Tuesday, 4 August 2009
カムイの剣 (Dagger of Kamui)
This 1985 animation is rated very highly by many western sources. Midnight Eye, for example, included it in their top 5 animated films. In Japan, however, it is not very well known. I had enough difficulty finding it.
It's steep reputation is deserved. The story is riveting, although by no means original. Ken is an orphaned ninja with a mysterious past and even more mysterious future. As he travels the world picking up clues about his life and what happened to his parents, he becomes more aware of the massive conspiracy surrounding his own fate and that of Japan.
It's the 'travelling' the world element that is particularly enjoyable. Jiro, the main character, traverses Japan, the seven seas and America on his quest. Wandering throughout the world in the 1800's has always been a dream of Narry B's. Alas, he spent most of the 1800's with a cold.
It's the exploration and fairytale like setting of this film that is really enthralling. In fact, the whole thing is put together exceptionally well, with a nice mix of emotional charge, storytelling, action and comedy (an African slave crying out 'Jiro, My Benefactor!' is a laugh out loud moment).
Rintaro later went on to direct Metropolis, which is probably where you schmoes have heard of him.