Riki-Oh 2: Horobi no Ko (Riki-Oh: Child of Destruction), directed by Satoshi Dezaki. 45 minutes. August 24, 1990.
The first Riki-Oh OAV, released a year earlier (1989), ended with the hero punching a big hole in Kokubo Prison’s wall, announcing that he was leaving “for another Hell”, and walking out. Fans who got Riki-Oh 2 a year later may have expected a sequel to his earlier adventure. They got a different story, but it also included a different origin story.
Actually, a totally different story, one that doesn’t seem to make any sense; although “post-apocalyptic” fits better here. I assume that what’s left out would be explained if I read the manga, but I’m not that interested.
Riki-Oh 2 begins “20 years ago” in a prison, but the State Prison for Women. A woman identified only as “Mother” has given birth to twins, one of whom has a Star of David on one hand, the other has a swastika on his. She is being executed by Lord Aneyama, whoever he is. She entrusts the babies to Kiyo, a nurse, who runs off with them.
20 years later, in the “future”. Riki-Oh, wearing little more than a military camouflage cape and pants, is walking along a rainy country highway. He takes the Blue Forest exit to Cursed Mountain. He tells a chanting monk with a colorful ball that he is going to “the city”, presumably Tokyo. The monk is an Itako who can communicate with the Dead. She(?) says that the city is a place of evil and death, and tries to dissuade Riki-Oh from his quest to find his brother, Nachi. When Riki-Oh won’t be dissuaded, the monk tries to help him, but she coughs up blood and her glasses and the ball explode, signifying that Riki-Oh is opposed by an avenging wraith with unsurpassed spiritual strength who hates him. “The road to Hell has seven routes and no return.” Riki-Oh says that he (and presumably Nachi) were adopted by the wealthy Saigi family, but now brother Nachi is all that is left. He must find him.
A recent flashback shows that Riki-Oh has been training with The Master when he leaves to search for Nachi. The Master also tries to dissuade him, but finally tells him that Nachi is in the city.
Riki-Oh continues to the outskirts of the city, where he is attacked by a martial-arts master, “Chou Zenki, the seventh disciple”. This is Fukao Shinkichi who will be his guide. He is a member of Group Longinus, the rebels who oppose the evil corporations who control the city and its Plan of God. The corporations have apparently enslaved everyone in the city and force them to work in the deadly nuclear power plants. Their hero is Nachi, now a Living God.
As soon as Fukao gives this background information, they are attacked by the Black Knights (City Guard) commanded by Washizaki, a tall man in a 19th-century Japanese officer’s uniform who looks like a tryout for Kato, the villain in Doomed Megalopolis. (The name Washizaki doubtlessly deliberately sounds very close to wakizashi, the traditional samurai’s sword.) Washizaki kills Fukao before he can guide Riki-Oh anywhere, and even knocks Riki-Oh out.
Riki-Oh regains consciousness inside the city, in a corridor leading to the pancracio arena. Pancracio is a bloody fight-to-the-death sport for the enjoyment of the city’s serfs, watched by Washizaki. Riki-Oh’s opponent is Kensho Yonabaru, a pancracio veteran who uses nunchakus. Riki-Oh refuses any weapons but his fists. Naturally everyone expects Kensho to win. Naturally Riki-Oh wins, throwing Kensho out of the arena. Suddenly the whole arena is filled by a psionic force. Nachi appears; but instead of healing Kensho as expected, Nachi kills him. Riki-Oh cries, “Nachi! Do you still hate me?” Nachi leaves without saying anything.
There is another flashback, to when Riki-Oh and Nachi were about six years old, playing in a forest. Riki-Oh challenges Nachi to a game of Hide and Seek. While Nachi is counting, Riki-Oh is confronted by a wealthy-looking man (not The Master) in a limousine who asks, “Would you like to come home with me and be my son?” Riki-Oh does, apparently abandoning Nachi. (This is a WTF scene that completely flummoxes me. Does the manga have any reason for little Riki-Oh abandoning Nachi and whatever family they have?)
Riki-Oh recovers three days later, in luxury. A well-dressed trainer explains that the city takes good care of its surviving fighters who must return to the pancracio ring. Riki-Oh is taken to a gym where Atomic Robo, a half-machine cyborg, is already training. He was a human slave working in the nuclear power plant where the radiation and heat were fatal, and he was rebuilt as a cyborg with no heart who hates humans. Riki-Oh stops the trainer from brutalizing Atomic Robo.
In an underground chamber, Washizaki reports to a superior on a giant TV monitor. The superior says that there have been more disasters and the Plan of God for the extinction of mankind is approaching. Washizaki reports that Nachi is getting harder to control and Riki-Oh has appeared, but he can handle them. “For the glory unto the end.” Washizaki muses that he will play the brothers against each other.
In the pancracio arena, Riki-Oh is fighting Atomic Robo with Nachi watching. Atomic Robo says he respects Riki-Oh, so he’ll kill him quickly so he won’t suffer. Atomic Robo throws Riki-Oh out of the ring with broken ribs and internal bleeding, as Kensho had been earlier. Riki-Oh calls to Nachi to kill him and end his suffering, as he had done to Kensho; but Nachi hates him so much that he refuses to end Riki-Oh’s suffering. Atomic Robo comes out of the arena to kill Riki-Oh, but Nachi doesn’t want him to end Riki-Oh’s suffering so he uses his psionic power to drop the arena on both of them. Riki-Oh uses his strength to lift the arena off Atomic Robo. Atomic Robo realizes that Washizaki is the real enemy and goes to kill him, but Washizaki cuts him in two. Riki-Oh expects to be killed too, but Washizaki says that both he and Nachi are needed for the Plan of God. That is to save humanity by killing everyone on Earth, while a superior elite escape to space. Nachi and Riki-Oh are the two Children of Destruction who will kill all humans in Japan to end their suffering, despite their belief that Nachi is their Living God. Riki-Oh rejects this Plan of God, and Washizaki is about to kill him; but Nachi psionically tears Washizaki’s arm off, says that he has his own purpose, and leaves.
I don’t see much difference between Nachi’s purpose and the Plan of God. Both result in total destruction and all humans dying. Riki-Oh accuses Nachi of having become a demon. Nachi is “cured” but everything is still destroyed and the people are dead.
In the coda, we see that this has only happened to “the city”. Riki-Oh leaves past the old monk at the Cursed Mountain. He is going to a new Hell.
Was there ever any explanation for the Star of David and the swastika markings (which look more like tattoos than scars in this Part 2) on Riki-Oh’s and Nachi’s hands?
Next week: “Forgotten” OAVs #22.