Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon
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|Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Takao Okawara|
|Produced by||Shogo Tomiyama|
|Screenplay by||Wataru Mimura|
|Music by||Kiyoko Ogino|
The film starts out with the birth of twin princes. Their father, the emperor of Yamato, feels a great loathing for his one child Ousu. Being convinced that this feeling is a premonition, the emperor orders the shaman Tsukinowa to kill the boy, yet his efforts are spoiled by Amano Shiratori, the White Bird of the Heavens. The emperor’s sister, seeing this as a clear sign of divine intervention, takes it upon herself to raise the child. Years later, when the boy has matured into a man, he is given pardon by his father and allowed to return to the castle. However, not long after, his mother falls ill and dies mysteriously. This sends his brother into a rage and causing him to attack Ousu, who defends himself and kills his sibling in the process. His father, furious at these events, orders his son to leave the castle and not return until the barbarians living in the Kumaso domain are dealt with. The prince makes haste to complete this task, stopping off at a shrine on his way where, after a quick battle, he befriends Oto who joins him on his journey. They, along with companions Genbu and Seriyu, raid the castle, killing Kumaso Takeru and their god Kumasogami. Following this feat, the prince changes his name to Yamato Takeru, yet fails to win the acceptance of his father. His aunt, though, warns him of a great threat looming overhead, as the god Tsukuyomi is poised to return, endangering the Earth, as Yamato Takeru must prepare to halt this from occurring.
The film was released in the United States as Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon directly to home video by A.D. Vision with an English dub on June 13, 1999. The film was reissued in Japanese with English subtitles in 2003.
Robert Firsching of AllMovie awarded the film three and a half stars out of five, stating that "the film is firmly in the province of magical fantasy, and is quite a good example of the form." describing it as a "really fun picture" that really stood out with its "wide-eyed innocence. Many films attempt to capture the look and feel of 1960s fantasy, but most fall prey to '90s cynicism and can't quite pull off the necessarily naïve belief in heroism and the power of goodness and purity to save mankind, or even that the belief that mankind is worth saving. This film does, and that alone makes it a refreshing throwback, and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon."
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