The Warlord "Kagemitsu" Dynastic year
3048. A vast territory stretching to the far east lies scorched,
mired in decades of civil warfare. A battle-weary warlord,
Daigo Kagemitsu is determined to end the anarchy and unify
the land. In need of power, he turns to the demon underworld
for help. A deal is made but the price is a son, born to him
without eyes, ears, mouth or any limbs, all of which have
been parceled out to 48 different demons that inhabit the
land. Kagemitsu orders his "abomination" destroyed.
But his wife, Yuri decides to send the infant down river in
a basket, subject to the winds of fate.
Based on a 60’s manga by the late Osamu Tezuka, "Dororo"
tells the story of Hyakkimaru whose ambitious father made
a pact with the demons to help him unify the world. In order
to fulfil his wish, he has to offer his unborn son’s
48 body parts to the demons. However, instead of endearing
to his father’s wish to kill him, Hyakkimaru’s
mum left him floating down a river bed and Hyakkimaru is later
rescued by a recluse doctor.
might sound a bit morbid given that Hyakkimaru’s temporary
body parts and limbs come from the dead babies his adopted
father found on the battlefield. You have to really watch
it with an open mind as Osamu’s works are not meant
to offend in any way. In fact, given that the story is set
in the Warring states period, its eye-opening that the methods
used to reconstruct Hyakkimaru is beyond the latest medical
technology can employed even in today’s standard.
dubbed Father of anime‘s outstanding legacy and infamous
creations include "Astroboy" and "Kimba",
"Dororo" is another creative, wildly imaginative
example coming out from the hands of Osamu. As the story progresses,
Hyakkimaru has grown to a fine young man (played by Satoshi
Tsumabuki from "Nada Sou Sou"). It is believed that
to get back all his body limbs, he has to go around slaying
all the demons who took it.
weird demonic looking monsters and ghouls in "Dororo"
come to live with the clever use of CG and puppetry effects.
Demon spider, demon birdman, demon dogs and there’s
even a man-in-suit monster (commonly seen in Ultraman live-action
series) which is deployed to stifle your imagination. Some
of the live-action monster effects might look too cheesy at
close range but it shouldn’t be much of a hindrance
to your enjoyment given that this is what the Japanese are
famous for. HK action maestro Tony Ching Siu-Tong is even
hired to choreograph the action in the movie. He did manage
a great job here balancing the samurai style of fighting without
overlapping it with too much HK wire works.
seem that no expenses are spared as the production crew actually
went all the way to New Zealand to capture all the scenic
shots (which explains the marketing tagline on the cover proclaiming
'Filmed in the same location as Lord of the Rings') although
you can’t really differentiate much till the final sequence
in the movie.
female audience might be overwhelmed by Satoshi’s good
looks, I wouldn’t say he did a perfect job playing Hyakkimaru,
at least he did look almost in tune with the character with
that mulling facial expression and that cool sword-in-hand
posture. Kou Shibasaki (last seen in "Shaolin Girl")
played Dororo, sidekick of Hyakkimaru who presumably a potential
love interest. The tricky part is that Dororo is supposedly
a male in the original manga but here the character is believed
to be a female disguising as a male to avoid being killed
by his or her father’s enemies.
a running time of 139 minutes, "Dororo" is an action,
fantasy movie that takes it time to develop at times. There
are a few sequences whereby the various characters indulge
in pages of dialogue so impatient viewers might need to be
aware of that. Other than that, there is few complaints from
this reviewer as he has a rolling good time hanging out with
Hyakkimaru and Dororo. Last I heard, there’s going to
be two more sequels as the current story ends with a cliffhanger.
We are reminded that Hyakkimaru still has 24 demons to slay
till he gets back his own body before the credits rolled.
There’s only a short cast filmographies in this code
3 DVD from HK.
DVD comes with the original Japanese and also a Cantonese
audio track. The sound mix is available in both Dolby Digital
6.1 and DTS 6 so you won’t miss the exhilarating sound
reproduction especially during the action sequences. I’m
not particularly sure if some of the grainy shots are intended
by the filmmakers, other than that, the visual is reasonably
Review by Linus Tee