Hakkenden, The:
Legend of the Dog Warriors


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"The Hakkenden: Legend of the Dog Warriors" is a 13 episode OVA from 1993; based on the 106 volume 19th Century novel by Kyokutei Bakin, using Chinese warrior ideals adapted to the Japanese Samurai (there are many other versions of this story including NHK dramas and even a puppet show).

The Satomi clan is under siege by the Anzai clan. Weak, half-mad from starvation, and with no one to send into battle, the Satomi leader offers his daughter, Princess Fuse, to his dog, Yatsufusa, in exchange for the Anzai General’s head. The next day the dog delivers the head. Without their general, the Anzai are defeated; but the Satomi clan leader goes back on his word and doesn’t give his daughter to his dog.

The Princess, melancholy because she believes her true love died in one of the Satomi attacks against the Anzai, and driven by her duty to serve the Satomi clan, honors her father’s promise to Yatsufusa and leaves the clan to live in the wilderness with the dog.

Long before the battle with the Anzai, the Satomi captured Tamazusa, an evil, sexy seductress. The Satomi leader first decided to be lenient and told her she could live, but then went back on his word and sentenced her to death. Enraged at the Satomi leader’s indecisiveness, and her inevitable demise, instead of dying, Tamazusa becomes a curse on the Satomi clan. In the wilderness, Fuse is visited by Tamazusa’s curse and becomes pregnant with Yatsufusa’s children: a liter of eight half-breed Dog Warriors.

Unknown to Fuse, her lover survived the battle with the Anzai, but was badly injured. Upon his recovery, he returned to the Satomi to find out that Fuse had literally married a dog and left the clan. With the intent to kill Yatsufusa and bring Fuse back, he hunts them down. When he shoots Yatsufusa dead, the bullet goes through the dog and injures Fuse. Wounded, in her lover’s arms, she tells him she can’t return to the clan because she has been visited by Tamazusa and is cursed. To protect the Satomi, she takes her lover’s short sword and slits her belly.

Because of her goodness, sense of duty, and loyalty to the Satomi clan, her eight unborn children are purified. Whenever the Satomi are in danger, the eight Dog Warriors will be reborn to serve the clan. Each warrior bears a Peony Flower shaped birthmark and carries a special Buddhist prayer bead marked with an attribute that a warrior should have, and which each Dog Warrior embodies.

The story is very Japanese "Way of the Warrior" ancient myth. The main Dog Warrior is Shino Inuzaka, who embodies “Filial Devotion”, and his best friend is Sosuke Inukawa, who embodies “Duty” (I’ve listed what the other warriors are in my item descriptions). It’s interesting to see how closely Samurai lore follows Chinese Confucian ideas. The show is attractive but the animation and modeling is uneven. Sometimes the characters are drawn realistically and very detailed. Other times... they’re large circles and squares.


 Hakkenden 01

 Hakkenden 02

 Hakkenden 03

 Hakkenden 04
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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

Presentation 8.60/10   Collection 9.09/10   Overall 8.66/10   Votes 63 votes
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