Director: Kazuaki Kiriya

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

CasshernThe totalitarian future is groddy, gothic, Blade Runneresque, polluted with radiation, war-torn, with mutants arising everywhere due to medical technology run amuck, & Casshern (2004) captures it at the fringe of becoming anime, the live-action film having been based in large part on a 1973 anime with the same title.

Humanity has so polluted itself that extinction is inevitable. A scientist believes he has unlocked the secret of human regeneration. And an aging general who heads the war ministry wants to support this research, though only for the sake of his own immortality.

The osmosis tank generating designated body parts goes haywire & begins producing gruesome clones, beautiful in their own way though ultimately Frankenstein monsters. All hell breaks loose as guards arrive to blow them to smithereens. Many escaped, pursued by soldiers. The clones form a ragtag group of surivors, carrying their wounded, heading for Zone Seven.

Tatsuya (Yasuke Iseya), killed in battle, was prepared for burial. But his father Dr. Azuma (Akira Terao), inventor of the process that went awry, sunk his son into the regeneration pool, while Tatsuya's ghost looks on, screaming unheard: "I don't want to come back! Stop!"

Five clones make it to a northern fortress. These neo-sapiens decide to form their own kingdom which will devote all powers to the eradication of old mankind. They build an army of robot warriors. They design war machines. They begin to wreck havoc among humanity.

CasshernMeanwhile, Tatsuya's regeneration has proven different from any that had been done before, in that he's growing so strong that his body can't contain itself. An experimental armor may keep him from blowing up.

"Casshern" is the name of a guardian spirit, or god of clones, & Tatsuya appears to be his incarnation, resembling as he does old religious statuary, & having what appears to be limitless powers.

Only resurged Tatsuya/Casshern in his confinement armor is strong enough to fight the neo-sapiens. The super-battles between Tatsuya & the neos are spectacular in design with genuine otherworldy science fiction beauty.

Although the premises range from through material best suited to comic books & video games, this is surprisingly well acted science fiction, a good story with some marvels & emotion, & with the most remarkable visual design throughout.

The ending was dragged out interminably & a few other faults keep Casshern from perfection. But in generally it's one hell of a lot better than films of this type usually aspire to be.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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