DESTINY: THE TALE OF KAMAKURA (2017) Review, Directed by Takashi Yamazaki, Fantasia 2018

Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura, Directed by Takashi Yamazaki, Japan

Overview: Not only is Kamakura-based Masakazu Isshiki (Masato Sakai) a mystery novelist, but he is also a good detective himself. His wife Akiko (Mitsuki Takahata) and he are acquainted with all manners of creatures and gods, both good and evil.

Alternate title: Destiny: Kamakura monogatari

Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Writers: Ryohei Saigan (manga), Takashi Yamazaki (screenplay)
Starring: Masato Sakai, Mitsuki Takahata, Shin’ichi Tsutsumi

Gavin’s Rating

Review: Destiny – The Tale of Kamakura

This film is simply bursting with fantasy elements, countless creatures and even music reminiscent of the HARRY POTTER franchise. Although the story presented here is self-contained and wraps up smoothly, a whole series of films based on this world could be made. It is evident the creators spent just as much time thinking up who and what would populate the city as they spent on the narrative itself.

Though billed as a fantasy with mystery elements, or a mystery with fantasy elements, it is just as much a romance across multiple reincarnations. Masakazu and Akiko are not simply joined in the here and now, but for all eternity, which has cosmic consequences. The crux of the mystery is intricately tied to their union: who is the jealous one seeking to prevent their happiness?

Perhaps a familiarity with Japanese folklore would help a viewer, but it is not necessary. The demons Tentōki and Ryūtōki are central to the story, but my lack of knowledge did not hurt my ability to appreciate the film. A similar claim could be made for other Japanese entertainment as viewed by Americans. Take, for example, YO-KAI WATCH (affiliate link). The kappa (turtle demon) is a common character on the show. Do we need to know the kappa are often accused of assaulting humans in water and removing a mythical organ called the shirikodama from their victim’s anus? No.

My biggest concern for this film is that I think it would resonate more with children than adults (though it reached this old man just fine). And would American children watch a film with subtitles? I’m not sure. But if they would, this should move to the top of their list.

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