Asura (2012 film)
|Directed by||Keiichi Sato|
|Produced by||Inochi Akiyama
by George Akiyama
|Music by||Yoshihiro Ike
|Distributed by||Toei Company|
Asura (Japanese: アシュラ? Hepburn: Ashura) is a 2012 Japanese anime film directed by Keiichi Sato and based on a manga of the same name by George Akiyama. Asura tied for the Audience Award for Best Animated Feature at the 16th Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.
Mid 15th-century Japan. Flood, drought and famine have transformed the landscape of Kyoto into a barren wasteland. More than 80,000 people perished between 1459 and 1461. This desolate state serves as the backdrop to the beginning of the country's greatest civil war. In this era, a boy is born a beast. Abandoned as an infant, the eight-year-old boy wandered around the world with his axe and was forced to learn the means of surviving in the wild. In time, he learns to kill and eat humans as well. He stumbled upon a monk who he intended to eat but the monk repelled him. The monk gave him temporary shelter and food because he sees Asura within this boy, naming him Asura. He teaches Asura the Buddha chant hoping one day Asura would understand it and leaves the boy on the side of the road the next morning.
Meanwhile, a man named Shichiro with four boys were seen carrying a humongous log to their village. When one of the boys was physically strained, Asura attacks the group but was repelled by Shichiro. He follows them as they pass through a village but the group was prevented from going any further. The boys of the village threw rocks at them, eventually hitting Asura who was behind the group. Asura, angered, attacks the boy leader. The boy's father, Jito, chases after Asura. He falls off a cliff into a pile of corpses after being cornered by Jito but was saved by Wakasa, a girl from the same village. Wakasa gives him shelter and food but cannot stay in the same shelter with Asura, only returning to bring him food. He has begun to grow extremely attached to her, often stalking her in her village where he cannot be seen by others.
One night as Asura waits outside in the night of rain for Wakasa, he sees her silhouette through a grassfield. However, Wakasa was not meeting with Asura but rather Shichiro and the two talks about leaving the village. In a fit of jealousy and rage, Asura grabs an axe and attacks Shichiro. Once again, the boy was forced to wander again when Wakasa demands that he leave. Shortly after his departure, the village was flooded with minimal survival. The monk is later seen witnessing the death of the village and again, stumbles upon Asura. However, this time, Asura speaks in the human tongue he learned from Wakasa, cursing himself and wishing he wasn't born. The monk lectures him about humanity; he chops off his right arm, gives it to Asura, and provokes him to consume it, scaring Asura away instead.
In the mean time, food has become scarce. Wakasa's father was given the choice of selling her for a high price by another villager but was chased away. Shichiro provides whatever food he can scrimmage for Wakasa, but it is still not enough as Wakasa goes around the village asking for any food that can be spared. Shichiro's desperation forced him to resort to stealing from other homes while Wakasa lays dying in her home, including her father. Seeing this, Asura returns to the village and kills Jito's horse, offering the horse's flesh to her and her father; she refuses to take it, believing it to be human flesh no matter what he said. Meanwhile, the villagers were informed by Wakasa's father that Asura is in the village and that he killed Jito's horse. Along with Jito as their leader, the villagers give chase with torches. Jito dies shortly after Asura ambushed him and he continues to run across a rope bridge. Before he could reach the other side, the villagers burned the rope holding the bridge and Asura falls into the river.
Winter arrives; Wakasa is dead and her corpse is being carried by Shichiro and four village boys presumably to her burial place. They passed by Asura, who somehow survived the fall but Asura does not look at her corpse. The monk narrates the beauty of life as Asura is shown carving a wooden statue with his head shaved, indicating he became a monk. In the post-credit scene, the land is seen rich and fertile again with white doves flying above.
- Masako Nozawa as Asura
An orphan who wanders the land eating whatever he can find, including humans. He was first found by a monk and later Wakasa where he was taken care of temporarily. He became infatuated with Wakasa due to her kindness.
- Megumi Hayashibara as Wakasa
A woman who resides in Jito's village. She saved Asura from death and took care of him. She originally planned to leave with Shichiro but was not able due to her own health and her father's.
- Kinya Kitaōji as Monk
A traveling monk who continuously preaches about Buddhism to Asura. At the end, it was indicated that he took Asura in and changes him.
The village leader who chased Asura off a cliff. He is later killed when Asura ambushed him.
- Hiroaki Hirata as Shichiro
Wakasa's love interest; he convinced Wakasa to leave the village. Shichiro resorted to stealing food for Wakasa and was punished for it. He is seen carrying Wakasa's corpse to her burial place after she apparently died of starvation.
- "Tiger & Bunny's Satou Directs Toei's Ashura Film". Anime News Network. 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
- "Toei's Dark Anime Film Asura Previewed in Video Clips". Anime News Network. 2012-06-03. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
- "Asura". BCDB. 2012-08-13.