Darkside Blues (1994) poster

Darkside Blues (1994)


Japan. 1994.


Director – Nobuyasa Furukawa, Screenplay – Masayori Sekichima, Story – Yuko Ashibe & Hideyuki Kihuchia, Producers – Tomohisa Abe & Masako Fukuyo, Photography – Akihiko Takahashi, Music – Kazukiro Toyama, General Animation Director – Hiroshi Hamazaki, Animation Supervisors – Tetsuro Aoki & Shinya Takahashi, Art Direction – Senri Sunakawa. Production Company – Toho/Akita. Shoten/J.C. Staff.


(English Language Version): Kathleen Kern (Selia), Rachel Nanstad (Mai), Matthew Harrington (Darkside), Peter Patrikios (Tatsuya), Scott Cargle (Kenzo), Stacia Crawford (Tamaka Hazuki), John Avner (Guren), Rachel Lillis (Old Woman)


In the future, the Persona Century corporation owns 90% of the Earth and rules with a ‘benevolent dictatorship’. However, a group of rebels in one of the few free areas of the world in Japan conduct a series of attacks designed to bring Persona Century down. They are joined by a mysterious stranger who arrives from another dimension in a horse-drawn carriage and chooses the name Darkside. Darkside has the strange abilities to take people to a hotel where the rooms reveal their innermost places. His abilities may be what offers the rebels the upper hand against Persona Century.

Darkside Blues is an anime film adapted from a manga that appeared for two issues in 1988.

The comes with a promisingly ornate Gothicism. There are images to it – that of the mysterious supernatural figure of Darkside who arrives by an inter-dimensional horse-drawn carriage that rides through the sky; and the Mirage Hotel, a building in the city where rooms open into an illusion that is one’s innermost secret – that are striking. In these moments, the film suggests something of the Gothic baroque of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels.

Unfortunately, Darkside Blues has a plot that is very difficult to follow. We are never told anything about the central character of Darkside. Nor is much explained about the background of the future, like who the terrorists are. The story starts in with a half-naked girl being tortured – but we are never ever sure why or what her relationship to the torturer is.

Moreover, the story only arrives at an inconclusive end in regard to the terrorists’ struggle against their corporate oppressors. The effect is akin to reading a trilogy starting with the middle book and trying to piece the plot strands together from partial information.

Trailer here

Full film available online here:-

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