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.