The Skull Man (Review)


Allright, allright.. i get it! Stalled a couple of Emulator & Game news to continue with Anime reviews. It’s funny though how i actually managed to live without watching anime for several days already. Maybe that proves i’m not at a dangerous level. =))


Today’s review is gonna be “The Skull Man”. An early masterpiece of the late Shotaro Ishinomori, Creator to world-level popular “Kamen Rider”, AstroBoy, Cyborg 009 and some other anime/manga/live-action series. It’s also recognized as the Prototype idea for Kamen Rider.

It took me 2 days to fully concentrate on watching this short series. The Skull Man is indeed NOT an average action show which focuses directly on the actions of the main hero like most typical shows do. In Fact, the story was narrated by the investigation experience of Mikogami Hayato whom will soon enough become the skullman himself.

Mystery & Mild Horror is the main element to this series, starting with what little information he has. Hayato plunged himself straight to the depths of his Independent Hometown. He is in pursue of the skullman which he heard was behind the massive murder in the Night time of Ootomo City. His investigations lead him to a dark religious organization called “Byakureikai” which is secretly controlling the city within the shadows. That is, with the help of a young female photographer “Kiroko Mamiya” whom is searching for his long-lost brother.

Ootomo City may look peaceful at daylight, but as it enters the night. Seemingly grotesque creatures starts to lurk within the town. Due to that, the towns mayor have enforced a rule that Nobody is allowed to walk outside their home at night.

They then found out that all of skullman’s murder victims were members of the Byakureikai Cult. On their way investigating, they befriended an old detective by the name “Kyoichiro Tachigi” who ended up giving them hints along the way. The old man is actually a spy sent by the Japanese Military to infiltrate the town and gather some classified information.

Hayato stops by to a familiar church and stumbles upon his old friend “Kanzaki Yoshio” who’s a Father of the church which is also the house to several orphaned childs.

“Malay Spoilers also included, Read More.”

There will be spoilers beginning this paragraph:
As strange as it seems, the ones murdered by the skullman did not look that of a human.. but a Monster instead. Though some of them were killed before having the chance to change. So Hayato & Kiriko decided to infiltrate Byakureikai’s base but ended up getting caught by Kiriko’s Brother who’s actually a member the cult. They were only thrown outside out of Kiriko’s Brother’s pity.

However, Kiriko’s reunion with his brother cut short as her brother was later killed in an operation where he disguised as the skullman. It seems that the higher-ups were intending to kill him in order to keep their secret. Eventually, the town became egulfed in a civil war when both the Japanese Military and a Mecha-Soldier syndicate “Brain Gear” cooperated to take over the town.

After some intense fight with brain gear cyborgs, it is revealed that Hayato’s longtime friend “Kanzaki” was the one who bears the dark power of the skullman. Kanzaki explained that he was given the helm of power when he was saved by the previous father of church in an incident where his family was murdered by the cult. The Skull Helm is acts as the main “Soul” of the “Being” which will be created by the Byakureikai’s sacred ritual. Ironically, Kanzaki uses this very power to battle the same evil itself.

However, Kanzaki died after bearing serious injuries for a very long time. It is now up to Hayato to finish what his friend left behind. Summary to be continued several hours later

Complete 13 episode Batch Torrent by Shinsen-Subs

Englih Version
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Malay Version

Aku bahagi 2 hari ntuk layan The Skullman sampai habis tanpa mengantuk. The skullman bukan citer aksi biasa yg seringkali fokusnya diberi terus kpd Heronya. Sebaliknya, diceritakan mengikut pengalaman penyiasatan yg dialami oleh Mikogami Hayato. Anime the skullman banyak memaparkan elemen misteri dan siasatan mengenai hal2 yg berlaku dlm Bandar Independent Ootomo. Tahap keganasan dlm siri ni tidaklah sehebat mana namun cukup untuk memuaskan penonton ataupun dgn lebih tepat lagi dikatakan berada pd tahap yg sering dipaparkan anime lama. Animasi mmg memuaskan tetapi xder apa yg luar biasa.

Cerita dimulakan dgn kepulangan Mikogami Hayato ke tempat asalnya setelah menceburkan diri dlm bidang Kewartawanan. Beliau pulang ke Ootomo dgn tujuan membongkar rahsia mengenai seorang pembunuh bertopeng yg berleluasa di bandar tersebut. Setibanya disana, Hayato mencungkil sedikit demi sedikit rahsia pembunuhan yg akhirnya membawa beliau kepada rahsia pertubuhan gelap yg dinamakan “Byakurekai”. Itupun, dgn bantuan seorang Jurugambar muda Kiriko Mamiya yg pd masa sama sdg mencari abangnya.

Bandar Ootomo kelihatan sama spt bandar2 lain pd waktu siang.. tapi apabila malam menjelang, sebuah aturan telah ditetapkan iaitu penduduk dilarang berkeliaran sama sekali tanpa pass kebenaran. Hayato dan Kirika mendapati kesemua mangsa pembunuhan oleh Skullman adalah ahli2 daripada persatuan Byakurekai. Mereka juga berkenalan dgn seorang Detektif “Kyoichiro Tachigi” yg sebenarnya merupakan seorang mata-mata yg sdg menyiasat bandar terpencil tersebut.

Hayato juga berpeluang bertemu dgn seorang rakan lama “Kanzaki Yoshio” yg bertugas sbg seorang paderi disebuah gereja yg penuh misteri… gereja tersebut yg merupakan rumah tumpangan anak2 yatim juga merupakan tempat mereka mula berkenalan semasa kecil.

Bermula daripada perenggan ini, review akan dipenuhi spoiler:
Siasatan diteruskan, mereka mendapati bahawa ahli2 Byakurekai yg dibunuh tersebut mampu mengubah diri menjadi raksasa. Lantas mereka bercadang menyelinap masuk ke dalam markas persatuan tersebut yg dikatakan tertubuh berasaskan sebuah “rahsia” tamadun lama yg digali.

Namun, mereka telah dikesan dan dihalau keluar oleh seorang petugas Byakurekai yg sebenarnya merupakan abang yg dicari-cari oleh Kiriko. Pertemuan Kiriko dgn Abangnya dipendekkan apabila abangnya yg diarahkan menyamar sbg The Skullman terbunuh dlm satu operasi yg membabitkan arahan daripada pihak atasan Byakurekai yg ingin rahsia mereka dikekalkan.

Keadaan bertambah rumit apabila berlakunya konflik dalaman diantara pihak atasan Byakurekai sendiri dan juga campur-tangan ketenteraan mecha sulit “Brain Gear” yg kini meletakkan situasi bandar Ootomo dlm keadaan huru-hara.

Apabila identiti Yoshio sbg The Skullman dibongkar sendiri oleh Hayato, segalanya menjadi semakin jelas. Yoshio terlebih dahulu diberikan Topeng the skullman oleh seorang paderi tua yg menyelamatkan beliau dlm insiden yg meragut nyawa keluarganya dahulu. Topeng the skullman tersebut merupakan sejenis artifak lama yg bertindak sbg “Jiwa” “Makhluk Baru” yg bakal dicipta oleh persatuan Byakurekai melalui Ritual yg telah diwariskan. Yoshio telah sekian lama menggunakan kuasa “jahat” tersebut untuk menangani sendiri makhluk yg tercipta melalui proses ritual gelap persatuan Byakurekai.

Hayato yg pd mulanya berperanan sbg penyiasat/pencerita akhirnya mengambil alih kedudukan sbg The Skullman apabila Yoshio tewas dlm bergelutan dgn Brain Gear yg didalangi sindiket “Black Phantasms”. Sementara keselamatan segelintir penduduk yg bebas daripada sumpahan makhluk ganas diawasi oleh Reina (salah seorang remaining bodyguard Yoshio, selain daripada abangnya Tetsuro yg dah mati. Mereka merupakan sebahagian daripada “Lost Numbers” yg merupakan “bahan experimen” yg gagal dikawal). Hayato yg kini bertindak sbg the skullman bergegas ke markas Byakurekai bagi menamatkan riwayat “makhluk” yg bakal di”lahir”kan daripada ultimate ritual. Masaki (Anak lelaki kpd Boss Byakurekai) telah berubah menjadi sejenis makhluk spt yg dirancangkan dlm pelan gagou yg bertujuan membina tamadun “hidupan baru” yg kononnya lebih sempurna.

Berbekalkan sisa2 kuasa yg terdapat pd zirah the skullman, Hayato berjaya mengalahkan monster masaki dgn bayaran yg amat mahal iaitu Nyawanya sendiri. Topeng the skullman kelihatan merekah sebaik saja terbitnya matahari, hayato yg pd masa tersebut berada dlm keadaan nyawa-nyawa ikan telah ditangkap oleh pasukan Brain Gear dan diubahsuai ingatannya.

Selesai sahaja lagu penamat, tampak riak wajah the skullman yg penuh durjana mengetuai pasukan Brain Gear diatas nama “Black Phantasms”. Bandar Ootomo yg kini telah disatukan sepenuhnya dgn Jepun kelihatan damai. Namun selama manakah keamanan tersebut dpt dikekalkan dgn berubahnya hayato kpd pihak kegelapan? Go Figure Ending!

Apa2halpun, aku bagi rating A- scr keseluruhan disebabkan Plot dan Animasi citer ni yg sememangnya Gelap dan Mantap. Permulaan cerita yg slow tapi berperingkat.. Plot yg dipaparkan semakin menarik sepanjang mendekati climax. Bahkan diakhiri dgn penyudah dahsyat yg membuatkan penonton terkelu lalu berkata… *Censored*! Slack pd Kekurangan Aksi, Gaya penceritaan yg mungkin tidak menepati selera sesetengah pihak yg lebih suka kpd penceritaan yg telus/direct dan beberapa intended plot holes yg bertujuan menimbulkan elemen misteri. Sementara dialognya pula dirasakan berada pd tahap yg lebih elok daripada biasa biarpun agak cheesy. Rekaan watak juga amat mirip dgn watak2 lain yg terdapat pd karya lama Shotaro Ishinomori spt Cyborg 009, Humanoid Kikaider dan Astro boy. Mungkin ada yg tidak tahu, The Skullman merupakan “Ilham Asas” kpd siri Kamen Rider yg lebih popular.

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