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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Kou Shibasaki, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita and Anna Tsuchiya
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 07 September 2009

With a promise of world domination for the price of 48 parts of his new son body, Daigo Kagemitsu agrees, but his mother sets him afloat on a river before his father can kill the deformed child. Rescued by Dr. Honma, a mystic and medicine man, the child grows to be a formidable warrior, helped by Honma’s prosthetic limbs and a sword grafted onto his left arm. When he attains manhood Hyakkimaru sets himself a quest to find the demons who have his body parts, kill them and return his lost body. Along the way he meets Dororo, a feisty thief, who has taken on the mantle of a man to wage her own vendetta against Daigo...

Dororo (2007 - 2 hrs, 12 min, 51 sec) is a fantasy action film, based on the original manga. Directed by Akihiko Shiota from a screenplay co-written with Masa Nakamura, the film presents a pretty convincing addition to the fantasy genre.

To get the most out of the film you have to know a little about the original manga. There Dororo was a small child and Kou Shibasaki’s performance tried to capture the wild innocent exuberance in her childlike performance. It does mean that her performance can appear a little strange, but placed in the context of the original story it makes a kind of sense.

Satoshi Tsumabuki plays the Japanese version of Edward Scissorhands, who at the beginning of the film has clearly lost much of his humanity when he lost his body parts. As he kills various demons and recovers his humanity the story takes a tragic turn when he discovers that the man he means to kill is his father. It’s an over the top silly plot, but the film takes itself very seriously; you would be forgiven in thinking that they were making a Japanese version of Hamlet.

The special effects are a little cartoony, which is in keeping with the film, but believable and are well choreographed, the only downside of the film, or bonus depending on your tastes, is the amount of wire work, so beloved of Japanese fantasy fables. I don’t know if I have seen too much, but it is starting to look a bit samey.

The film's audio is presented in Japanese Dolby 5.1 and Japanese DTS 5.1, the DTS track takes the laurels as the superior audio. There are optional English subtitles. The disc has a few extras notably Road to Dororo (35 min, 52 sec) which is partly a look at the making of the film and partly a record of its debut showing all infused with Japanese exuberance. There are some deleted scenes (8 min, 14 sec), none of which really add to the finished film, although the eyeballs on sticks are quite funny. Next up is four trailers for the film and a stills gallery.

Although it is a silly premise I have to admit to enjoying the film a lot, so turn your mind off and enter into the madness that is Dororo.


Charles Packer

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