Director: Kazuaki Kiriya
Starring: Yusuke Iseya, Kumiko Aso , Toshiaki
Karasawa , Akira Terao, Kanako Higuchi,
Fumiyo Kohinata, Hiroyuki Miyasako, Mayumi Sada, Hidetoshi Nishijima
RunTime: 2 hrs 16 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & Prestige
Date: 25 November 2004 (Exclusively at Cathay Cineplex
some time in the 21st century when, after 50 years of continuous
war, the whole planet has been poisoned by chemical, biological
and nuclear warfare, and the human race is exhausted. Then
a geneticist Azuma develops a revolutionary “neo-cell”
treatment that can rejuvenate the body and regenerate humankind,
including his wife, Midori.
fiancé, Tetsuya (Azuma’s son), dies in a tragic
incident whilst on military service in Zone Seven. An accident
occurs in Azuma’s lab, a race of mutant humans escape.
The mutant’s self-appointed leader, Brai, vows to eliminate
the human race with his robot warriors. A hellish battle ensues
involving human and robots.
revives his son and asks Luna’s father, an armour scientist,
to look after Tetsuya. Casshern, the warrior reincarnated
with an invincible body, tries to stop the war to save the
extraordinary tale of science fantasy and social relevance,
CASSHERN is a story of man's best-laid plans paving
the way to potential destruction.
A great war has left the world dying from pollution and disease.
Dr. Azuma’s “Neo-Cells” promise to save
humanity, but when a bizarre fork of lightning strikes the
military research facility, the spare human pieces he is attempting
to grow for the experiment are turned into a race of mutant
humans. The military quickly overreacts and guns down all
but a few of them, who manage to escape.
Azuma’s son, Tetsuya, left for the battlefield a year
previously was killed in action, and his body is delivered
to the lab on the very day of the incident. The mutants having
escaped, the Dr, in grief, takes his son and immerses him
into the “neo-cells,” bringing Tetsuya back to
life. However, the regeneration of the cells is too much for
Tetsuya’s body, hence the introduction of a prototype
military power suit, built by Luna’s father (Luna is
the mutants escape into the mountains and stumble across an
abandoned castle housing an army of robots. The leader of
the four remaining mutants declares that the humans, who have
created and spurned them, must all die.
is where you would think it settles into the mutant vs. human,
super hero spectacle. And for a while, it almost does. The
scene in which Casshern first appears, and the following two
fights, is so incredibly cool that any attempt to describe
them just falls pathetically short. Running up the sides of
buildings, leaping high into the air, catching shells with
his bare hands and throwing them back are just some truly
insanely intense stuff. With this halfway through the movie,
I really wondered how they where going to top it for a finale.
they don’t. The movie continues to go deeper with just
sword fights and things blowing up. There is a climactic final
battle between the human army and the mutant’s robots,
and Casshern plays a part in it – but by this point
it is very much a story about him, his family and the characters
around him, and why they are all fighting. There is no “super
hero saves the world” here, no clean cut answer, and
I think many people not accustomed to the Japanese style of
story telling my well be uncomfortable with the fact that
Casshern could ultimately be seen to fail in his role as a
are other elements here that may not wash in mainstream audience.
The fork of lightening that strikes the lab and causes the
whole incident in the first place is never really explained.
Very little explanation is given as to why there is an abandoned
castle full of robots out in the mountains. Japanese story
telling does not require even major plot points to be spelled
out, or even explained at all, and Japanese audiences don’t
expect everything to be explained either.
One aspect that I was truly impressed was its style. First
time movie director, Kazuaki Kiriya is famous as a photographer
and music video director. His background in visual arts shows
through in almost every shot, especially as he is also director
of photography and the editor of the film.
The first hour of the movie is all story and characters mainly.
It was nice to see an action movie putting story and character
development first, but I didn't understand what the hell was
going on for about 45 minutes. The story itself was a good
story but sadly their execution confused the hell out of me.
I will say that the ending to the movie was great and quite
risky, especially to the mainstream audiences. I did like
the ending though for the most part since it brought its message
home and left it off on a somewhat positive note. That, the
action sequences and the addition of some great looking girls
were the only things I really liked in this movie. Maybe if
only I understood Japanese, I would have even loved the story