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It is a strange anime that starts out with a good amount of violence.

Opening scene has a young man who is off to go train to be some sort of somewhat mysterious order and he is talking about it with everyone on board the truck they are on. He says that he is going to go and train to come back to rescue his girlfriend or childhood friend from the evil tyrant who rules the area. He seems hopeful that he can do this. There is an older man who says very little on the trip.

Suddenly there is an explosion and the truck crashes. Everyone on board is dead except for the older man. Young boy included. It was raiders. Monsters that wanted easy prey. The old man is surrounded. He flips back his coat revealing a bomb and he says to the monsters that he’ll blow himself up if they try anything. He negotiates his way out and leaves. The monsters begin to happily eat the fresh meat of the people who had died. As they get down into it. Turns out the old man had another explosive planted on the young man’s corpse. It explodes and takes the swarm of monsters out as the old man sets out towards the tyrant’s kingdom.

The childhood friend/love interest of the young man has been made bride/wife to tyrant. She has also been augmented to the fucking gills so she acts as his unwilling guard. And was augmented enough that trained soldiers would probably be fodder to her. I don’t know if it is tech or mind control that is making her do that.

Old man shows up wearing a copy of her childhood friend’s face that he produced with a strange amulet or talisman. Turns out the old man was part of the strange order. He just seems to have some health condition that makes fighting rough on him. Low stamina. He pronounces judgement on tyrant man who laughs and basically snaps his fingers to get the lady childhood friend of the young man to get ready to fight. So him and the lady start throwing down. She is pretty well pressing him into a corner. I can’t remember the whole fight but she either overcomes the mind control or he manages to take her down softly instead of killing her. Tyrant man basically shits himself at that point but he gets what he deserves and dies.

The childhood friend felt indebted and begins to try to follow the old man around. And he eventually tells her to fuck off and he wants to be alone.

But eventually the two end up in a strange village together. Where people are missing or there is some sickness. Which starts out just a bit off before going into full fever dream.

People keep disappearing and things keep happening. And slowly they have to make their way through it to find the truth. A young man in the village travels with them. As things progress it turns out the village was an actual ghost town sustained by the wishes of the spirits there. Some godlike deity or pseudo deity was behind the whole thing because they didn’t want to die. The old man, young man, and girl manages to fuck it up. But after they do the young man realizes he is dead too. The old man affirms this. So he gives the young man his gun. The young man makes the choice to accept death and the village is freed.

The old man stops being so mopey and accepts his bombshell of a travel companion and the two head off to places unknown.

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  • Hi, welcome to the site. In roughly which year did you watch this and when do you think it might've been made? Also, was this a series or a movie? Sep 4, 2023 at 23:21
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    Well, I was watching a youtube playlist of anime films at the time so I don't think that will help, and that was a loooong time ago so I can't search my history, but it looked like it may have been from the 80's or 90's. I think it was a standalone movie, but I can't recall any name. Sep 4, 2023 at 23:29

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This is almost certainly Shin Angyo Onshi, aka Blade of the Phantom Master. An 87 minute anime film was released in 2004, based on about two arcs of the original manga. There is also a Webtoon version from 2017.

After wandering through the desert for days, a bitter warrior named Munsu is lost and unable to continue. His life is unexpectedly saved by Mon-ryon, a young man who dreams of becoming a secret agent for Jushin, a once-great country that was recently destroyed. Mon-ryon's goal is to save his girlfriend, Chunhyan, a born fighter who is held captive by the evil Lord Byonand. Then, from out of nowhere, blood begins trickling from his chest. He has been fatally wounded by the Sarinjas, a cannibalistic breed of desert goblin. The quick-thinking Munsu convinces these beasts to spare his life, in exchange for the peaceful handover of Mon-ryon's appetizing corpse. Although skeptical of Mon-ryon's motives, Munsu sets out to continue the mission that the young idealist described. Accompanied by an army of ghost troops, unleashed using the powers of Angyo Onshi, Munsu liberates Chunhyan. After visiting her boyfriend's final resting place, she declares herself Munsu's bodyguard and, together, they set out on a mission to punish those who stripped Jushin of its original glory.

The early parts of the question do not quite match. The young man and the older man (the protagonist, Munsu) are the only people present; there is no truck, only a camel. The assailants are flesh eating demons, not exactly bandits, but they do wield spears. The other parts are a match, including the gory nature, as the young man is shown impaled by dozens of spears.

The young man is killed by a surprise attack; other demons attack Munsu but are killed by gunshots. He negotiates with the demons: let him go and they can eat the young corpse; attack him and he'll blow their meal to pieces. They accept this, but as mentioned, he left bombs within the corpse.

The protagonist facing off against hordes of demons

The young man's hairband flies towards Munsu with the explosion; he decides then to proceed to the man's kingdom. His girlfriend had been held captive and refused to join the ruler, and finally decided to hypnotize her. This is the mind control from the question; I don't believe it's ever addressed why she's so strong.

Munsu arrives at the town wearing a mask that resembles the young man's face and briefly leads everyone to think he has returned, only to tear the mask off and announce that he's dead. He attacks the lord's soldiers with his own phantom troops, but the hypnotized Chunhyan fights them. She then turns on Munsu, but mid-attack sees the hairband, remembers her beloved, and stops.

During this time the other townfolk take the opportunity to depose of the tyrant themselves.

After this, the two of them go to the young man's grave so she can pay her last respects, and declares that she will protect Munsu.

That's the end of the first arc; I haven't watched the 2nd in 15 years, but exploring a literal ghost village does sound like what I remember.

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