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Vice Interrogation: Dororo

The live-action flick based on Osamu Tezuka's manga is pretty fun, if a bit cheesy.

 I was able to watch this movie for free via Comcast's on demand system, but it's coming out on DVD tomorrow, so I thought I'd let you know how it was so you can decide if you want to run out and buy it. (Hint: I'd strongly consider it.)

Vital Stats:

Title: Dororo
Japanese Title: どろろ
Studio: Touhou Company
Licensor: Universal Studios
Based On: Osamu Tezuka's classic manga

The Story

 
 
 

The Review

If you haven't read Osamu Tezuka's manga Dororo, you should do yourself a favor and pick it up. Vertical has released all four volumes of the manga in English, and although it feels vaguely unfinished-- we get so used to action manga like this that just keep going and going --it's pretty excellent, at least if you're able to get past the old-fashioned and simplistic art on a somewhat more sophisticated and serious story.
 
 That's a biiiig baby. (Kinda maybe NSFW? Hard to tell...)
 That's a biiiig baby. (Kinda maybe NSFW? Hard to tell...)
As far as the film goes, it's a very high-budget film for Japan, but that doesn't mean that some of the effects won't look a bit cheesy to American eyes. Most of the CG is pretty well done, including the return of Hyakkimaru's body parts, but some of the monsters look a little "Go Go Power Rangers!" if you know what I mean. One in particular, a baby demon made up of the souls of children who were apparently killed in a fire, looks like a weird mix of "dude in a costume" and CG effect.
 
The acting is traditionally Japanese, which means it may feel a bit more surface-only than the sort that's more typical in American films, but in this case it works well: Hyakkimaru is quiet and reticent, and Dororo is a kid, so what might normally feel like over-acting works really well here. I had a couple of mild problems with the pacing, because the movie tries to follow the manga (and does so pretty faithfully), which means that we get through a couple of different "arcs," as it were. But I'd rather see them get through a solid chunk and do it very well than chop the thing up terribly, so it worked out pretty well.
 
All in all it was a pretty enjoyable movie, with some mildly cheesy moments. If I was going to pick watching the movie again versus reading the manga again I'd pick the manga-- since it's four volumes, it takes only a little longer than watching the film --but it's a perfectly enjoyable rendition of the series, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do in the subsequent sequels, scheduled for '09 and '10 respectively.

IF, THEN

If you like these series, you may like the Dororo film.
- InuYasha
- Blade of the Immortal
- Black Jack

Release Info

JP Release Date: In theaters '07
US Release Date: On DVD Sept. 23
Special Features: (I didn't watch it on DVD, so I'm not entirely sure-- this is what I was able to glean via Amazon)
- Japanese language, English subs (no dub)
- Widescreen
Black_Roseon Sept. 22, 2009 at 7:24 p.m.
The style reminds me of Azumi, which I loved, I'll definitely check it out. 

Dig Deeper into Dororo

A live-action film based on Tezuka's classic manga.

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