Dagger of Kamui

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The movie "Dagger of Kamui" or "Kamui no Ken" premièred in 1985 on a double bill with "Bobby's in Deep" ("Bobby ni Kubittake"). Seven years in the making, three years in production, Director Rintaro's ("Boys' Detective Team", “Sabu to Ichi”, the original “Captain Harlock” TV series, “ Neo-Tokyo: Labyrinth - Labyrinthos”) "Dagger of Kamui" looked really expensive. Huge pan shots of intricately painted backgrounds, stylish animation, and (unlike most other cartoons, esp. "Curse of the Undead Yoma") when Jiro was reminiscing on past events they were usually new animated sequences. The story was also engrossing until it left Japan, then it got really stupid.

The cartoon opens with the murder of Jiro’s adoptive mother and sister. Jiro, being an adopted child who was never formally accepted into the village, is blamed and flees the village. During his escape he meets a wandering monk named Tenkai, who tells Jiro the man who murdered his family is named Taroza. Tenkai is not what he seems, he hides behind the robes of a monk, but is really the master of a group of Ninja. Tenkai tells Jiro he’ll help him get revenge for the deaths of Jiro’s mother and sister. He supplies Jiro with a dagger/short sword and Jiro helps in the murder of Taroza. After Taroza’s death, Jiro is informally adopted by Tenkai and taught: The Way of the Ninja. Time passes; Jiro grows up and becomes a highly skilled Ninja.

Tenkai tells Jiro that he knew Jiro’s biological father and that his father’s last mission involved the mysterious mountain, Kamui. He also tells Jiro that the dagger he gave him was once Jiro’s father’s dagger. Jiro, seeking his true origins, heads towards Kamui. When Jiro arrives in Kamui, he finds out that his dagger is in someway connected to both the mountain, and a great treasure. He also finds out that his biological mother still lives near the mountain. When mother and son meet, Jiro gives up his Ninja ways and decides to live a peaceful life with his mother. Jiro also learns that Taroza wasn’t the man who killed his adopted family, but was really his biological father, and that Tenkai was the reason why he was separated from his family. Jiro and his mother are then drugged by one of Tenkai’s minions. Unable to move, Jiro watches helplessly as his mother is stabbed to death with his dagger. Jiro vows vengeance against Tenkai. Tenkai’s plan is to push Jiro into a situation where Jiro will uncover the truth about the hidden treasure of Kamui.

Unfortunately, from here on the cartoon goes AWOL. For some reason, the treasure of Kamui isn’t in Japan, but is really on Catalina Island (not the one in the Dominican Republic, but the US one). And it isn’t the treasure of Kamui, but is Captain Kidd’s pirate treasure. I don’t think Captain Kidd was ever in California. You also get to meet one lame character followed by another. Like Jiro’s Indian babe, who turns out to be French, and Sam, Jiro’s black slave friend, who says, “Yes, Master” every other sentence. There are many really imaginative fight sequences, but when "Dagger of Kamui" left Japan, it became an implausible joke.

 Kamui 001

 Kamui 002

 Kamui 003

 Kamui 004
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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

Presentation 8.65/10   Collection 9.12/10   Overall 8.70/10   Votes 65 votes
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