Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Blood and gore in powerful anime fantasy/rock opera.

Movie PG-13 2022 98 minutes
Inu-Oh Movie: Poster

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Is It Any Good?

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It takes a while to really get going, but when it does, this anime musical is exhilarating, oddly beautiful, and piercingly relevant, given its depiction of greed, power, and lies. Coming from noted anime filmmaker Masaaki Yuasa and based on a novel by Hideo Furukawa, Inu-Oh starts with a narrator who sets up the time, place, and parties involved (anyone not well-versed in Japanese history may want to quickly take notes). The movie's rhythm seems a bit off at the start, as Yuasa presents bloody flashbacks to hints of Inu-Oh's story before switching to Tomona's story and staying there for a while. Viewers also have to wait for both characters to grow up. Even though the movie is only 98 minutes, it drags a bit.

The magic really kicks in when the two main characters meet and Tomona starts joyously jamming on his biwa while Inu-Oh goes into a pleasure-filled dance. When they later perform as adults, they use a three-piece band, with Tomona on his biwa, plus a huge drum and a large bowed, stringed instrument. But the sound that comes out is anachronistic modern rock, with wailing electric guitars and a full drum kit. Visually, Inu-Oh captures the whirling dizziness of the music. The wild, loose animation is probably closer to Ralph Bakshi than to Hayao Miyazaki, sometimes astonishing, sometimes off-putting, but the movie's message about those in power attempting to suppress the truth is bracing.

Movie Details

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