If Junji Ito and Cronenberg collaborated on a Goosebumps story, the result might look like the warped storybook nightmare and grotesque body horror of Violence Voyager. Watching Ujicha‘s animated hallucination is to descend a rabbit-hole of melted flesh, bodily fluids, amusement park from hell, and the weirdest action finale.
The film uses an odd “Gekimation” art style: paper puppets moving against backgrounds, enhanced with oozing liquid and smoke and flame. The look is akin to a motion comic, but while that approach can often seem stilted and incomplete, this style gives Violence Voyager an unsettling unreal vibe. The changing and shifting cutouts create a suggestion of movement, a sense of figures trapped in moments of rictus horror. There’s a bespoke precision to each moment, each new expression and action necessitating a different cutout. Combined with filmic techniques and detailed backgrounds, Violence Voyager crafts a reality of its own surreal design, a grotesquerie of visceral reality seeping through the canvas of nightmare whimsy.