Hello dear readers and welcome to another instalment of my quick-fire series Shoot from the Hip where I take a very quick and spoiler free look at an anime or video game to help you decide if you want to check it out yourself. This time I’m looking at Inu-Oh, the new film by director Masaaki Yuasa (Lu Over the Wall, Ride Your Wave), so come join me to find out what it’s all about.
Inu-Oh will be receiving a worldwide theatrical release on May 28th 2022, but I was lucky enough to see an early showing of it as part of the Glasgow Film Festival back in March. I knew very little about the film going into it and apart from the brilliant Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! I have not been a big fan of Masaaki Yuasa’s other work. However I was excited to watch it as his films are always creative, and now I want to share my thoughts on Inu-oh with you guys to help you make up your own minds about it!
What you need to know
Year of Release: 2021
Studio: Science SARU
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Based on: Tales of the Heike: INU-OH by Hideo Furukawa
What’s it about?
Set in 14th century Japan, Inu-Oh is very broadly a film about creative talent overcoming the judgements of a hostile and corrupt society. It also features a great deal of political intrigue, but I think if you really boil it down the most important theme is probably that of friendship. Focussed on the unlikely relationship between two individuals who are musical virtuosos and outcasts, we see the struggles they endure to overcome the fear and discrimination one of them has faced his whole life. It is not afraid to make you feel uncomfortable or step outside anime norms, with much of the story told through musical performance. The result of all this is an experience unlike anything else I have ever watched.
Should you watch it?
Probably, but with a few words of warning. It is a peculiarly violent film in some ways, and its tendency to mess around with its own rules could be hit or miss. Although it is staged in a historical setting, much of the music and design is certainly modern in concept, so if you’re not a fan of rock music then you may not enjoy it as much as I did. It is a surprising film in that it feels both detached and extremely personal at different moments and I really didn’t expect such a ‘human’ story to emerge from it after watching the first fifteen minutes. The animation dazzles and the music is fabulous and as long as you can sit back and enjoy the strangeness then you will certainly get a lot out of it, although even I thought it could have been half an hour shorter. For me it is the best film Masaaki Yuasa has directed to date and I hope that others can enjoy it as I have.
So there is my very quick look at Masaaki Yuasa’s latest film, Inu-Oh. But what do you think? Will you be checking it out when it gets its full release? Or maybe you’ve had the chance to check it out early and have your own thoughts? Either way let me know below in comments and don’t forget to join me next time for more anime and video game chat!
Thanks for reading,