"I am invincible! No one can survive my shadow skills! With a single stroke I am unbeatable!" In a world where martial arts gladiators with unheard-of skills battle for glory and justice, young orphan Gau trains relentlessly under his cocky adoptive sister Ella (a great champion) to master the elusive Shadow Skill, a mystical style with a dark past. His education of course allows for plenty of flashy fights, and that's the main appeal of this lively collection of two short 1996 OVA features. The animation is limited but the art direction is detailed and vivid, and director Hiroshi Negishi saves his budget for the battles, which offer impressive displays of animation pyrotechnics. Though hardly deep ("We can get closer to God by fighting!" opines the mysterious champion Scarface), the episodic adventures zip right along, and the climax packs an unexpected charge of drama between the blows. For ages 13 and up for violence and some strong language. --Sean Axmaker
From the Back Cover
The ultimate combat in a kingdom of warriors. Two men stand atop a towering pinnacle of stone. One is Scarface, disfigured champion of the Shadow Skill. The other is Gau Ban of the Black Howling. It has been ten years since they first met-ten years in which the untrained boy has become a fearsome warrior... A decade earlier, in the kingdom of Koruda, elite fighters battle for honor beneath the blood-red flag of King Falkai. While Ella Ragu limbers up for an apocalyptic confrontation with the demon beast Barsalf, her adopted brother Gau is surprised by the arrival of a mysterious masked figure. After the fight, it is this man who give Gau the strength to triumph when he and Ella are attacked by the mighty Gao X. Ella and Gau later join spellcaster Fowari, and young fighter Quo in a desperate attempt to defeat a carnivorous demon known as the "King of the Moon." But even as they work together, conflict grows deep within the group. Watched by the enigmatic Scarface, friendship erupts into lethal combat-Shadow Skill versus Death Magic in a fight to the finish.
Epilogue - In a war torn world of deadly conflict, one small group of heroes stands against the forces of darkness, armed only with two weapons-their unswerving dedication to good and the superhuman martial art known as the Shadow Skill. For fourteen-year-old Gau, it is time once again for him to return to the graves of his parents, murdered by bandits when he was just ten. In the company of his adoptive elder sister, Ella, Gau quickly comes to realize that his journey is more than just a pilgrimage, and that his combat abilities as a student of the Karuda school of martial arts are about to be pushed to their breaking point! Attacked by the demonic Wolfman, left for dead and then forced by Ella and Karuda to fight master Scarface, Gau's dreams of becoming a new generation of warrior are put to the ultimate test. Can he face his sister in single combat? Will he be able to match the unearthly abilities of Scarface? And can Gau ever uncover the secrets of the Shadow Skill?