HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
   
 
Newest Articles
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
   
 
  Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress A huntress in love with her prey
Year: 2012
Director: Masayuki Miyaji
Stars: Mamoru Miyano, Minako Kotobuki, Atsushi Abe, Hideyuki Umezu, Hirofumi Nojima, Hiroshi Kamiya, Hitori Gekidan, Kanako Miyamoto, Katsuyuki Konishi, Keiji Fujiwara, Kenji Hamada, Maya Sakamoto, Nana Mizuki, Naoto Takenaka, Rokuro Naya, Utamaru Katsura, Chara
Genre: Animated, Romance, Historical, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Hamaji (voiced by Minako Kotobuki), a gun-toting mountain girl in Tokugawa-era (mid-nineteenth century) Japan, is a skilled huntress who survives by herself since her grandfather was killed by a bear. When word reaches Hamaji her brother Dousetsu (Kenji Hamada) wants her to join him in the city of Edo she makes the journey. Lost in the bustling metropolis the clueless country girl is aided by Shino (Mamoru Miyano), a handsome, silver-haired youth who is actually a Fusé: supernatural shape-shifters able to morph into human-dog hybrid forms. Although Shino is kind and helpful, Hamaji learns other Fusé terrorize the region, preying on human hearts. Now, on the orders of Lord Iesada Tokugawa (Hirofumi Nojima), they will be hunted mercilessly. It transpires Dousetsu aims to form a Fusé-slaying partnership with his super-skilled kid sister both to collect the reward money and as a stepping stone to become a government-employed samurai. However, Hamaji's exploits as a monster-hunter are complicated by her fascination and growing feelings for Shino.

Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress has all the ingredients for a rip-roaring action-adventure romp yet interestingly opts for a more rewarding, thought-provoking, character-driven route. Despite a tangled girl meets dog-boy romance suspiciously similar to Rumiko Takahashi's mega-hit Inu Yasha (2000) the film establishes its own identity along with close ties to the Japanese classical novel The Hakkenden. Written as a serialized ninety-six volume novel between 1814 to 1841 The Hakkenden is an essential text in Japanese literature although conceived by author Kyokutei Bakin, a samurai fallen on hard times, as a spin on the earlier Chinese story The Water Margin. Like its Chinese predecessor the source novel became a staple of Japanese film and television with adaptations ranging from the faithful to pretty outlandish including two from celebrated filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku: sci-fi shoot 'em up Message from Space (1978) and period fantasy Legend of the Eight Samurai (1984). For anime fans the definitive screen adaptation remains Takeshi Anno's thirteen-part serial from 1990.

In Fusé the characters actually attend an early kabuki performance of the story, a condensed version focused on its initial chapter: a tragic love story between a human princess and a dog. Along with a significant cameo appearance from the author himself the anime also spotlights Bakin's feisty, bespectacled granddaughter Meido (Kanako Miyamoto), herself an aspiring author. Depicted amusingly like a modern teenage manga artist, Meido quickly becomes heroine Hamaji's close friend and confidante. She also serves as near-postmodern window for viewers, analyzing the significance of events. Towards the end of the film Bakin admits he conceived The Hakkenden in part as a means to combat prejudice directed at the Fusé by mainstream society. This theme runs throughout Fusé the movie which the filmmakers posit as something of a sequel to The Hakkenden. The story deals with class prejudice and the oppression of racial minorities as Hamaji's exploits slowly and uncomfortably open her eyes to the reality of injustice and exploitation in society. The Fusé stand in for every ethnic group abused, exploited and ultimately eliminated throughout the history of Japan. Meido surmises the theme of the story as "cause and effect" but the film also shows how our collective survival instinct often blinds us to what is right and wrong. Screenwriter Ichiro Okouchi, adapting a novel by Kazuki Sakuraba, deftly interweaves fantastical events with vivid historical detail. The climax hammers home a winning message that forgiveness and emotional growth are worth more than vengeance not just for the individual but society as a whole. Plus a clever twist ties the story directly to The Hakkenden.

The animators do an exquisite job recreating the Tokugawa period setting and convey country girl Hamaji's sense of wonder and dislocation amidst the hustle and bustle of city life. While the film does not want for fantastical set-pieces it uniquely sidesteps action to dwell on the minutiae of everyday life, such as the gourmet meals whipped up by Dousetsu's girlfriend Funamushi (Maya Sakamoto), and relationships. For some the plot may amble along too leisurely. The film is notably stronger on details than cohesive storytelling, yet the tale told proves consistently fascinating and the characters are charming. Michiru Oshima's lovely accordion-led score complements the pretty pastel colours that prove the icing on a richly rewarding cake.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1273 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: