers protect Yukari with the purification ceremony. However, despite the collaboration of all these individuals against the dark Onmyoji, Kato still manages to outwit Hirai through his own powerful magics. With Hirai defeated, Kato escapes with Yukari.
Episode 2: "The Fall of Tokyo"
The episode starts off with, what appears to be Kato injecting some demonic seed into Yukari's body via black magic. Kato attempts to employ Yukari's body as a median to awaken Masakado's spirit. However, Masakado rejects the offer, and Kato is once again put at a loss. However, as he views into Yukari's body, he realizes that his magic has been successful, and he has impregnated her with what he believes to be his child. He leaves, planning to return when the child is of suitable age. Hirai's followers find Yukari and deliver her back to her brother's home. Yukari's brother, Yoichiro Tatsumiya, is left with such mixed emotions for Yukari, that he unfortunately expresses his love for her through a blatant act of incest. In the meantime, Hirai sacrifices himself to perform one final act of divination which foretells the year of Tokyo's destruction—the year of the boar. Ten years later, Yukari's daughter, Yukiko Tatsumiya, is now a young girl. Kato decides to strike and kidnaps the girl in her own home. However, his job isn't as easy as last time, as a myriad of defenders are ready for his coming. Kato must contend with many challenges which weaken him considerably before he approach Masakado's grave and invokes the tyrant's spirit through the body of Yukiko. Masakado reacts violently by neutralizing Kato—however the spiritual energy released from this encounter has also awakened the Underground Dragon, whose violent undulations result in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, wherein most of Tokyo is decimated and many innocent lives are lost.
Episode 3: "The Gods of Tokyo"
While rebuilding Tokyo, plans are made to erect a subway system which will modernize the city. Eiichi Shibusawa employs the talents of Torahiko Terada, a physicist and scientist in the field of Earthquake Studies, to help oversee construction and plot out the project. But with the reconstruction of Tokyo comes Kato's revival. Infiltrating the construction sites for the subway tunnel, Kato employs shikigami and spiritual apparitions to hold the workers at bay while he focuses on a more important task: the second awakening of the Underground Dragon. Shibusawa calls in a Feng Shui expert (Shigemaru Kuroda), who pinpoints the source of these disturbances to foreign magic that is undermining the balance of the earth. Since the construction workers are too frightened to continue their work, Terada decides that different action must be taken. He enlists the help of Makoto Nishimura to use his robot, Gakutensoku, to clear out the disturbances which have put a stop to the project. Terada reasons that since Gakutensoku is inhuman, he can't be tricked by psychic apparitions that would terrify normal men. Meanwhile, a beautiful young shrine maiden by the name of Keiko Mekata, has been summoned by Masakado's spirit to fight Kato. She catches the eye of Yoichiro Tatsumiya, who falls in love with her. The two then marry, and Keiko is initiated into the Tatsumiya household. As a member of the Tatsumiya household, Keiko can provide spiritual protection for the family from the inside. Kato, still unable to rouse the Underground Dragon through his own magics, decides to kidnap Yukiko and use her as a sacrifice. After a battle at the Tatsumiya household, Keiko pursues Kato underground. While contending with Keiko, Kato is distracted and doesn't notice the efforts of Gakutensoku, who arrives at the "heart" of the Underground Dragon and self-destructs. This throws the spiritual energy veins into disarray, releasing Yukiko and foiling Kato's plan. Finally, Keiko uses Masakado's power to banish him to the underworld.
Episode 4: "The Battle for Tokyo"
After the dragon under the city had been relieved so to speak Kato found another tool for his destruction. The dark Onmyoji employs all his powers to shift the path of the moon so that the force of its gravity will destroy Tokyo. Wounded by Keiko, he has retreated to a small wooden temple on the outskirts of Tokyo. Keiko receives spiritual aid Kuroda and Masakado and sets off to destroy Kato once and for all. Instead of fighting him however, she sacrifices herself by transforming into the bodhisattva Kwannon and embracing him, which eliminates the anger of the dead souls and appeasing the curse. The anime ends with a quote by Koda Rohan, who hopes Tokyo will find peace for the time being.
|Character||Japanese version||English version|
|Junichi Narutaki||Kōichi Yamadera||Cam Clarke|
|Katō Yasunori||Kyusaku Shimada||Jeff Winkless|
|Hirai Yasumasa||Goro Naya||Mike Reynolds|
|Nishimura Makoto||Kan Tokumaru||Clifton Wells|
|Yoichiro Tatsumiya||Kaneto Shiozawa||Kerrigan Mahan|
|Yukari Tatsumiya||Keiko Han||Joan-Carol O'Connell|
|Kamo||Ken Yamaguchi||Kirk Thornton|
|Kuroda Shigemaru||Kenichi Ogata||Steve Kramer|
|Amano Junkichi||Kōichi Kitamura||Ed Mannix|
|Terada Torahiko||Naoki Tatsuta||Steve Bulen|
|Shibusawa Eiichi||Osamu Saka||Michael Forest|
|Hayakawa||Takaya Hashi||Michael McConnohie|
|Keiko Tatsumiya||Yōko Asagami||Barbara Goodson|
|Koda Rohan||Yūsaku Yara||Sam Fontana|
Differences from Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis, the former live-action version
The main director of the anime, Rintaro claimed to have been helplessly inspired by both of the previous live-action adaptations of Teito Monogatari (Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis and Tokyo: The Last War) while he was directing Doomed Megalopolis. He admitted that there are stylistic similarities between the adaptations. Despite some aesthetic similarities and a parallel portrayal of the villain, Yasunori Kato, in both adaptations, the plot of Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis and Doomed Megalopolis differ significantly in many areas. Below is a partial list of major changes from the plot of the live-action adaptation:
- Yoichiro Tatsumiya is given a completely different, and arguably more respectable, treatment in the live-action version. In the live-action version, Yoichiro is not apathetic towards his sister’s (Yukari Tatsumiya) plight; he makes several attempts to participate in both the defense of her and the city of Tokyo. In the live-action version, he engages in the first spiritual battle between Kato and the Tsuchimikado Clan instead of excusing himself to work. He is also responsible for the erection of the statue guardians at Nihonbashi Bridge, an important obstacle in Kato’s progress toward Masakado’s grave site. Finally he does not attempt to murder his sister at the climax of the film. Instead he valiantly goes to Masakado’s grave site by himself to use his blood to appease the anger of the raging spirit. He also is not shown to actively rape his sister, although later on in the film it is implied that they did copulate to produce Yukiko Tatsumiya. Instead of avoiding the conflict due to hatred and unfulfilled lust for his sister, his apathy is presented more from result of simple fear of contending with forces beyond his understanding as well as stress from being involved in the Tokyo Improvement Project.
- In the anime, Yasumasa Hirai explains that Kato wants to use Yukari Tatsumiya as a vessel for Masakado’s spirit because she possesses an “powerful spiritual energy”. In the live-action version, Kato wants to use Yukari Tatsumiya as a medium because she and Yoichiro are direct descendents of Masakado’s family and share the closest blood ties with the dead warlord.
- The character of Kamo (Yasumasa Hirai’s apprentice) is not present in the live-action version. Instead Koda Rohan is responsible for all the activities of Kamo in the live-action version. Likewise, nobody dies during the second battle with Kato at Masakado’s grave—both Junichi Narutaki, and Koda Rohan survive.
- In Doomed Megalopolis, the reason Kato goes into a ten year seclusion after failing to use Yukari as a medium for Masakado’s spirit is because he hopes to use her daughter, Yukiko as a medium in her place when she is older. In the live-action film version, Kato has been planning the Great Kanto Earthquake with the White Lotus society in Dalian, China for ten years and he goes to Masakado’s grave by himself to activate the power of the sleeping spirit. Yukiko is not involved in any way in this operation. Likewise Kato escapes from the Kimon Tonko spell of his own accord as opposed to being due to the intervention of Narutaki.
- The role of Junichi Narutaki is shortened in the live-action version. After the battle with Kato at Masakado’s mound, he only has one more scene where he exchanges a brief greeting with Yukari and then disappears for the rest of the film (the character is used again in the side story film Teito Monogatari Gaiden, however that entry does not occur within the same universe of Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis).
- In the live-action version, there is only one battle between Keiko Tatsumiya and Kato, and these parallel the events of the third episode of Doomed Megalopolis with some differences. The setting of the conflict is in a small ruined temple similar to the one Kato utilizes in fourth episode of the anime, as opposed to the “land of the dead”. Since there is no succeeding conflict in the live-action version, Keiko’s sacrifice (as portrayed in the fourth episode of the anime) encompasses the climax of the battle in the live-action version. It should be noted that Keiko is not actively shown “transforming” into Kwannon in the live-action version, rather her sacrifice and quelling of Kato’s spirit is implied and its significance is explained later in the film by Shigemaru Kuroda to Yoichiro.
- Kato is clearly still alive at the end of the live-action version.
- Mike Crandol (2002). "Doomed Megalopolis review" (Review). animenewsnetwork.com.
- "Doomed Megalopolis: Special Edition Review" (Review). Ign.com. 2003. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Ian Shutter (2002). "Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis review" (Review). videovista.net.
- "Teito Monogatari (1991)". Internet Movie Database. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Rintaro. (2003). Interview with Kyusaku Shimada and Rintaro from Doomed Megalopolis: Special Edition. [DVD]. ADV Films.