Crying Freeman (episodes 1 and 2)

Crying Freeman DVD cover

Crying Freeman (1988)

Brainwashed by a Chinese crime syndicate to be the ultimate killing machine, Yo Hinomura is Crying Freeman – so named because his mind longs to be free of his programming and, because of this internal conflict, he weeps with each death he is ordered to carry out.  When he falls in love with his intended victim, though, he finds the strength to overcome his programming and take her away with him.

Hinomura leaves a witness to one of his killings, an artist and kindred spirit.  Unable to kill her, he defies his leaders and instead brings her into the family – which she consents to in order to escape her dreary life as much as out of any love for Hinomura.  Their love is born of cliche (good girl/bad boy, love at first sight, etc.) and the results tear a giant hole through the plot, but when you’re dealing with brainwashed assassins, perhaps perhaps asking for story coherence is a bit much.  Why did the all-powerful syndicate decide a random (albeit very talented) potter would be a great assassin?  Why do they decide that breaking his programming makes him the perfect successor to the clan leadership?  Who knows.

The second episode is just as nonsensical as the first, but includes another great staple of anime: a giant, fat antagonist.  They even went the extra mile and gave us little, tiny old people with kung-fu and crazy sword fighting skills that allow you to talk to your enemy until you decide it’s time for them to die.  Oh, and an electrified bikini killer.  And pretty much everybody gets naked at some point, even doing so in preparation of a fight: “Enemies?  Let me take off my top and draw my gun!”.  Somehow, we’re treated to two hours of this without any tentacle monsters, which I assume come in episode 3.

If you’re looking for action, there’s plenty of crazy gun battles, sword fights and anything else you’d want.  The action isn’t the only thing that gets graphic from time to time, so let the viewer beware.

Stars: 2.5/5



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