Inu-Oh [Movie Review]

Inu-Oh Official Trailer | Nippon Connection Filmfestival 2022

INUOH_27x40_Main_2022-04-28_NOBILLING_Web-338x500 Inu-Oh [Movie] Review – Rocking Out in Feudal Japan

Within the 14th century Muromachi period, a younger boy named Tomona and his father make a dwelling diving for artifacts from a long-ago struggle. This struggle and the samurai who fought in it are chronicled in an epic account referred to as “The Story of the Heike”. Sooner or later, Tomona is tasked to dig up a sacred regalia sword, which is stuffed with a lot non secular energy that it by chance blinds him and kills his father. Tomona then joins a bunch of biwa monks – string instrument taking part in monks who narrate “The Story of the Heike” to calm the stressed spirits of those samurai so that they don’t trigger misfortune. There’s a rigidly established canon of tales, however he believes that if he can unearth tales which were forgotten by the world, he can deliver peace to each himself and these lingering spirits.

Alongside his journey, he befriends an odd dancer named Inu-Oh. In actual life, Inu-Oh was a preferred Noh theater performer within the Muromachi period. Nonetheless, only a few paperwork about his life survive, so just about the whole lot about him – together with why he was such a sensation in his time – is a thriller. This movie, combining points of the 2017 novel “The Story of the Heike: The Inu-Oh Chapters” by Hideo Furukawa with Masaaki Yuasa’s personal concepts, creates a story the place Inu-Oh has been cursed by demons since delivery to appear to be a hideous monster.

He goals of dancing up on stage, and at some point when he actually dances his coronary heart out, small floating spirits seem and break the curse on his legs. Tomona and Inu-Oh determine that these have been the forgotten Heike warriors, they usually resolve to kind their very own troupe to deliver these tales to the plenty. Nonetheless, these in energy don’t recognize this new underground motion undermining their traditions…

INUOH_27x40_Main_2022-04-28_NOBILLING_Web-338x500 Inu-Oh [Movie] Review – Rocking Out in Feudal Japan

To associate with this considerably weird plot, the animation and music of Inu-Oh are equally unusual. Masaaki Yuasa’s animation fashion is tough, summary, and even purposefully ugly generally, but it surely works as a result of it captures uncooked emotion so properly. You’ll be able to see Tomona’s crooked enamel and his emaciated physique as he sings from the depths of his soul, and Inu-Oh’s exaggerated proportions and patchwork patterned clothes paint him as an alien-like being who step by step turns into extra human as his curse breaks little by little. We additionally love the point-of-view pictures that present how every character sees the world – Inu-Oh friends by means of the tiny lopsided holes of his masks, whereas Tomona’s “sight” is depicted as colourful brushstrokes that vaguely define issues like human silhouettes or rain falling on a temple. It might take some time to get used to it, however we predict the visible fashion works completely for this movie.

The prolonged musical sequences are additionally fairly totally different from something we’ve ever seen earlier than. They’re intentionally anachronistic, bringing in ‘80s dance strikes and rockstar antics to remodel conventional Japanese musical theater into raucous live shows full with screaming followers and particular results. Intriguingly, the results are proven to be created by innovations that might’ve been made on the time, like wire rigs suspended on ziplines and lightweight projections made by passing stencils over paper lanterns. The music itself makes use of a combination of period-accurate devices and trendy ones to kind a novel sound that bucks custom whereas nonetheless being steeped in it. Most of the voice actors are additionally veterans of the musical stage, so their performances have the sort of presence that belongs in entrance of a crowd.

INUOH_27x40_Main_2022-04-28_NOBILLING_Web-338x500 Inu-Oh [Movie] Review – Rocking Out in Feudal Japan

All through their adventures collectively, Tomona and Inu-Oh change dramatically – a lot in order that we’re amazed we are able to inform we’re wanting on the identical characters after so many design adjustments. Inu-Oh regains his human physique piece by piece, discarding his many layers of clothes to point out off his toned determine, whereas Tomona goes for a extra androgynous rockstar fashion. He lets his hair down, begins sporting make-up and female kimonos, and appears far more comfy in his personal pores and skin. He additionally adjustments his title twice all through the movie: first from Tomona to Tomoichi as a requirement to affix the biwa monks, after which from Tomoichi to Tomoari when he and Inu-Oh resolve to take their act across the nation.

The final title change is especially important, because it’s one thing he selected himself and represents his and Inu-Oh’s will to inform the tales of the misplaced and forgotten – not due to any curse or tragedy, however as a result of everybody deserves to be heard. Sadly, that is when the powers that be (together with the shogun) start cracking down on their artwork and demanding that they follow the established canon or undergo dire penalties. Anybody who’s ever needed to defend their very own identification to an uncaring public can relate to this wrestle, particularly these within the LGBTQ neighborhood. And since a number of of Yuasa’s works have featured queer characters, we’d say that this angle was intentional. We positively cried at components of this film, and we wager you’ll, too.

INUOH_27x40_Main_2022-04-28_NOBILLING_Web-338x500 Inu-Oh [Movie] Review – Rocking Out in Feudal Japan

As a result of each facet of Inu-Oh is so unabashedly bizarre, it’s not a movie that everybody will like. The narrative is instructed in a dream-like manner with many timeskips and might require some googling for these unfamiliar with Japanese theater and historical past. The character designs (by Ping Pong mangaka Taiyou Matsumoto) and non-traditional animation are consistently shifting and don’t resemble regular anime. The live performance segments can get repetitive due to how drawn-out they’re, and sure scenes cope with ranges of violence and tragedy that may be an excessive amount of for some individuals. However for those who go in with an open thoughts, you would possibly simply discover considered one of your new favourite anime motion pictures. That’s what occurred for us!

Remaining Ideas

INUOH_27x40_Main_2022-04-28_NOBILLING_Web-338x500 Inu-Oh [Movie] Review – Rocking Out in Feudal Japan
INUOH_27x40_Main_2022-04-28_NOBILLING_Web-338x500 Inu-Oh [Movie] Review – Rocking Out in Feudal Japan

After the hard-hitting East Coast life-style hit me a bit too exhausting, I began pursuing my ardour as a author in my cozy house state of Ohio. Except for that, I spend my time cooking, cosplaying, amassing anime merch, and being an improv comedy actor. I additionally love sneaking alliterations and silly puns into my writing, so be looking out for them! 😉

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Anime Zone
Anime Zone
Anime is an art form that uses imagination and creativity to tell stories. It's a form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. I love writing about anime because it gives me the opportunity to share my love for the genre with other fans.