Inu-Oh (Avu Chan) has a very special ability that nobody else can do. He seems to have discovered that he can extend his arm to extraordinary lengths which nobody has ever seen before. He also likes to wear a mask because he says he was born hideously ugly, or it could just be an affectation of his theatrical sensibilities.
Tomona (Mirai Moriyama) was blinded in a boating accident which killed his father and he sometimes still speaks to his spirit. However, time has moved on and Tomona has found a talent in playing the Biwa which was taught to him by a local priest.
When Inu-Oh and Tomona meet though, they find that they compliment each other well and Tomona also has an incredible singing voice, so they decide to put on a show. Soon Tomona is the talk of the town and his popularity is quickly growing, but there are some priests who frown upon Tomona’s rockstar lifestyle while he sings of the ancient tales he was told.
Inu-Oh is a Japanese animated rock opera which is based on the novel Tales of The Heike: INU OH by Hideo Furukawa and is a truly unique film. Taking inspiration from other musical animations and rock operas such as Tommy and Yellow Submarine, director Masaaki Yuasa has created something which blends tradition with modernity as well as influences from the east and the west.
Fans of modern musicals will be captivated by the musical numbers and the story which may not be all that original, but evokes a universal tale which everybody can enjoy. Although sung in Japanese with English subtitles, the songs are catchy enough that you may even find yourself singing along in a language you don’t understand.
This is why Inu-Oh works so well in its original language, because an English dub may ruin the chance to experience such great vocal performances.
However, there are issues with Inu-Oh’s story as it seems to be cut short rather abruptly, although there is something to be said about leaving your audience wanting more. Overall, you may never be swept away by an animation and feel like you’re at a concert in any other film this year.
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