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Genre: Action/Fantasy
Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Kou Shibasaki, Eita, Kiichi Nakai, Mieko Harada, Kumiko Aso, Hitori Gekidan
Director: Akihiko Shiota
Rating: NC-16 (Some Violence)
Year Made: 2007



- Cast Filmographies




Languages: Japanese/Cantonese
Subtitles: English/Traditional Chinese
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital EX 6.1 /DTS ES 6.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 19 mins
Region Code: NTSC 3
Official Website:




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.

It 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.

Osamu 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.

The 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.

It 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.

The 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.

With 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.


The 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 good. 



Review by Linus Tee


Other titles You Might Like:

. Shaolin Girl (2008)

. The Warlords (2007)

. Crows Zero (2007)

. Nada Sou Sou (2006)


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