• Melissa Kartini

Movie Review: "Inuyashiki", a Super Uncle Like No Other

Updated: Jul 11, 2018

  • Genre: Sci-fi/Thriller

  • Rating: PG-13

  • Language: Japanese

  • Subtitles: English/Malay/Chinese

  • Starring: Noritake Kinashi, Takeru Satoh, Kanata Hongo, Fumi Nikaido, Miyoshi Ayaka, Nayuta Fukuzaki, Mari Hamada, Yuki Saito, Yusuke Iseya

I have to admit; when it comes to live action versions of anime/manga, I get kind of skeptical. At least, when it comes to those belonging to any of the more fantastical genres. Action/adventure, fantasy, supernatural and the like. On top of several underlying issues, it always seems as though there just isn't enough budget to make them particularly enjoyable. Live action adaptations of the slice of life genre seem to fare much better in this aspect, for understandable reasons.

So when "Inuyashiki", which recently won the Golden Raven at the 2018 Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival came in, I sat up for a bit. Huh. Sounds promising. Is there hope yet?

Let's check it out.

What is it about?

Inuyashiki Ichiro (Kinashi Noritake) leads a pretty pathetic life. He has no friends, he is publicly scolded by his boss on a daily basis, he's forever squirreling away at the lower rungs at work, and his family is so apathetic towards him, he couldn't even grab their attention long enough to tell them that he has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

With just 3 months left to live, it looks like he's going to live the end of his days in a quiet manner... Unacknowledged and unappreciated. At least, that was going to be the case until an alien encounter mutates him and another unsuspecting character, Shishigami Hiro (Satoh Takeru), into indestructible cyborgs.

Blessed with powers and thereby feeling as though he has found a new purpose in life, Ichiro chooses to use his newfound powers for good. The same cannot be said for Hiro, though, who has acquired a taste for blood sport.

Is it worth a watch?

Unlike many other films in the sci-fi genre, "Inuyashiki" focuses on the more human side of the story; interpersonal relationships and emotions over the thrill of high-budget, adrenaline-pumping action scenes. A style of storytelling that works in its favour.

So much so that despite Hiro's descent into becoming a cold-blooded killer and his decision to murder just about everyone in his path, one cannot help but to root or at least sympathise for his character. The way he and Ichiro are treated by society is despicable at best, so one is understandably swayed in favour of the protagonist and antagonist, wimpy and chilling as they are, respectively.

That said, emotional value isn't the only shining quality that "Inuyashiki" has. Its special effects are top-notch for a local production, with impressive camerawork that almost make you feel as though you are there.

And the actors? While Noritake's feeble Ichiro is worthy of praise and his codger of a character's ability to kick ass heartwarming in a country with one of the highest ageing populations in the world, it is Takeru's Hiro that draws attention. He is stone-cold as the neighbourhood's troubled teenager, with a thirst for killing that would leave anyone running. At the same time, however, he sets himself apart from other male antagonists in the shounen genre by being sincere in protecting those he cares about. This distinction is especially clear when it comes to women, who are so often discarded or used as fodder by sexist antagonists in anime/manga.

If you're in the mood for an action-packed movie with a lot of emotion and drama, "Inuyashiki" might just be it for you.

"Inuyashiki" is now in cinemas!

Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini

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