Archive for October 4th, 2012

aka Kitaro and The Millennium Curse

Young women disappear one after another in drizzling rain. They all hear the cursed chanting of the Cage Song before they vanish into thin air. Kitaro and his friends investigate these mysterious cases when they meet Kaede Hiramoto, a high school girl who finds herself involved in this mystery. She has been cursed and this has caused scales to appear on her hand. With the help from the librarian of Yokai Library, they find out that the curse was caused by an evil Yokai that was released from 1,000 years of sealing. To save Kaede, they are to gather the 5 ancient musical instruments and perform the ritual to seal the evil Yokai again, which has to be done within 48 hours! In search for the ancient instruments, Kitaro and his friends depart for three different points that the ancient map indicates. Kitaro & Kaede head to “sky”, the sacred mountain in Hakone, Cat-girl and Ratman head to “land”, Mt. Takao, and Sand Witch and Old Cry Baby head to the “ocean” off the coast of Miura peninsula. But the evil Nurarihyon is determined to stop them. Will Kitaro be able to stop the curse, protect Kaede and the human beings from the evil Yokai, and also, overcome his destiny?

With the success of the first Gegege no Kitaro movie, the studio behind the live action project swiftly filmed this sequel while interest was still high. The main cast from the first all appear in this one too. The storyline is better and the budget is significantly bigger. Even though you could watch this movie without having watched the first, it will diminish your enjoyment slightly if you’re not familiar with the yokai characters you see though there is a small flashback about Kitaro’s origins right at the beginning of the story. The pace of the movie is a bit slow at first but it does quicken though I will say that with the running time (2 hours) it’s about 20 mins too long. Don’t get me wrong, the story doesn’t drag or anything and it never gets boring but the movie would have flowed better. The CG effects are pretty good with the main highlight near the end when a massive giant skeleton incarnated from thousands of dead souls comes to life and threatens to attack a coastal town before Kitaro comes to the rescue. The action sequences are competently done with a dynamic fight scene between Kitaro and Yasha (a foreign yokai from a far away land who hypnotises victims with his music). There’s plenty of excitement on display.

Eiji Wentz shines once again as the half human/half yokai main character Kitaro though I’ve always enjoyed watching the supporting cast more than him. Kii Kitano is the young schoolgirl Kaede and she pulls in a fine and sympathetic performance. She looks so fresh faced and this movie came out just as her popularity was increasing. These days she’s not just an actress on the TV and in the movies but a pop star as well. I confess to having a soft spot for Rena Tanaka who plays Cat-Girl so I liked all the scenes she was in very much. For somebody that was 28 years old at the time of filming she looks incredibly young so perhaps that’s why she was chosen to play a teenage character. The rest of the supporting cast (Kitaro’s eyeball father, Ittan Momen (a piece of white long cloth that can fly like a magic carpet) and Nurikabe (I can’t really describe what he is except maybe he looks like the NHK TV channel mascot Domo but Nurikabe is grey, taller and has no mouth and teeth!) have a part to play in pushing the plot along and kids will laugh watching the antics of Ratman and his farting hijinks.

Overall, this movie is a great family/kids movie and it will entertain them no end. There’s a couple of scary scenes which could frighten them but nothing too bad. Quite an enjoyable movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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