Date: 2022 September 26 19:34
Posted by Joe
There's lots of anime coming out in cinemas in the UK and Ireland this year. Anime Limited have been the driving force releasing the bulk of titles recently. Their latest cinematic offering Inu-Oh hits cinemas on Wednesday 28th September 2022.
The movie is an electric eclectic mix of Japanese History, traditional music fused with a rock musical. That's not something you'd consider everyday! The film is directed by Masaaki Yuasa, whose other works include the brilliant Night is Short, Walk on Girl, Lu over the Wall, Ride Your Wave and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
If you're curious and want to know more about Inu-Oh the read our spoiler free review to find out more!
Inu-Oh is director Masaaki Yuasa latest cinematic outing. With Studio Science SARU he has released some amazing and unique films including Lu Over the Wall, The Night Is Short Walk on Girl, Ride Your Wave, along with some awesome TV series including Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, Devilman Crybaby and Pingpong. Each of Yuasa's titles are completely different, you can't predict what he'll do next, which brings us on to Inu-Oh a rock musical set in 14th century Japan!
The film tells the story of an unlikely duo. Inu-Oh (the king of dogs) is a strange masked character, who meets and teams up with Tomona a blind biwa player (a Japanese instrument similar to a lute). Together they perform a rock act telling the story of the fallen Heike clan from 200 years ago. With Tomona rocking his biwa like an electric guitar he sets the scene for Inu-Oh to sing about the historical battles of The Heike. Each performance comes across as thoroughly modern with stage lighting, pyrotechnics and similar stage effects all with 14th Century technology. There's nods to other rock acts such as Queen (the warm up sequence to one song feels like We Will Rock You), with a tip of the hat to The Who and Tommy. The performances are kinetic, surreal and psychedelic, making them hypnotic. Each performance feels as it's almost live, capturing that vibrancy and energy you'd expect from a real rock concert. The original Japanese voice actors have a huge part to play in this with their singing performances.
The characters are created by Taiyo Matsumoto, who created Ping Pong and Sunny. The character design is detailed, you can see their realistic wonky teeth, lines in their lips. They are a very different style to the cartoony character designs in other Science SARU products such as Lu Over the Wall, The Night Is Short Walk on Girl.
The colour palette chosen matches a wood block print look, with subdued colours. It's almost like watching animated ukiyo-e print. Lavish fabrics of nobles are especially detailed with the pattern remaining fixed as the character moves around (we love that effect).
As the story evolves, so does the animation. It starts off very restricted and constrained, with what feels like limited movement and then gets more rapid and detailed as the story and music advances.
The movie is inspired by The Tale of the Heike, which is a compilation of stories from various sources telling the rise and fall of the Taira clan. It's an historic epic, but it might not be familiar to everyone outside of Japan, so like the audience in Inu-Oh you too are learning about Japanese history.
What's interesting is that Science SARU also created the TV show, The Heike Story, based on the same source material, but it is a very different adaptation. It charts the stories of the Taira clan as they happened. I think both The Heike Story and Inu-Oh are complementary of each other and worthy of your time. You'll learn a lot about Japanese history from different perspectives, but with Inu-Oh you'll get an amazingly animated rock musical experience!
This movie feels like it's a must watch on the big screen. It's about rock and roll and rebellion and standing up to authority. It's a movie to be as experienced as it is to be enjoyed. There's nothing quite like it and that's part of what makes it such fun to watch!
Inu-Oh hits cinemas on Wednesday 28th September 2022 thanks to the good folks at Anime Limited. To find a screening near you visit Inu-Oh.co.uk