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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Inuyashiki (いぬやしき) - NYAFF 2018 Movie Review

The Movie: Inuyashiki (いぬやしき)

The Director: Shinsuke Sato

The Cast: Kinashi Noritake, Takeru Satô, Hongo Kanata, Fumi Nikaidô

The Story: Two men are turned into androids by aliens and, after following very different paths, are destined to face off against each other in a robotic showdown with the fate of Tokyo in the balance.

The Review:
This property started out as a popular Japanese Manga series, was turned into a popular animated TV series, and is now receiving the live action feature film treatment. If the first installment is any indication of quality, I will watch all of it. I may have to check out the source material at some point because the movie, which is usually a very condensed highlight reel of what happens in a book or series, has a lot of depth and a wealth of rich characters to follow.

The lead characters are very well thought out and have a lot of varying motivations and circumstances that get them each on the paths they end up going down. Hiro is destined to be the villain and Takeru Satô takes on the role with a smoldering undercurrent of evil that slowly burns away the teenager we first see him as. Meanwhile, Kinashi Noritake perfectly fills the role of the title character who is a down on his luck family man struggling to hold his life together and now coming to terms that he has been transformed into a super powered cyborg.

If only Hollywood movies were allowed to be this creative and original. Sure, there are big blockbusters with super heroes and robots and all that fun stuff but there is always a formula that needs to be followed and corporate mandates that need to be adhered to. This movie flies in the face of all that and does it without a mega bucks budget. The special effects are solid and put together well enough to help tell the story and, with Tokyo as the backdrop, it really feels and looks like it has been pulled directly from the pages of the Manga it is based on.

The Verdict:
Inuyashiki is a strong entry into the science fiction genre and, if the rumored trilogy is true, I am so on board and excited to see where this series goes next.

Inuyashiki is an official selection of the 2018 New York Asian Film Festival.

TwoOhSix.com coverage of NYAFF 2018.

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