The Great Yokai War
|The Great Yokai War|
|Directed by||Takashi Miike|
|Produced by||Fumio Inoue|
|Distributed by||Tokyo Shock (United States)|
|Running time||124 minutes|
The Great Yokai War (妖怪大戦争 Yōkai Daisensō?) is a 2005 Japanese fantasy children's film directed by Takashi Miike and produced by Kadokawa Pictures. In the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and on its June 30, 2006, American premiere, in New York City, it was released under the international English title The Great Yokai War by Tokyo Shock.
The Toronto festival site defines the term Yokai (妖怪?) as "bizarre-looking monsters and supernatural beings from Japanese folklore who like to play tricks on unsuspecting humans". Meanwhile, the term Daisensō (大戦争?) literally means "great war".
It borrows the title of a 1968 film, which was released in the US by ADV Films as Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare, part of the Yokai Monsters series and directed by Yoshiyuki Kuroda. Whereas the original used tokusatsu special effects, the 2005 version makes heavy use of stop-motion puppet animation and CGI.
A young boy named Tadashi Ino moves to a small town after his parents' divorce. At a local festival, he is chosen to be that year's "Kirin Rider," a protector of all things good. He soon discovers that his new title is quite literal, as a nefarious spirit named Yasunori Kato appears. Originally a human who became a demon from the strength of his hatred for humans, Kato desires vengeance against their actions on the Yokai. To carry out his revenge, Kato allies himself with a Yokai named Agi while he summons a fiery spirit called Yomotsumono, composed of the resentment of the many things which mankind has discarded. With Yomotsumono's flames, Kato feeds it Yokai which are used as ingredients in creating violent junkyard Tsukumogami under his control that capture other Yokai to build their numbers while killing humans. One such Yokai, Sunekosuri, escaped and befriended Tadashi who attempts to obtain the Daitenguken from the mountain as part of being the Kirin Rider. However, he wimped out at the last second and with trickery by Shōjō, who picked Tadashi out, the boy overcame the test. Accompanied by Shōjō, Kawahime, and Kawataro, Tadashi makes his way to the DaiTengu who gives him a sword before being taken away by the Tsukumogami. In spite of Tadashi's attempts, the sword is broken as Agi takes Sunekosuri as her captive before the boy is knocked unconscious.
When the boy comes to his senses, he finds himself among Yokai as they discuss how to fix the sword, deciding to get the aid of the blacksmith Ippon-datara. But learning he was also captured, General Nurarihyon and his group leave; Kawataro restrains an Ittan-momen while praising Azukiarai, unaware that he only remained behind due to his foot getting numb. When Kato's industrial fortress takes flight towards Tokyo, Tadashi and company pursue it and arrive after the fortress ingested Tokyo's Shinjuku Capital Building, finding Ippon-datara who reforges the sword while avoiding to talk about how he escaped thanks to Sunekosuri who took his place in becoming a Tsukumogami. Donning new attire, Tadashi and company are outnumbered until they receive unlikely aid from thousands of Yokai who believe they are coming to a party; their festival brawl with Tsukumogami allows Tadashi and Kawahime to enter the fortress safely, followed by a Yokai-obsessed reporter named Sata whom Kawahime saved in the past.
Forced to slay the Tsukumogami that Sunekosuri became, restored to normal yet hanging on for dear life, Tadashi battles Agi in rage before she is called back by Kato to begin the final phase by joining with Yomotsumono. Despite Tadashi's attempts, Kato proves to be superior as Kawahime attempts to protect the boy, admitting to her hatred for humans for being abandoned when she first came into being, but will never resort to a human emotion - revenge. Unfazed, Kato takes the two out as Azukiarai awkwardly arrives and the villain calls Agi to join him. However, her love for him is a hindrance to the process, so Kato kills her instead before entering the oven to become one with Yomotsumono. However, due to Sata's actions, one of Azukiarai's Azuki beans ends up in the mix with Kato, causing a chain reaction of positive emotion that destroys Yomotsumono. After the Yokai take their leave, Tadashi and Sata find themselves on the street and the boy tells his first white lie to the reporter about Kawahime's feelings towards him. Years later, Tadashi is a grown man who lost the ability to see Yokai, even Sunekosuri who is at the end confronted by an Azuki-pupiled Kato.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2013)|
|Role||Actor (Original)||English Dubbing|
|Tadashi Ino||Ryunosuke Kamiki||????|
|Yasunori Kato||Etsushi Toyokawa||????|
|Agi, The Bird-Catching Sprite||Chiaki Kuriyama||????|
|Shuntaro Ino||Bunta Sugawara||????|
|Youko Ino||Kaho Minami||Stephanie Sheh|
|General Nurarihyon||Kiyoshiro Imawano||????|
|Ou Tengu||Kenichi Endo||????|
|Great Yokai Elder (cameo)||Shigeru Mizuki||????|
English dubbing staff
Some yokai that appear in this film
- Official site
- Yokai gallery
- Yokai Daisenso at the Internet Movie Database
- Yokai Daisenso at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival
- Scott, A.O. The New York Times (June 30, 2006), p. B6: "A Motley Crew of Spirits Recruit a Boy to Be Savior"
- Lovece, Frank. Film Journal International (review)
- 2005 Film Review
- 1968 Film Review
- The Great Yokai War
- The Great Yokai War at the Internet Movie Database
- The Great Yokai War at AllMovie