The love of Logan’s life, Mariko Yashida, is forced back to Japan by her father Shingen, a notorious crime lord. Once in Japan, she is forcibly betrothed to Kurohagi, a cruel criminal associate of her father, to solidify their business interests. Logan is determined to get her back, yet is plunged into a tangled web of corruption and violence at every turn. But with the help of young assassin Yukio, he just might manage to claw his way through the criminal underworld to confront Shingen and save Mariko.
(2010), the second installment in the four-part reinterpretation of Marvel characters for Japanese audiences, makes the transition much more successfully than Blade
. The series is based on four graphic novels created by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller in 1982. Logan/Wolverine heads for Japan when Mariko, the woman he loves, is kidnapped by agents of her father, Japanese yakuza boss Shingen Yashida. He plans to marry her to the slimy Hideki Kurohagi, cementing the alliance between their gangs. The path to true love seldom runs smoothly, but it's rarely this rocky. Wolverine has to battle not only scores of yakuza thugs with hi-tech weapons, but an increasingly deadly succession of mutants. Kikyo can produce a katana
(Japanese long sword) from his wrist, much the way Wolverine extends his trademark claws. Omega Red, a Russian biomedical experiment gone wrong, attacks with metal tentacles and a Boris Badenov accent. The gigantic automaton Vadhaka presents an even graver threat. Wolverine gets some help from his friends, especially the slinky assassin Yukio, who fights with a ring-shaped throwing knife, and a cadre of rebel slum-dwellers. Their fighting skills may be formidable, but Wolverine
fans know better than to expect a happy ending. Director Hiroshi Aoyama keeps the action moving and choreographs the many fights with the requisite panache. The result is a violent but interesting fusion of Eastern and Western fantasy that recalls Wolverine's catchphrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice." (Unrated; suitable for ages 14 and up: violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
(1. Mariko, 2. Yukio, 3. Kikyo, 4. Omega Red, 5. Asano, 6. Girl--Min, 7. Vadhaka, 8. Koh, 9. Hell Road, 10. Shingen, 11. Kurohagi, 12. Logan)