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Dororo

Dororo“Described as having ‘acrobatic martial
  arts action and plenty of humour
,
  Dororo is a tragic but satisfying tale
  from father-of-Manga Osamu Tezuka
  about a father
s lust for power having
  grave consequences when he strikes
  an unbreakable bargain with demons
...

DESPERATE TO PRESERVE the predominance of his clan and hungry for power, samurai warlord Daigo Kagemitsu (Kiichi Nakai) makes a dreadful pact with 48 demons for the ability to conquer and rule the world in exchange for the body parts of his first born son. It is the year 3084 in the Sengoku Period (1477) and war has been raging for decades.

His son, Tahomaru, is born with a limbless torso and an eyeless, earless head and Daigo's first thought is to kill the child. His wife persuades him to let her put the baby in a basket to float down the river.

The infant is found and adopted by a mystical physician, a shaman who has mastered the art of attaching artificial limbs and organs to bodies. He rebuilds the child and calls him Hyakkimaru (Satoshi Tsunabuki: The Fast And The Furious; Tokyo Drift).

Twenty years later, Hyakkimaru sets out to track down the demons to destroy them and claim back his body parts in order to become fully human. He meets a sassy young woman who calls herself 'the world's greatest thief'. Raised as a boy by her parents to make her emotionally stronger, she is self-sufficient and courageous in this hostile environment. In seeking Hyakkimaru's name, she adopts the name 'Dororo', meaning 'little monster'.

From here the film develops into a sometimes horrific, sometimes beautiful journey of revenge and ambition. Through war-torn lands and facing many dangers, Hyakkimaru and Dororo become closer. But there is a secret that may drive them apart forever.

The film has echoes of Frankenstein, Edward Scissorhands and Pinocchio and under the expert direction of Akira Kurosawa it becomes a fantastically enjoyable, innovative and very visual comedy-horror with supernatural threads and spectacular martial arts action binding together strange and amazing creatures, magical blades, compassion, generosity, ruthlessness and deception to create a colourful and terrifically compelling film.

Dororo is based on the enduring 1960s manga series by the legendary Osamu Tezuka (creator of Astro Boy) and its subsequent anime television series adaptation. Dororo finally gets the big-budget, big-screen treatment it deserves as a live-action feature with Japanese superstar Kou Shibasaki (Memories of Matsuko; One Missed Call; Battle Royale) in the title role.

Dororo also features Eita (Memories of Matsuko) as Tahomaru II; Tetta Sugimoto as Sabame; Anna Tsuchiya (Sakuran; Kamikaze Girls) as Sabame's Wife; Kumiko Aso as Dororo's Mother; Gekidan Hitori as Gangster; Katsuo Nakamura as Travelling Musician/Storyteller; Yoshio Harada as Shaman; and Mieko Harada as Yuri.

The film is Directed by Akihiko Shiota (Canary; Harmful Insect) and Produced by Takashi Hirano. From an original story by Tezuka Osamu, the screenplay is by Naka Masa Mura and Akihiko Shiota. Dororo features action choreography by Hong Kong action maestro Siu-Tung Chin (Curse Of The Golden Flower; House Of Flying Daggers; Hero); The Creative Designer is Tomo Hyakutake; Music is by Goro Yasukawa Yenchang and Cinematography is by Takahide Shibanushi.

Filmed in Methven, New Zealand, this epic, supernatural fantasy proved to be a major box office smash in Japan, topping the movie charts for an unprecedented six consecutive weeks. A thoroughly enjoyable film!

Dororo is released on DVD by MVM Entertainment on 7 September 2009. Certificate: 15 | RRP: £15.99 | Extras: Road To Dororo | Deleted Scenes | Original Trailers | Stills Gallery | Trailers (Original Comic by Osamu Tezuka).

"…under the expert direction of Akira Kurosawa, Dororo becomes a fantastically enjoyable, innovative and very visual comedy-horror with supernatural threads and spectacular martial arts action" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar