Psycho World Tournament is an endearingly fun anime feature filled with action and humor

by Ed Blackadder

Written and directed by Kai Laigo, “Psycho World Tournament” is a fight-oriented, action-adventure, animated movie that adds a nice amount of humor to keep the story engaging.

A lot of love, care, and compassion went into creating this movie, that is clear. It’s hard to classify exactly what type of animation this is as it seems to combine elements. Much of it appears to have been AI-generated and most of the movie is relatively static frames, with only the mouth movement being animated (which makes it feel like an old-school Flash animation at times), and a lot of tweening for the fight scenes and character movement.

Regardless, of how it was created, the character design is very cool. The art seems to be inspired by popular Manga titles such as “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” and “Dragon Ball.”

Laigo himself told us, “As far as inspiration, most of my drive to do this comes from my love of the 80’s cartoons I grew up with, like ‘GI Joe’ and ‘He-Man.’  I’m also a lifelong anime fan.  Lastly, I get a lot of inspiration from Frank Sudol’s animated films, like the ‘City of Rot’ series.”

The story follows Sensei Yamamoto who is trying to save his dojo from the corrupt world of competitive martial arts. The story takes place in a futuristic and dystopian Los Angeles with a mix of neo-noir and cyberpunk-style visuals.

“Our training goes beyond the third dimension and into the spirit world,” says Sensei Yamamoto when describing his dojo in a fun bit of dialogue while giving an exposition dump (there are many).

However, after losing his dojo, Sensei Yamamoto and his students team up with a fighter known as the Green Ninja. Yamamoto creates the Psycho World Tournament in an effort to save his dojo and the world of martial arts against corruption. He and his fighters must face the big-bad boss, Dracula, a ruthless martial artist, and, yes, a vampire, and his sidekick, Nosferatu.

One of my favorite bits of dialogue comes toward the end when Sensei Yamamoto says to his students, “We have to go big, or go home … yes, and we’re going to go big.”

Laigo makes every attempt at having “Psycho World Tournament” go big in this fashion. The filmmaker blends action and humor to create a fun and entertaining story.

Tweening is a common animation technique that gives movement to static images. It can be fine in small doses, but is overdone in “Psycho World Tournament.” Additionally, much of the movie is medium shots and close-ups of heads with only the mouths moving.

A ton of work went into this movie from its creator, Laigo, but I do feel it would have been better served to have had an animated graphic novel approach.

There are not any credits at the end of the movie and it is not listed on IMDB, so it’s difficult to tell how many people were involved, but it appears that there were very few, voice actors included.

Some of the voice acting is flat and it seems to be the same person doing most the voices. As a feature film, almost an hour long, this is a bit distracting at times.

Overall though, the characters and voice acting are endearing enough to keep a viewer interested in the story and its outcome.

“Psycho World Tournament” can currently be found on the Stash – Action YouTube Channel.

Ed’s Grade: B-