|One of the Finest Historical Animes Ever Made||2 out of 2 users found this review helpful.|
Anime as a genre has been around for over half a century, but it wasn't until the 1980s that high quality, feature-length theatrical anime movies began to be regularly released. One of the first really great historical fiction anime features was The Dagger of Kamui.
The Dagger of Kamui is a sprawling epic that begins in a small fishing village at the northern end of Honshu, where the young half-Ainu foundling, Jiro, comes home to find his mother and sister have been murdered. Mistaken for the murderer by the villagers, Jiro flees. He's found by the Buddhist priest Tenkai, who takes him to the island of Ezo to be trained as a shinobi warrior. Thus begins an epic journey that will take Jiro from the far north of Russia to the deserts of Nevada, and with an unlikely group he fights ninjas, hunts for Captain Kidd's treasure, and eventually takes on the Tokugawa Shogunate itself.
Considering it's age, the animation in The Dagger of Kamui is outstanding. The one drawback is probably the effects, both visual and sound, which are pretty unsubtle by modern standards (glowing blood, swords that glow, moonlight as solid beams, etc.), but it was from an era where special effects animation was brand new, so one can understand why they might have gone a little overboard.
If you don't speak Japanese, and you are watching the subtitled version, be prepared to hit the pause button from time to time. The film was based on a series of novels, and the sheer amount of material condensed here, and the rapidity of dialogue in parts, means that you're going to have to pause or rewind in order to catch everything, unless you are a speed reader.
Rich in historical detail, and epic in scale, The Dagger of Kamui is highly recommended. It still stands as one of the best historical fiction based anime films ever made.