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Recently in youkai / obakemono Category

GeGeGe no Kitaro 2: Sennen Noroi Uta
[Kitaro and the Millennium Curse]

Genre: Youkai-filled Supernatural Thriller

review in one breath

GeGeGe no Kitaro is back! And this time he must solve the mystery of a 1000 year old curse exacting its toll on humans and monsters alike. In a more adult-centric episode, with a darker storyline, a myriad of creepy creatures and more mature special effects, this live-action version of Mizuki Shigeru's beloved manga character will not disappoint. This is the second live-action film directed by Motoki Katsuhide focusing on the exploits of the half-human, half-youkai Kitaro.



Hiruko: Goblin Hunter
[Hiruko: Youkai Hantaa]

Genre: Good-Natured, Traditional Monster Adventure

review in one breath

Hiruko - Goblin Hunter (1990) was immediately well-received among the Japanese public. The lead actor, Sawada Kenji, is far more well-known in Japan for his early days as the popular rock star Julie. His singing career easily segued into an acting career due to his personability. He has appeared in numerous films, often in leading roles, with great success and acceptance by Japanese audiences. His appearance in Hiruko was no different, and was a major factor in this film's mainstream popularity. In addition to Sawada, several other well-known actors appear herein, including Mirota Hideo and Takenaka Naoto.



Kitaro
[GeGeGe no Kitarou]

Genre: Live-Action Children's Classic Yokai Tale

review in one breath

This is a live-action version of the VERY long-running and beloved Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro series developed by classic yokai-guru Mizuki Shigeru. The entire gamut of odd monsters and traditional Japanese yokai appear here in this humorous and humanitarian tale. This is undoubtedly aimed at younger fans, but will prove entertaining to older audiences as well, especially those already familiar with the exploits of Kitaro or with a curiosity regarding Japan's traditional cosmology of strange creatures.



The Great Yokai War
[Youkai Dai Sensou]

Genre: Traditional Monster Explosion

review in one breath

After being singled out at a local Shinto festival, Young Tadashi finds himself in the middle of an epic battle between traditional youkai and the forces of Evil. This is a rather amazing tale utilizing nearly every traditional youkai known. Directed by Miike Takashi and tapping Mizuki Shigeru for creative design, this is a veritable smorgasbord of fun and nostalgia.



Blood Reign - Curse of the Yoma
[Y�ma / Youma]

??

Genre: Sengoku Era Ninja Versus Monsters Anime

review in one breath

When a childhood friend suddenly disappears following inexplicable circumstances, Hikage sets out to solve the mystery. Along the way he encounters zombies, Shinto Gods, formidable warriors, a couple hot babes, and one VERY Bad Dude! This is an old-school anime with a good traditional Japanese nature/monster theme where Good must fight Evil while the fate of the entire cosmos hangs in the balance!



Kibakichi
[Bakko Yokaiden Kibakichi]

Genre: Traditional Schlock-Gore Monster Horror

Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD

review in one breath

When the formidable samurai Kibakichi makes his way to the desolate mountaintop village of Onizo, the haunting secrets of both Kibakichi and the strange villagers are soon revealed. Will Kibakichi maintain his lone-wolf ways or will he reveal all to help the villagers battle an even greater evil? Thoroughly enmeshed in traditional Japanese notions of obakemono and their relations with humanity, this is a fun and (very) slightly educational movie.



Kibakichi 2
[Bakko Yokaiden Kibakichi 2]

Genre: Traditionally-based Monster Love Story

review in one breath

Well, our monstrous samurai Kibakichi is back, kicking butt and generally scaring the sushi out of everyone; Everyone, that is, except the beautiful blind girl Omatsu, whose friendship and concern soon has Kibakichi rethinking his obakemono ways. BUT hot on his (wolf) tale is the vengeance-seeking Anju and her head-over-heels admirer Sakuramaru, the most violent and frightfully skilled swordsman of the region. And then finally, the REALLY bad guys enter the picture.



Aragami
[The Raging God of Battle]

??

Genre: Supernatural Samurai Action

review in one breath

Aragami was released in Japan as the second half of a cinematic "double feature" entitled Duel (2003). The first feature is entitled 2LDK, directed by Tsutsumi Yukihiko. The (well-known) story goes that Tsutsumi and Kitamura made a wager as to who could develop the more exciting "duel" film given the following criteria: (a) the film must only involve a duel (to the death) between two individuals, (b) the film set must be limited to a single location, and (c) the film must be shot within seven days.



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