Posted by psgels on 16 August 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


Kai Doh Maru is making me rather angry while writing this review. Not because it’s incredibly bad, but because it could have been incredibly good. It’s Production IG’s attempt at making a movie, and they went with another setting of Japan’s history. The interesting thing is that while most anime pick a period around the year 1800, with the samurai and shinsengumi and all, Kai Doh Maru goes further back: to the ninth century.

Those who appreciated Sisters of Wellber know what to expect: really stylized art that fits perfectly, an excellent soundtrack (this one has been composed by Yoshihiro Ike, the same guy who did Ergo Proxy), and a nice amount of the screen-time is spent on fleshing out the characters, creating a great mood for this movie to work with. Only the humour is missing in this one. So why did it disappoint?

Simply enough: it’s too short. If only it had gotten twenty, maybe ten more minutes, it could have been so much better, and it could have made a chance to be memorable. Unfortunately, Kai Doh Maru only has a length of 40 minutes, which may be enough to flesh out its characters, but not to flesh out their backgrounds. Right now, the movie was just way too confusing and failed to answer too many questions. What happened in Kai Doh Maru’s past? Why was he or she hunted, and why does she or he keep changing genders? These questions could have been perfectly answered if more time was given.

Then there’s the issue of the ending: there is none. It just ends, and the bad guys still live. What happens next? We’ll never know. One thing I do know is that I really like Production IG’s style of storytelling; it’s just too bad that this movie screwed up. Nevertheless, despite my ranting, it’s quite an enjoyable movie though; you can give it a try if you’re a fan of their style like me. Just be sure for the rather large plotholes it leaves.

4 Responses

  1. Mali says:

    I agree with you. It could have been amazing but they really did an awful job. It had a really good plot and stuff but they made it just not make very much sense and I wasted a rental.

  2. G8crasha says:

    I’ve just finished watching it now and I really hate the ending – let me correct that, I hate that there is no ending. The OAV goes half-circle and then ends there!

  3. ashimbabbar says:

    I should think the ending is obvious – Onihime totally flipped out upon discovering intoki was actually a girl, there was a fight in which she was killed and Kitoki fatally wounded – so Kintoki stumbles to die besides Raiko’s corpse.

  4. cromagnon says:

    The strength of feeling on some of the reviews of this film is quite interesting. I have just seen it for the first time. I think it is a film that needs to be watched a few times to fully appreciate it. I did find it confusing, and the final scene seemed to violate my expectations of a satisfying ending. The ‘bad guys’ did not appear to get their comeuppance. This is a problem with my expectations though, not the film it’s self. I had a feeling it was going to end badly for the good guys when one of the heroes had his arm lopped off. Not since ‘man bites dog’ have I seen so many of the main characters in the story killed off. At least in MBD, all the characters were thoroughly unlikeable. In Kai Doh Maru, the characters are likeable, even if briefly sketched. Although very short there is a lot of subtleties that belie the film’s simplicity. The end sequence had me re-watching it a few times to try to see exactlywho stabbed who. This was diliberately obscured, but a slight buckling of the knees gives it away. The film begins and ends with events alluded to that are outside of the story. I thought perhaps it was an episode in a series. This, again, is my expectation, not a fault of the story. Once I accept it as a stand alone story, I like how it’s a fragment of a larger tapestry.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @Bam: They’d never allow bringing in toys/games/comics back when I was in school, they thought bringing in such things would make the kids of lower income families feel bad for not being able to afford things.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:31 PM)
    @Mario: He’s actually not a big fan of Iranian cinema, he told me before that he found most of it overly depressing.
    Now what you’re talking about there sounds like my kind of film.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:30 PM)
    @Bam: I’ll get back into the mainstream blockbusters thing as much as I used to be someday. someday….
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:28 PM)
    @Bam: Well, I guess I more brought up the being accused of hipsterism and contrarianism referring to the type of hypothetical person who would never be satisfied with how well you’d defend your opinion.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:25 PM)
    Thats the awkward thing though, when casting a superhero role, its difficult to find someone who can get both identities correct.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:23 PM)
    Bah implying toxic avenger and Italian spiderman aren’t the best superhero films OmO hahaha!
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 08:50 AM)
    Hey Bam, I remember attended a preview on one of an upcoming Iranian animated feature called The Last Fiction. it was inspired by the poem “Shahnameh” and from what I had seen so far, a very stylish, confident and “bloody” work. Expected to be complete in the end of 2017 thou.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:37 AM)
    Comic books were super rare and expensive in Iran, being banned and all. Rich kids in elementary would bring them to school to show them off, along with their Ninja Turtles action figures; they looked so cool and I was hella jealous. Me and my brother only had the bootleg Toxic Crusader figures lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:34 AM)
    @K-off: I didn’t read the comics either. I watched that weird 60s show, and Spiderman and the Amazing Friends, which had Firestar and the ice guy. I know his personality was quippy and kind of a wise-ass, and McGuire looks kinda like a rape victim of sorts. It was a lot better in costume, I admit.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:29 AM)
    I mean if we use the term fanboy for whenever someone feels strongly about something, then what’ll we have left for people who LARP and insist to be called by their WoW character names and dress up in gear and persistently speak in fake ‘Ol English?

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