Whenever I come away from animé or any foreign film scratching my head, I am always suspicious if my perplexity is due to cultural barriers. Kai Doh Maru begins as a promising movie, but as the plot unravels my mind somehow got completely tangled by a confusing storyline and unclear characters.
It's difficult to give a plot synopsis since I'm not exactly sure about what I watched. But it seems like the story has something to do with one group of soldiers training a young girl, Kintoki, to be a warrior; and another group who has some counter-agenda that involves her. There's a love story in here somewhere, too. Sorry, but that's all I got. I suppose for more information read the plot synopsis on the packaging.
Having said that, of all the incomprehensible films, I was actually able to finish this one; and for two reasons: One, it's only 40 minutes long. Had it been much longer, I probably would have hit the eject button. But if complicated ambiguity is a writers style, I suppose the successful lesson here is to not keep your audience in their seats for very long. The other reason I got through this is that the art is fantastic. The subdued colors make the scenes of blood spatter all the more real. When the action happens, I'm never quite sure why it has happened, but oh well...that didn't prevent me from being fully engrossed by some high energy and wildly poetic fighting sequences. There's some neck slicing that has so much grit that it rivals any live action equivalents.
Strangely, I feel compelled to re-watch this movie and see if one or two more viewings won't crack open this cryptic storyline. Something tells me that once I "get it", I'll find myself praising it as a hard earned classic. If not, it can at least be excused as the mess that is often accumulated and left around by brilliant minds.
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Information glutton. Neo•Luddite.
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