Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Eiji Wentz, Yo Oizumi, Mao Inoue, Renna Tanaka, Kanpei Hazama
Director: Katsuhide Motoki
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts
In modern-day Japan, the worlds of the humans and the yokai often collide, and usually not in the most pleasant of manners. — Half-human and half-yokai, one-eyed Kitaro (Wentz Eiji) lives with his eyeball father and his bic... more »
All-out monster battle!
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 06/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Ge ge ge no Kitaro" is one of those Japanese mega-hits that never really seems to find an audience in the US. In fact, calling it a mega-hit is something of an understatement. Kitaro is a national icon on the same terms as Hello Kitty! or Mickey Mouse. The creator, Mizuki Shigeru, has his own museum and a road lined with bronze statues of his famous creations, most famous of which is Kitaro.
This 2007 is the latest adaptation of the popular character, using modern CG effects to bring to life the bizarre cast of characters, almost all of whom are traditional Japanese monsters called yokai. These monsters are as familiar to every Japanese person as goblins, trolls and elves are to Western audiences, and have appeared in a multitude of other films such as the Mizuki-inspired and Miike Takeshi-directed The Great Yokai War
The story is typical of a Kitaro adventure. Greedy developers want to buy an old apartment building so they can kick everyone out and build a supermarket. The developers are having a tough time, so they hire Nezumi otoko to get some yokai and help them scare everyone away. After some scary events, one of the spunky kids who live in the apartment calls up Kitaro to help them in their fight and save the apartment. Kitaro recruits his old allies Neko Musume and the gang, and get to work saving the day.
As far as an adaptation goes, they did a decent job. The various yokai look the best they every have, and Kitaro's father, a small eyeball who walks around and takes baths in tea cups, is spot-on perfect. It's definitely a kid's flick, so don't expect too much in terms of story and depth. Everything is done pretty much tongue-in-cheek, and played for laughs rather than frights.
My only real complaint is the casting of pretty-boy Eiji Wentz as Kitaro. Half-Japanese, half-German, Wentz is just a standard issue "talento" in Japan, with out any real ability other than making young girls giggle and swoon. Because of this, they had to drastically alter the appearance of Kitaro from the comics and animation, so instead of the one-eyed motley faced little monster, we now have "dream boat Kitaro" complete with human love-interest and all that.
I'm a big "Ge ge ge no Kitaro" fan, so I am willing to forgive a lot just to see my favorite character frolicking about in lovely CG. Even Wentz wasn't enough to kill this flick for me, and I had a good time watching it. People unfamiliar with the character might not get as much out of it, but it is still a fun little popcorn flick for kids.
Enjoyable, a bit campy but overall fun! Featuring popular J
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 01/08/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A classic manga series in Japan, "Gegege no Kitaro" has spawned many television series, animated series, films and video games but this time, the popular series gets a modern adaption which stars pop singer Eiji Wentz (of the group WaT) as the main character KITARO, popular Japanese actress Lena Tanaka as Neko Musume, KOYUKI (The Last Samurai) and many others for this 2007 Japanese summer blockbuster.
The film is in essence a Japanese family film about the Miura family. Young Kenta has had a tough life. His mother has passed away, his father is worried about finances that he is considering of taking his wife's wedding ring to the pawn shop, he lives with his sister and there are monsters trying to kick the tenants out of the apartment complex? Who are you gonna call? KITARO.
Eventually, things start to get more serious when a special rock is introduced to the picture and Kenta's father steals it and tells Kenta to hide it. This rock has thrown the human and spirit worl to an awry place as the yokai of the spirit world look for the rock, even some spirits who want it to destroy humankind. Will KITARO be able to protect Kenta and will he be able to stop the yokai who are after the rock?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
The picture quality for "KITARO" is featured in 1080p (1080p High Definition Anamorphic Widescreen) and the Blu-ray transfer was nice but not eye-popping spectacular. I didn't see any artifacting or dust or scratches. As for the audio, audio is featured in 6.1 Dolby EX and 6.1 DTS ES. Although not provided in TrueHD, for those with a home theater receiver that can play DTS will get a good output in their speakers during the action scenes and also during the musical segments of the film. I did not listen to the English dub (I prefer not to watch Asian films with an English dub), so I can't tell you how the voice acting is. But I can tell you that the English dub is in 5.1 Dolby Digital.
"KITARO" has several special features included on the Blu-ray disc:
* Theatrical Trailers - Subtitled theatrical trailers
* TV Spots - Subtitled TV commercials featuring various TV spots focusing on a character in the film.
* The TV Special "Yokai in the City" - This 35-minute featurette (perhaps in collaboration with the Japanese YouTube due to the logo in the bottom right corner) is a campy introduction to yokai (spirit) monsters and I guess you can say it's targeted for children, as these monsters look like a monster you would see on a Power Ranger TV series and they are at the Playground or somewhere in Tokyo with kids and their families in awe while watching these monsters fall or act quirky.
* The "making of" "Yokai in the City" - A 10-minute making of which features the actor and actresses who don the various monster costumes for the special.
I have to admit that I was quite surprised that this film was released in the US. With most Japanese films typically samurai or action-based films, "KITARO" is a film that is a true Japanese film that it has that Japanese humor and even the element of yokai (spirits) with the tengu's and the various type of monsters of Japanese folklore.
The film will definitely satisfy popular among anime and manga fans of the series and a film that carries the quirkiness of Japanese monster fighting of monsters made out of rubber suits but also a good deal of CGI work as well.
Personally, I found it entertaining and to see Eiji Wentz in his first major character role as KITARO was quite amusing since I'm more familiar with his musical work. Lena Tanaka is one of the highly demanded young actresses in Japan and although her role was quite limited as Neko Musume (a character who likes KITARO but he doesn't feel the same way about her), she was charming as always. Also, to see KOYUKI (as Princess Tenko) and Shido Nakamura (as O-Tengu) make appearances in this film, also gives appeal to the non-child demographic who wanted to see the film.
Is this a children's film in the essence of a "Chronicles of Narnia" type of film? The film starts off that way focusing on the young Kenta's character but it starts to focus more on KITARO and him wanting to help Mika and Kenta and him starting to care for a human (which the spirit world forbids). Also, is it as good as a "Chronicles of Narnia" or "Spiderwicke Chronicles"? As mentioned, there are quite a few monsters in the rubber suits in this film and their is a slight campiness that I am privy to these type of Japanese films and television shows (having watched many "sentai" Ranger or Kamen Rider-related shows), something that may turn off American's who are used to seeing their monsters CGI'd and much more threatening. So, it does have that sci-fi campiness of a Sentai film but with bigger names and a popular series with nearly 50 years behind it.
I was familiar with previous incarnations of the series and even own the soundtrack for the "Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro" song (albeit for the 2008 film).
As for the Blu-ray, the video quality was gorgeous and the sound was very well done through the 6.1 DTS track and from KITARO shooting out his hair needles to some major thump in the action sequence, it sounds great and of course, the music sequences came out clear. I do wish there were cast interviews or something else included on the Blu-ray instead of the "Yokai in the City" but nevertheless, for those who want to see more of the actors in rubber monster suits, then you have a 35-minute featurette to keep you entertained.
But all in all, I could have never anticipated a modern film being created that would be based on this older manga and anime series and watching it, it does capture the imagination and the heart and soul of the original manga and anime series and I enjoyed it.
I'm not sure if the film would attract American or International audiences but for those who are familiar with Japanese film and television especially the sentai shows and watching actors in monster suits or get-ups, then the film can be enjoyable. Otherwise, during this time where monsters are typically CGI'd some may find this film a bit campy. So, it depends on the viewer.
But I really am happy that Ronin Entertainment/BCI did release this in the United States and can only hope that they release more Japanese films (that you would never expect to be released outside of Japan) stateside on Blu-ray."
A very strange kid's film
Ian Williams | Sunderland, UK | 10/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's get the basics sorted out right now. The target audience is approximately 9-14 years old, though it can also be enjoyed by older age groups and I certainly liked it. I would be very wary, however, of showing it to younger children without the presence of an adult. Apart from the scary aspects of which there are many and I'll mention them later, it deals directly with the death of a parent and could be upsetting on that level alone. Also it's immediately preceded by what may be a trailer for a sequel and is far scarier than anything in the film.
Okay, on with the show. Kitaro is a character who has been around in Japanese culture, in one form or another, since the 1930's and is half-human, half-yokai. The yokai are essentially forest spirits who appear in a variety of forms and with a variety of natures. In appearance they can be cute, human-like, spooky, hideous, and downright pants-wettingly scary. Their natures are friendly, mischievous, selfish, nasty, or downright malevolent and all shades in between.
The movie opens with a protest against a development which infringes on the forest and also involves destroying peoples' homes. A young boy writes to Kitaro (in whom his sister doesn't believe) for help. Kitaro turns up in time to save people from yokai employed by the selfish Ratman who is in turn employed by the developer. But this is only to set the scene for the real story which involves an evil stone falling into the hands of the boy's unemployed father with disastrous consequences such as being hunted by wolfman-like foxe spirits. I won't say more as it would only spoil what follows which involves a lot of action, some scary yokai, humour, a little tentative romance, and tragedy.
Visually this is an engaging film with very good special effects and some of the most weird and wonderful creatures ever seen in a live-action movie. While not perfect and not following rigorously through on an important sub-plot, I enjoyed this much more than I was expecting. Older kids will certainly enjoy it as will anyone with a taste for the fantastic.
It's in Japanese with English sub-titles (surprisingly not dubbed given its target audience) and the only extra is an hour-long collection of pieces from You Tube in which the trailer is repeated several times -could have been edited out."