It’s impossible to watch this film and not be reminded of anime films like CHIHIRO’S VOYAGE (aka SPIRITED AWAY). Also, I’ve read other reviews of this film that made the same comparison and I didn’t think I would need to until I saw the movie. This is a Japanese anime come to life, and I’m talking specifically of one that would fit in nicely with any made by Studio Ghibli.
Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura takes young Akiko (Mitsuki Takahata) and fantasy writer Isshiki Masakazu (Masato Sakai) back to Kamakura, a small town where Masakazu was born. He warns her (and us) that the town is a magnet for magic energies, and he’s not kidding. All sort of Japanese mythical creatures live in town and even the dead often commune with the living. For the young Akiko, it will take time to get used to the place.
Meanwhile, Masakazu has writer’s block and as he’s a bit of a scatter brain he often forgets to remind his young wife why she should be careful of enchantments and strange otherworldly markets. By the way, that scene at the market is pure delight. You can’t really miss it.
I was having fun just with the usual daily routine in Kamakura but director Takashi Yamazaki not only creates a world we’d all love to visit, he also has some stories to tell. There’s a few side characters, a family mystery to solve and finally a big bad that will have to be dealt with if Akiko and Masakazu want to remain together.
I hate to walk so close to spoiler-ish territory, but I kinda found the big confrontation and resolution at the end a bit lacking. It’s doesn’t turn me completely off the movie, but it’s frustrating to see this amount of world building and lore not being able to come up with something more clever.
Recommended with reservations. The CGI is just passable, meaning that by the time you see this it will feel a bit dated. The lore has so much potential, which really made the finale feel a bit weak for me. The characters are charming for the most part, but the bad guys could’ve used some work. Despite its shortcomings, it’s a fun movie to watch.
That will do for now.