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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Kai Doh Maru [2001] [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£3.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 20 January 2011
Kai Doh Maru is an interesting experiment in style. This animated film isn't the usual bright and bold affair you expect from anime, instead it consists of very light watercolours and the initial opening scenes are greyscale with only the yellow subtitles providing colour.

I enjoyed the use of black and white, and the watercolour look gives the film a unique place in any anime collection - but after a while the novelty wears off and you find yourself thinking that the film looks a bit overly aided by CGI and suffers from a general lack of detail. The film boasts that the seasonal colours actually change gradually throughout the film and it's a beautiful stylistic decision but is almost lost in the washed-out look of the picture. Another reviewer mentioned that they could see animator's annotations and cues, I noticed these too - only a couple of times, but after seeing them I found myself specifically looking out for them which took me out of the film and back into my living room.

The plot is gloriously eastern and not watered down in order to make it appeal more to western audiences. It's a relatively simple tale with complex Japanese history and folklore intertwining to create an involved story. Young Prince Kintoki is being hunted down by his evil uncle who has overthrown Kintoki's father in an attempt to gain power. Unbeknown by those around him, Kintoki is actually a girl disguised as a boy and her life after escaping leads to her involvement with a group of bandits and a complicated love interest.

The film suffers from short duration; although the product description has this down as an 80 minute title, that's only because they are adding on the length of the extras too, the film duration is actually just three quarters of an hour. With additional runtime or a more clever approach to depicting the characters this could have been a more heartfelt historical epic, but as it stands it feels pretty average.

In a nutshell: Kai Doh Maru shows great promise and has the potential to be a unique must-have title for the DVD shelf, but it ends up feeling like an experimental piece of cinema which initially looks good but ends up being nothing special.
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on 21 February 2010
I must say I had better expectations for this movie...

Don't take me wrong, the animation is out of the ordinary, the scenery is compelling and the action sequences are very graphic.
In the other hand, the storyline isn't clear if you don't read the back of the box and some of the extras first you won't fully understand the plot. It seems that the authors expect you to know a lot of information that's not explicit on the movie. The action sequences are good but too short, it's not easy to memorize the names of the characters (approximately 10...), the Portuguese subtitles messed up a bit with Kintoki's sex calling her "prince" in the beginning, and the overall movie is too short...

If you've read this and other reviews, and you're still interested in this movie, by all means buy it. It's really out of the ordinary, having an involving mystic, very complete extras, especially a lot of previews (more than 10), and it's not expensive for an alternative quality anime movie.

Enjoy it without many expectations and for what it really is.
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on 3 June 2013
I choose this offer because of the price. Delivery was very fast. I would recommend this prodact to those who likes Japan culture and history.
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on 13 October 2003
Maybe I'm a little cynical - my reviews never seem to score more than 3 stars - but this film just does not deserve the merit it has recieved. True, the animation style is beautiful and refreshing but it is also tiring on the eyes. The three friends who watched the film with me all got tired of straining through the fuzzy-focus effect that this style creates (and no, it's not my TV - it's a 32" HDTV). Like it's predecessor, the film is guilty of style over content: the plot seems limited, the story is short and the conclusion is unfulfilling. Like Blood, it felt like a long trailer, and while I was waiting for it to get going...it ended. I so wanted to enjoy this film, and I think 3 stars actually reflects that: If I didn't love anime so much it would get a 2. Kai Doh Maru is a thing of beauty and a work of art in it's own right...but so is the Mona Lisa, and that doesn't make much of a film either.
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on 2 May 2004
Yes, ok, despite being advertised as 80 min long, it is in fact 49 minutes (complete with "montage" at the end of the credits) long. Firstly, the extras are not very good, with the creators mumbling about how they did it (filmed on something like a VHS C camcorder from Dixons!!!)
But that's not the important part anyway. The main feature is just Lush. It is the ONLY watercolour anime out there. The visuals are stunning and, coupled with a good surround sound mix, immerses you in the atmosphere of feudal Japan. You can tell it's from the same stable as Blood: the last vampire.
The plot is fairly complex, and you may have to watch a couple of times before it becomes clearer (watching between Jap with Eng subtitles, and Eng alone, shows slight differences in translation but may also clarify things a little).
And again, because the story is so short, it seems more like a short channel 4 animation then a feature length manga movie. However, you'll love the artwork on display here so much it'll more than make up for the timespan. A definite MUST HAVE.
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on 24 June 2010
OK, first things first, the film does look good. Not THAT good, but along the lines you have come to expect from the big animation studios.

Right, that's about all I have to say in its defence. The plot was stupidly boring and frankly not something I would have thought could interest anyone. The characters are all so simple they might as well have been drawn as manaquin dummies, with everything about them being left to sub-text that was boring in the first place. Had this been a longer film then maybe they could have gotten into it all a lot better. Which brings me to my next point...the box says 80 mins (approx) but I'm not sure it even lasted 60. OK, I did fastfoward through the end credits to see if there was anything after (which there is, for about 4 mins) but unless I skipped through 20 mins of credits then that 80 mins (approx) is a very lax calculation.

To be honest 2 stars might be being generous. In fact, it is, but I'm a generous guy.
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on 5 June 2004
What an amazing film. It is very short and has a VERY complex plot, but most of you will have no problems understanding what's going on after watching it twice.
The plot is very political, being set in the Samurai times, and is of a girl who is raised as a boy and becomes a samurai. She is treated as 'one of the lads' but secretly loves the leader of her group (who feels the same). The is intertwined with another plot about a gang of "voodoo bandits" wreaking havoc in the city. On top of this, there is the political manouvering in the capital, and there are at least two more subplots intertwined again. As I said, watch it twice before you decide.
The other good thing about this film is that it is unashamedly Japanese and makes no effort to appeal to western audiences....a genuine manga. Oh....and the animation is simply stunning.
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on 13 June 2012
Before you watch it you must read the back of the case and all the character profiles to actually understand what the hell is going on. Trust me it will help alot, the actually animation and colouring of the picture is based on the style of the art from the Heian period (794 to 1185), this is when the story is based.

While the actual story is confusing it's really good once you understand it and the animation does have an artistic style to it. Wouldn't recommend it to someone new to anime though also the english dub isn't very good but theres some great extras on the disc.
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on 22 February 2010
what can i say..... the art work was poor, it was really short and it has a weak story with character that have no substance and relationship between character are not show so its having to make a lot of guess work. If you like period animes like this there are far better ones out there to spend your money on.
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on 16 April 2012
Visually this film is amazing. However the plot seems sporadic, confusing and unsettling. By the end of the film I am left with a thought of 'What have I just watched? What just happened there? No idea. 2 hours passed me by.
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