[For the month of July, Japanator's sister site Flixist will be covering the Japan Cuts film festival, which is running in New York City from the 12th until the 28th. For your convenience, we will be posting review roundups here, but you can find all of Flixist's coverage here, and their coverage of the New York Asian Film Festival here.]
Japan Cuts is a mere two days away, but with NYAFF in full swing, we have already had a chance to see some of what there is to see. On the Japanese front, we've got the animated story of a young cannibal boy. It's kind of a light day, what with the whole not happening yet thing, but come next week it's going to be pretty crazy. I saw that some of you bought your tickets already, and that is awesome. We will be attending some of those screenings, and letting you know about the quality of others in advance. When we can, we'll let you know with two days to spare. Like now.
So without further ado, let's get this party started.
Asura (Ashura | アシュラ)
Synopsis: In 15th-century Kyoto, at the foot of a wrecked shrine, a beast is born in fire and destruction. Plunged into an age of war, chaos and starvation, and taught to eat human flesh by the madwoman who gave birth to him, he is called "Asura," for the warlike Buddhist spirit, or "anti-god." Based on George Akiyama's legendary banned manga, Asura is a brutal anti-Miyazaki movie about the depths we'll sink to in the worst of times. Lensed by anime veteran Keiichi Sato and featuring two legendary Japanese voice actresses, Masako Nozawa (Dragonball, Galaxy Express 999) and Megumi Hayashibara (Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion), it is, like its creator, harsh, uncompromising and relentless. But underneath the scars it has a battered, bleeding, burning human heart.
Thoughts: Although conceptually interesting, Asura is not nearly as interesting or as epic as it should be. It has a very distracting visual style that kept me at arm's length through the entire film, and the unnecessary amount of expository dialogue kills any sense of pacing that it could have. The people in the theater around me seemed to have enjoyed it far more than I did, so it clearly has an audience. As it is, though, the film's flashes of brilliance can't save it from being mired in complete and utter decency.
Verdict: Wait for it. [Read the full review]
From other sites around the web