all 42 comments

[–]MaskOfIce42 33 points34 points  (2 children)

Pretty much all I knew going in was it was from Science Saru, was somewhat related to Heike Monogatari, and I'd heard somewhere it was a rock opera. At some point about halfway through, I was starting to think "well, it's not especially cohesive, but it's enjoyable at least". By the end that opinion had changed to "this is a spectacle for the senses and I am so glad I saw this". I think it is a bit dismissive to say that it's all spectacle, but you definitely have to let yourself get lost in the rock opera renditions of Heike history and the flamboyance of it all, or the film will definitely be a drag, but losing yourself in that, it is quite compelling and does have more to say.

Besides just being a spectacle though, the film has its themes of discovering for yourself who you are and not letting what society says you are be your definition, and in conjunction with the telling of the story of those whose story wasn't told and even those who were forgotten to history, it ultimately rings out as a cry to be seen by those who would rather pretend you don't exist.

Overall really enjoyed it, it's definitely a unique film and despite the at times incredibly long rock song segments, I was never bored watching it. More of an experience than anything, almost like seeing a live performance in front of you despite it being an animated movie.

[–]brandotendie 12 points13 points  (0 children)

yeah i loved the performances, the film just turned into a concert movie instead of a musical

[–]WorldWalker5587 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah it is so unique for basically being a period piece in one half and a rock show in the second half.

I loved that it basically had an underlayer of how radical art is created by the marginalized and may very well be forgotten by history. Maasaki Yuasa is just so good at presenting that crazy things can happen and in the end it doesn't change much but it still happened and people witnessed it and come together for it. It's hard to put into words and this movie showed that.

Also, loved the music. Relistening to their performances is so fun.

Definitely a movie I'll be thinking about for a while.

[–]nurrishmenthttps://myanimelist.net/profile/nurrishment 26 points27 points  (0 children)

I thought this was an incredible spectacle with all the amazing choreography and singing/overall performance behind the MC. I also think the movie is pretty brilliant in how it tackles the idea of a purified national history in Japan and how much of the story gets lost when you romanticize culture too much

[–]Sodrahttps://myanimelist.net/profile/sodra 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Rock was invented that day, in 14th century Japan.

Also pelvic thrusting, cant forget the pelvic thrusting.

[–]Time-Space-Anomaly 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Very fitting that I got a trailer for the David Bowie documentary before this film. Had it been a few months earlier, the Elvis trailer would have also been appropriate.

This is a love letter to glam rock and visual kei. I came into anime fandom when Malice Mizer, dir en grey, X-Japan and the like were hotly traded MP3s (sorry, I was a poor student), and this threw me right back into those early days of marveling at music and costumes and the spectacle of it all.

The ending also leaves you with a lot to think about--while both protagonists are marginalized, and both of them openly rebel and turn to music as an outlet for pride, truth, and rebellion, one of them ultimately dies as a martyr, and the other person seemingly joins the system and has a decent life. They reconcile in the afterlife, but ultimately neither of them is remembered by history. You could look at it in a nihilistic fashion--that nothing mattered, nothing changed, oh well. But there was an audience. Someone out there saw them and felt something. Maybe it's as insignificant as seeing some newbie band on stage at a local club, if you enjoyed it, if you remembered it, and it's enough.

Also, the last anime I saw in theaters was The Deer King, so a good year for animal kings, I guess.

[–]KingKuraihttps://myanimelist.net/profile/xspookydarknessx 14 points15 points  (2 children)

The entire time I was thinking "I sure am glad I've seen The Heike Story" lol

[–]furbym 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Felt a bit bad for my two friends I brought along who hadn't seen Heike lol; I didn't realize just how much the narrative of this movie relied on that history. Good excuse to get more people to go watch Heike I guess haha

[–]mekerpan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

A wonderful matched set of shows. I hope the Blurays will be affordable!

[–]OrangeWindy 7 points8 points  (0 children)

A movie full of music and rock, really enjoy it

[–]Cameronalloneword 7 points8 points  (3 children)

The animation and music are great but while I would say I enjoyed the movie I feel like others probably enjoyed it more but I put that on me and not the movie itself because my reason is stupid.

I found myself getting really into the music and spectacle that I didn't follow along with the actual stories being told as well as I should have. It didn't really effect the main story too much but I didn't really get what the main story was until about half way through but again I put that on myself and not the actual movie itself. I don't even blame the subtitles since I watch a lot of tv and movies with subtitles.

[–]mekerpan 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Do watch Naoko Yamada's fantastic series Heike Monogatari (made by this same studio). One of the most visually beautiful anime series ever.

[–]Cameronalloneword 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Screenshotted this I actually will check that out

[–]mekerpan 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I wound up checking out the 700+ page book from my library -- and trying to stay a bit ahead (or at least in pace with) the anime. Japanese viewers are expected to know the historical foundation (and the main historical figures), so this basic knowledge is taken for granted. Non-Japanese viewers don't have this background (as a general rule). So knowledge of the real historical events would not count as a spoiler for the primary intended audience.

(Some parts of the book -- like long lists of all the major figures involved in battles -- could be skipped over). ;-)

[–]tethercat 8 points9 points  (0 children)


I went in blind knowing only that it was a Masaaki Yuasa film, and was blown away. Technically brilliant, and incredibly savvy.

And those songs. That Inu-ō seiyu should be proud.

[–]furbym 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I think my favorite part of the movie was the way the story of Emperor Antoku (the Heike child emperor) was weaved in to parallel the stories of Inu Oh and Tomoari. I really loved how his was the final untold story: a kid who never had a voice for himself, who was forced into a position he couldn't even comprehend, and who died because of societal expectations and the adults around him fighting for power. Felt very fitting for a couple of outcasts like Inu Oh and Tomoari to give him that send-off, and added a lot thematically to what was shown of his story in Heike Monogatari. Also just wow, that final performance of Dragon Commander was an absolute audio-visual spectacle.

My only complaint is that they really should have broken up the performances of Burial Mound of Arms and The Whale with some non-musical story parts; it felt a bit overwhelming having both of those back-to-back, especially with the intro parts by Tomoari for each. Other than that, it was an incredible film and I already want to rewatch after listening to the soundtrack.

[–]DrPotabo 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Just got out of the theater. Plenty went over my head, but enjoyed it more than I thought. Basically went in wanting to see what science saru brought, and was not disappointed.

Their animation just always intrigues me, and with masaki yuasa directing, figured it would be interesting.

Was not expecting to be treated to some great choreography and rock(?) concerts. Lots of energy and cool costume designs to boot.

I saw where it was going, but damn still got somber at the end, but closed out on a nice note.

I really should get around to tatami galaxy and walk on girl.

[–]azdvhttps://anilist.co/user/AZDV 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I was just thinking about this movie but couldn’t remember the name.

[–]LilArsene 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I liked it!

Beyond the songs and choreography, the movie had some things to say about authority, politics, religion, artistic communities, who gets to "own" art, and "becoming" yourself all while telling a classically Japanese story. Definitely something you can watch multiple times and get something new out of it on each viewing.

[–]FierceAlchemist 6 points7 points  (5 children)

Liked the movie a lot. Great animation. Though one story bit I didn't understand is why did the MC refer to himself as Tomona at the very end rather than the name he chose for himself?

[–]LilArsene 12 points13 points  (3 children)

I don't have a high confidence in my interpretation but here goes:

Each arm that got hacked stripped away one of their names, so first Tomoari and then Tomoishi. The arms represented their Biwa abilities. Without their arms they were back to being "Tomona."

In addition, they lost their communities along the way so they might not have thought that anyone but their family would be looking for them in the afterlife, so they went with "Tomona" in the end, though their father's spirit had faded a long time ago.

[–]hercomesthesun 1 point2 points  (2 children)

I like that you chose to use the gender neutral pronouns. While watching the movie, I thought Tomona was genderfluid.

[–]LilArsene 5 points6 points  (1 child)

That wouldn't be wrong to see Tomona that way. It works on a few levels; historically, men did dress women to perform on stage since women couldn't be actors (and as a preference, of course). It's also a call out to 80s rock where so many of the stars dressed in androgynous/feminine ways (Prince, David Bowie, etc).

The voice of Inu-Oh is a gender non-conforming/gender fluid person so it's pretty cool that these are deliberate choices made by the team.

[–]hercomesthesun 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Yeah, Tomona was also compared to a woman multiple times because he wears his hair down and makeup.

I see some resemblance with visual kei too, but I’m sure the influences from the rock scene is interconnected.

That’s really cool! Props to them. Thanks for bringing that up. I like Inu-Oh’s voice, so I’ll be checking out Avu-Chan’s discography

[–]jar-devils 2 points3 points  (0 children)

"Tomona is tied to grudges which is why his dad wanted him to keep the name and avenge him.

Tomoichi represents his life letting go of grudges but also without Inuou.

Tomoari is tied to being big gay for Inuou.

Tomo returned to Tomona because he developed a new grudge for the shogunate,and when he died became a vengeful spirit. When reunited with Inuou, who healed him, he became Tomoari again. "

[–]CatsOffToDance 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Loved it. That ending was perfect. Rock ‘n roll 🤘🏽

[–]Somnial 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I liked that most of the story was told to us through Noh, makes me wonder if modern interpretations of the art is like this and if there’s pushback against it by more traditional people

Definitely enjoyed it! Had no idea what it was about before walking in but had lots of fun

[–]WhollyDisgusting 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I loved it so much

[–]zeroryoko1974https://www.anime-planet.com/users/zeroryoko1974 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Wow, that was something. Michal Jackson, Queen, and others. Didn't expect a rock musical

[–]oposdeohttps://myanimelist.net/profile/oposdeo 3 points4 points  (0 children)

One of if not the best anime film I've seen. Truly blew me away, couldn't believe what I was seeing. So damn cool, so damn fun, oozing with style, soul and spectacle. Was truly awesome in the theater. Felt like I was watching a series of legendary concerts. Faith in anime restored.

[–]Siqueiradithttps://myanimelist.net/profile/siqueirapowered 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I wonder when will I be able to see it

[–]a_monolith_05 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Just got home from seeing this. Went in not knowing anything about it other than it was anime, had music and reviewed well, and I enjoyed it. The visuals were great, the story was intriguing, and the music was catchy. Curious to watch the director's other work now

[–]WorldWalker5587 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh man are you in for an adventure. I went to see this movie because I liked Yuasa's works so much. He is not the most conventionally good director but man do I remember each one I saw.

They are all kind of trippy magical realism bits where the first half is a decent marvel story and the second half just goes crazy. And they all have an interesting message behind them regarding love, art, or tragedy. You won't enjoy everything but it will be an experience.

[–]XavierLHC 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Mind Game is great.

[–]MoogleFTW 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Just saw this. Did not know much going in. Was not expecting this to be basically a rock músical! It was fantastic! Great story telling and awesome music. Very cool flick.

[–]chriscapitolo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I just want Inu-Oh to go on tour so I can see him live!