If you’re looking for a fix as you wait for the long might be Hellboy film, this animated film along with the other animated film, Hellyboy: Blood and Iron, will hopefully tide you over. They certainly fulfilled my Hellboy jones!
Three of the four principals, Ron Perlman as Hellboy, Selma Blair as Liz Sherman and Doug Jones as Abe Sapien. (John Hurt as Trevor Bruttenholm is not here but will be back in the second film.) Indeed it just occurred to me that these four would make for a truly memorable Hellboy audiobook experience! The other principal voice actor here is Peri Gilpin as Professor Kate Corrigan who will return for the second go around which is great as she’s a delight in this role, sassy and intelligent.
This film starts in the middle of an underground mission which sees Hellboy, Liz Sherman and Abe Sapien battling bat-worshipping Mayan zombies who are lead by a really big undead bat. They will eventually to defeat these creatures when Liz unleashes her fire powers, but she is still frightened of if she can fully control her powers.
That’s the teaser for the main feature which is a riff off Japanese folklore including storm demons imprisoned in a sword, a kitsune which is a Japanese fox spirit, demon creatures who can detach their heads to hunt and feed on their victims, a graveyard creature similar to Simon R. Green’s bloody bones creature, and my favorite, a kora playing woman who has the body of a giant spider. Hellboy who has touched the demon infested sword in investigating a case is thrown into a world where he encounters all of these. He’ll boy’s smart assed personality comes through in Perlman’s voicing.
Meanwhile Corrigan and another BPRD staffer are attacked by a number of animated objects including a scarf, teapot, and umbrella, apparently another niece of Japanese folklore. Meanwhile, Sapien and Sherman are called to the site of an earthquake and discover that the two demons now loosed from the sword, Thunder and Lightning, are summoning their brothers, the dragons which are causing the earthquakes as they come awake. They meet the same fox spirit Hellboy met and are she guides them in that mission. One of the dragons attacks them but Sherman drives back underwater.
All of the players will meet in the Tokyo Temple where the events that led to everything that happened occurred. Suffice it for purposes here, the ending wraps neatly all the plot threads before they had for breakfast.
A word on the animation style here. For legal reasons having to with protecting the Mignola brand, the animated films (of which there are three including a short concerning a red cap, an evil British creature) is different enough that you know it’s not Mignola or any artists who drew Hellboy for Dark Horse. It’s a superb style and you’ll quickly forget that it’s not what you’ve encountered before. Oh and Hellboy’s hoofed feet are really cool here!
(Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD, 2007)