EKO EKO AZARAKU II: BIRTH OF THE WIZARD (1996)
posted 00/00/2009

Directed by:
Shimako Sato

Starring:
Kimika Yoshino ... Misa Kuroi
Wataru Shihodo ... Saiga
Chieko Shiratori ... Shoko Takanashi
Akira Otani ... Takanashi

Country: Japan
Runtime: 83 min
AKA: Wizard of Darkness II,
Birth of the Wizard
 
         
 

Get ready folks because this one is even better than part one. Shimako Sato who did such a wonderful job with the first Eko, returns as director and the beautiful Kimika Yoshino graces the screen once more reprising the role of the young wizard Misa Kuroi. This film is more of a prequel that takes place just as Misa is discovering her powers. The pace is quicker and there is more spell casting than in the first film. As in the first, we get a real sense of the character’s loneliness amidst personal tragedy (all her friends die).

We first see Misa at school, joking with her friends at the end of the school semester. They gather at her house, and watch tv, play videogames and drink beer. Misa is not aware of her powers yet and we get to see her as a regular kid. But even from this early period, her life is not normal. Her parents live out of town and she lives by herself. At a different location a mummy is discovered in a cave. An evil spirit that jumps from host to host is unearthed. There is also a strange man in a black trench coat that is stalking Misa.

The evil spirit is searching for Misa and will stop at nothing to possess her body which holds an incredible amount of untapped magical powers. While Misa steps out to purchase more beer, the spirit, in the body of a doctor shows up to the party and kills everyone there. When Misa returns the unnamed stalker appears to whisk Misa to safety. They grab a car and he runs over the doctor’s body twice. The spirit then jumps into a policeman. Later Misa is at the police station when the evil cop shows up and kills two officers, one of whom is the father of Misa’s best friend Shoko. The mysterious stalker appears again to protect Misa. It really reminds me of the Terminator films, where one dude protects while the other is out to kill. Misa doesn’t know whether to trust this guy or not so she keeps running away from him too. When he saves her life this second time they get a chance to talk in the car and the mysterious man explains everything.

He tells Misa that there was a secret magic clan/village called Saiga that existed one hundred years ago. (He refers to himself as simply Saiga) Saiga’s wife died and he tried to use magic to resurrect her. This practice was forbidden (I think it still is today). He brought back his wife Kirie along with a demon that murders randomly. Kirie was now turned into an evil witch. She decided to massacre the entire village except for Saiga and a few elders who managed to survive, and then go into hibernation for one hundred years and is back now to possess Misa Kuroi. Saiga basically traveled forward in time to prevent this from happening. The film doesn’t explain how this happened and it doesn’t need to because it kicks so much ass. Saiga has a powerful medallion that he must use to defeat Kirie.

Ok lets get to the exciting third act. The evil spirit has now possessed Misa’s best friend Shoko. Saiga and Misa head towards the university to destroy Kirie’s mummy body and the spirit too! By now Misa has already learned to use some powerful magic, has healed Saiga and even developed romantic feelings for him. Mind you she is a high school student and he is maybe 40 but this love is magical and pure, transcending age. Ok, that’s at least what the film wants us to believe. There are several things in Japanese culture that may clash with Western culture but we can set those things aside for later. Let’s enjoy the film because no one's perfect. Misa asks Saiga to kiss her and they kiss briefly, that’s as far as that goes. Misa falls asleep or something and Saiga battles the demon spirit on his own. He cuts off Shoko’s ear and uses magic to sever her in half. But the evil spirit is strong and enters Saiga. Misa has the medallion and utters a powerful spell vanishing the evil spirit. But all is not well. The mummy somehow gains strength and regenerates into the diabolical wizard Kirie. Misa then joins spirits with Saiga to summon a terrible dragon spirit to crush Kirie and send her to hell for good.

This film has all the spells and action I could have ever wanted and more. The love story somehow makes sense and I could relate with Misa and the sadness in her life. In both films all her friends, everyone she ever loved, dies. There is no lesbian scene but that’s ok. The characters and fantasy were rich and the story was entertaining. If you liked the first one I urge you to give this one a look.

- Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

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