This is a truly astonishing film. I continue to be amazed at the films coming out of the far East, especially Japan. This one shows, quite openly, their ability to take as they please from other cultures, jumble it all up in a giant pot, and still it comes out 100% Japanese. In this case there are clear references to Buddhism, Catholicism as well as ancient tradition, funky Western music and rap (yes, rap), spoken Chinese, Portugese and Italian, all jumbled up amongst traditional Japanese language, music and culture. And yet never for a moment is this anything other than a classic native story.
It is an operetta based on a traditional story just as one finds in any culture, the classic story of forbidden love where, despite the odds, love wins out. But do not think that this is just some pantomime. This is a cavalcade of extraordinary sets, costumes, singing, dance, criminally cute girls, bizarre instruments, stylised fights and abstract concepts. All the gooey drama and occasional twinkly music did not stop me being riveted to my seat. Not one bit is not filled with fascination. It also contains production techniques it's hard to imagine anyone in the West daring to use.
To the uninitiated in Eastern film, it may be too much to take in, but I highly recommend this film. It is a PG and I would imagine that the young will find it much more accessible than many of their parents.