Starring: Ryuuji Harada and Nozomi Ando
Director: Tomoo Haraguchi
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars
Kibakichi (Harada), a monster warrior and the sole survivor of a village wiped out by the humans, finds himself called upon to defend a village of peaceful monsters when they are betrayed and attacked by the humans they considered their allies.
"Kibakichi" is quirky blend of Japanese historical melodrama, martial arts action, fantasy and horror. The effects and monsters are strictly low-tech and low-budget, but the creative camerawork, staging and lighting brings it all to life in an impactful and fun way. Plus, the climactic battle scenes, with monster battles, sword-fights, werewolf rampages, and funky 18th century machine guns is one that is not to be missed!
This is also one of those very interesting films that successfully turns what is traditionally considered monsters into the objects of our sympathies while showing humans to be evil and monstrous. It's a film that delivers a message about tolerance and acceptance and the universal desire that every person has to have a safe place to live and raise their family. (Some of these morons I'm seeing commenting on politics and threatening violence if The Obama doesn't win the presidential election should watch this movie and others like it. Maybe seeing the message wrapped in a fantasy setting will make them realize what intolerant and hateful assholes they truly are.)
The only real weak spot of the film is the dubbing. There is so little dialogue in the film that it's not a huge problem, but what there is done by actors so bad I can only assume the producers rounded up the overnight cleaning crew and gave them each a dinner coupon at Denny's for the time spent recording. Even worse, it appears that absolutely no effort was made to shape the lines or even synchronize them properly with the actors on-screen.
Even if you don't usually like reading subtitles, you should only watch "Kibakichi" with original Japanese language track. You experience will be far more pleasurable if you do.