I recently bought the DVD “Satomi Hakkenden” TV movie mini-series which aired in Japan a couple years ago. It’s based on best seller novel in the late Tokugawa Shogun’s period, early 19th century. It was published in 1814-1842, just before U.S. Navy Commodore Perry’s first visit to Japan (1853). It was written by Kyokutei Bakin (1767-1848), the first professional writer in Japan. He was born into the Samurai Class. His real name was Takizawa Okikuni.
It’s a fun, exciting, epic movie with plenty of special effects & realistic sword fighting. The antagonist is a vengeful ghost of a woman who was executed & she cursed the Satomi family as well as their province to be covered in shadow. When the princess sacrifices her life, the eight Buddhist rosary beads levitate into the sky & scatter across the lands. Years later, each one of the crystal beads chooses eight destined hero’s who will lift the curse & save the Satomi clan. The story is a lot more involved than that, just giving an idea on what’s it about.
The special effects kinda reminded me of Xena & Hercules, with giant Bakeneko, demon spiders possessing humans & ninja-like creatures that fly through the air. I personally thought the movie was quite good. Not excessively gory, plenty of action & holds my interest. The acting seemed good, the cinematography was excellent & the effects were cool. Actually, the movie reminded me of an anime with live actors because of the way it was filmed. It’s really hard to describe what I mean by that, but it’s done very well. I definitely recommend Satomi Hakkenden for anyone who enjoys samurai & fantasy films. Of course, I’m a sucker for almost any samurai movie based in a traditional setting. And here’s one last pic of the eight brothers: