Film Review: Inu-Oh

It’s really hard to understand Japanese society’s relationship with Manga and anime from the outside. While, in the West, animation is largely reserved for Disney and similar children’s movies, in the land of the rising sun it permeates every element of popular culture. However, it’s not just a medium reserved for edgy pulp fiction or blood-drenched samurai. You’ve probably never seen anything quite like Inu-Oh.

After his father is killed by a strange artefact, which deprives him of his sight, Tomona (Mirai Moriyama) becomes a member of a blind biwa troop. Inu-Oh (Avu-chan) was born with unique physical characteristics which resulted in him being branded as a monster. Shunned, he’s forced to wear a mask and cover up his entire body. When the pair meet, it unleashes his ability to dance. Their talents are rewarded with fame and fortune but why were they cursed with these unusual characteristics?

Inu-Oh is a visually arresting rock opera which tackles a traditional story in an unusual way. Set in 14th century Japan and based on Tales of the Heike: Inu-Oh by Hideo Furukawa, Masaaki Yuasa’s anime will delight with its sumptuous design and propulsive music. Where it may struggle to connect is through a narrative which is tangled and occasionally incoherent. That aside, Inu-Oh is sure to enthral and amaze, in equal measure.

Inu-Oh is out in select UK cinemas on 28 September.

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