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As big a break-out for manga on film as Akira

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In a world ravaged by war and pollution, scientist Dr. Azuma (Terao) struggles to save humanity with self-healing "neo-cells". But when his lab is struck by lightning, his experiments come to life and launch an offensive on humanity...

One of the joys of The Matrix was that it was the nearest we'd yet come to seeing a live-action anime. This Japanese sci-fi epic, directed, shot, cut and co-written by debut filmmaker Kazuaki Kiriya, comes even nearer. Yet, with its 'digital backlot' shooting method and retro-fitted, '40s-future setting, its nearest Western equivalent is Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow - given the dark shadings of Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

Visually, it's astounding. Rejecting the hyper-realistic burnish of Lucas-like CGI, Kiriya dirties his images, saturating colours in some scenes, bleaching them to harsh black-and-white in others, all the while embracing fantastic impossibility. In one sequence, the clunky, spike-helmed robot hordes march along as red-and-black Communist-poster cut-outs. In another, an immense brick building takes to the skies, aided only by a rickety array of propellers.

Being an adaptation of a 35-episode '70s cartoon show, though, Casshern struggles in its storytelling. Overlong and overedited, the film clumsily attempts to make connections between every character. Still, like much anime, it's an experience of the imagination rather than intellect, so the story's confused, agitated operatics are at least balanced out by Kiriya's impressive aesthetic flourishes.


Casshern Casshern
Released: 25 April 2005
A second disc has press conference interviews, deleted scenes with director commentary and a few other tid-bits, but it’s the optimal presentation of the film that makes this a great release.

It’s Sky Captain’s mad Asian cousin: flawed and messy, but a hell of a looker.

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Average user rating for Casshern
Empire Star Rating

I thouroughly enjoyed this film. The visuals don't bear commenting on, this film is gorgeous. I found the story engaging, if a little hard to follow. whilst being a good film, it is flawed in places. The plot as mentioned, can be hard to follow due to the sheer complexity of what is going on. Also the pace of the film suffers at times, though a little patience will reward you for sticking with it. This film doesn't give you all the answers or lay things out as simply as most films do, which c... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by transbluent at 22:00, 15 June 2012 | Report This Post

A Masterpeice

Like msmuse101 I too had to watch Casshern 3 times before I truly appreciated it. The first two times I watched it, I would have gladly given it one star. Yet after a lecture in my media studies class I decided to view the film, by focusing more on the director's use of film language, and questioning his use of it, such as why certain scenes have a darker tone than others, and the use of colour in most scenes. Another factor, which aided me in appreciating this movie, was trying to decipher wh... More

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Posted by dgribble at 16:39, 22 December 2008 | Report This Post

Nothing can beat this!

This has to be my favorite film of all time. I am a massive fan of Asian cinema in the first place, so when I saw this sitting on an HMV shelf I was intrigued. Then when I received it as a birthday present, I was overjoyed. But I didn't know what was waiting for me. A mind blowing fusion of incredible action, fascinating and gorgeous looks, excellent storytelling and a jaw dropping finale that all combine to make this one of the greatest films ever made. In my opinion :p ... More

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Posted by TargetF209 at 19:21, 25 March 2008 | Report This Post

i have this film on dvd and agree with msmuse101. i think this film is truly amazing, possibly overcomplicated but hat's what makes it what it is, a live actoin manga which does challenge your intellect. Please do not compare this to the matrix or, sky captain and the world of whenever. It is an origional masterpiece which took me a good few watches to fully understand. Peace out. ... More

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Posted by holm at 16:02, 19 December 2007 | Report This Post

This Film Is Phenominal!

People who say this film is flawed and too long say this because they don't understand it. It took me a good three watches to completely understand and it does help if youv'e seen the original 70's Anime series as it will explain some of the small details in the film. Comparing this film to The Matrix or Sky Captain, just doesn't do this epic masterpiece any justice as it is soo much more than this. Its like a live action manga that would be better compared to Appleseed or Ghost in the shell, Yo... More

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Posted by msmuse101 at 20:45, 03 July 2006 | Report This Post

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