どろろ (Dororo) is Japanese film adapted from serialized Japanese comic of the same title written by the legendary Japanese comic master Tezuka Osamu whose well-known works include 鉄腕アトム (Tetsuwan Atomu) a.k.a. Astro Boy and ブラック・ジャック (Burakku Jakku) a.k.a. Black Jack. Tezuka Osamu is famous for his creativity and originality. Dororo is no exception. The story takes place in Warring States period of Japan. A Samurai named Daigo Kagemitsu makes a pact with forty-eight demon gods, giving them forty-eight body parts of his unborn son in exchange with a victory in the war. Indeed, the boy is born with forty-eight body parts missing and eventually was thrown away into the river. Fortunately, the poor baby is rescued by a talented doctor who supplied him with artificial body parts and raises him as a child. The boy is named Hyakkimaru. Upon reaching adulthood, Hyakkimaru embarks on a journey to vanquish the demons and reclaims his body parts. Fate takes him to meet with Dororo, a young girl dressing like a boy with a self-proclaimed title as the greatest thief of Japan. Together, they traveled the land in search of the demons.
I read the original comic and love the story. The idea of making live-action movie is fantastic. It’s even more interesting to know that the film is shot on location in New Zealand which guarantees beautiful scenery. However, the cast of Satoshi Tsumabuki and Kou Shibasaki as Hyakkimaru and Dororo respectively seems doubtful. I couldn’t bear Kou Shibasaki‘s Dororo as it is a huge mis-interpretation from the original comic. The witty and cheerful Dororo in the comic is transformed into a funny clown in the film. Moreover, half-way through the movie, the demons hunting seems to be a replica of Japanese Power Rangers-like fighting scene when the enemy of the day is destroyed. I am certain that the scriptwriters work real hard to put the comic into big screen, trying to balance between comical elements and serious issues underneath the surface of the story. Unfortunately, they didn’t succeed in crafting a fair script and the movie turns out to be stabs of funny and fantasy tales.
All in all, the film is a big budget production worth watching for all computer generated graphics and gorgeous location. You would understand the plot but might not fully appreciate the story as the original comic.
3 Stars out of 5 – recommend to those who wish to see their beloved comic comes to live. Production is grand but don’t put your expectation too high.