As a kid I was able to watch a lot of anime that many people didn’t have the access to, one of those was Kishin Dōji Zenki. I used to love this show so I was really looking forward to checking it out again and so I did. For a relatively unknown franchise that doesn’t seem to get a lot of love, it really isn’t that difficult to find the episodes online. But this show seems to have been a big thing, spawning two different anime arcs albeit relatively short ones and shown in different countries, an OVA the manga of course and even a few Super Famicom games, so it was at least relatively popular to receive all of those mentioned. But how did it really fare upon a re-watch?
The basic premise of the show is that some super duper evil is using these seeds to conquer the world after being awaken. In order to get rid of this threat the descendant of the person who originally got rid of them Cherry or “” is now in charge of doing it. She does this thanks to the guardian that is a demon who is trapped in a child’s body so he won’t be able turn on her master. Only Cherry can break the seal and give the demon guardian his body back in which he is able to combat the evil forces threatening the world. It’s definitely a unique premise but you also need a plot
The first season or story arc is the one I remember as a kid where the evil seeds are used to take over people and attack, they set up the world up and we meet the main characters. Cherry’s grandmother, her brother and a weird warrior monk guy who wears sunglasses named Goki. After just a few episodes the show already starts to get a bit tiring with Monsters of the Day but just as quickly they start moving into story arcs. I was surprised how the show had a 180 and went straight into story arcs that ended with the finale of the “season”. Still it is rather weak and none of the shocking moments or betrayals really feel that amazing, the action is nothing out of this world.
I don’t remember anything from the second major story arc as a kid so I was shocked when halfway through the series they kill the main villain and now we had half the series with a new big bad. The premise is a little bit different but also deals with the seeds, this time we have this new character who has an awesome design and a wolf, so yes we already know he’ll likely end up a good guy by the end of the series. They also introduce a brother for Zenki who can also transform and together they can do a fusion and similar to Dragon Ball Z to be able to deal with the newest threat. The twists and turns this season takes also lack something that the first major story arc had and nothing really feels as big of a threat as things should be.
The ending of the show leaves things open for more adventures but the only adventure we get is an OVA released that deals with a new monster and a one off story. Nothing too epic but it’s ok. The animation and character designs definitely look like a step up from the anime. Though they seem to pull off an Evangelion since it seems they ran out of money and many scenes are not animated but are just still drawings which is a shame.
Somehow I acquired a Zenki manga and since it’s in Japanese I can’t read it but from there I can see the same characters from the second arc of the anime on what is meant to be an early manga chapter and overall an adventure we never saw in the show so I’m guessing the anime might not have been the most accurate adaptation.
Overall this isn’t a show I’d recommend, it has plenty of cool ideas here and there but the story can never live up to that potential. It’s a shame that it seems to be a forgotten franchise since it could’ve been a hit or at least a cult hit with a little more care to the plot. One thing the show did have however was an amazing intro.
The intro is easily the most exciting thing about the show with its epic music by mixing classical Japanese chants with rock. Cool character designs and concept but don’t go in expecting a ground breaking plot. Wish I had more nice things to say about Zenki but really if you’re in for style then it’s not a wasted journey.