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Psycho Diver - Soul Siren (1997)
Director: Mamoru Kambe

review by Tom Matic

This supernatural technothriller tells of a psychic investigator with a difference: he can telepathically dive into people's subconscious minds with the aid of an electronic device. He uses this ability to assist Yuki, a glamorous pop star, in her attempts to exorcise her inner demons. These giver her frightening and lethal telekinetic powers, not helped by her involvement with a sinister cult. In the course of his investigations, our hero falls foul of some sadistic yakuza types. First his dog gets savagely slaughtered, and things get worse before they get better.

The investigator's Chandleresque private eye voiceover gives the narrative a film noir feel, although the plot also echoes Nakato's Ring cycle with its feud between a father and mother over their paranormally gifted daughter. But as is often the case with anime, Psycho Diver - Soul Siren takes the form of a succession of images sometimes rather crudely animated. However these images are of a powerful, striking and often extreme nature.

The opening echoes Scanners in its graphic depiction of an exploding head - that of the previous psycho diver who encountered the troubled diva. The story then goes into picture tableau mode, highly appropriate for the next scene - showing Yuki's latest video, with her going all Bad Girls and beating a cop senseless. The psycho diver is determined to end up like his predecessor, and we see what he's up against as he dives into Yuki's mind and is psychically assaulted by the weird, disturbing images in there accompanied by an eerie industrial dirge. One of these turns out to be the church-like headquarters of the cult, which looks like something out of a Dario Argento film.

Although at times cheesy, Psycho Diver - Soul Siren is gripping, entertaining and sometimes viscerally violent, with many moments that will have your eyes popping out of your head. You can sample some of these on the original trailer and image gallery, and also get a showcase of the wonderful and frightening world of Japanese animation in the trailer section.
Psycho Diver - Soul Siren

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