It is the eleventh century and the Heian emperor knows that the spirit world is against the continuation of his line. He calls upon the masters of the yin-yang arts to protect him. This band is, however, itself divided by enmity. The envious Doson resents the talented Abe no Seimei, casts a spell on the infant heir and transforms it into a hideous creature. Seimei calls upon supernatural aid and cures the child but Doson works his evil ways once more and creates a demon set to murder both child and mother. ~~ Adapted from the novel series "Onmyouji" (陰陽師) by Yumemakura Baku (夢枕獏). Edit Translation
- magyar / magyar nyelv
Cast & Credits
Not every country can boast that it had officially appointed sorcerers and diviners but Japan certainly can. Its onmyojis had practiced Japanese esoteric cosmology (that had been heavily influenced by China) since 7th century. The most famous onmyojis lived during Heian period when fine arts and sophistication were valued very high. So pop-culture usually portrays onmyojis as sly experts both in human nature and in natural sciences who could write poetry, navigate complex court politics, and observe the motion of the stars with the same ease.
The most legendary onmyoji in the history of Japan - Abe no Seimei - was so sly people said a kitsune gave birth to him. This Abe no Seimei is one of the central characters of this movie. He's played by Nomura Mansai who perfectly captures Abe no Seimei's fox-like nature. Nomura is a kabuki actor so he also gives his character a grace and manners suitable for the time period.
Ito Hideaki plays a court official called Hiromasa who serves as a foil for Abe no Seimei: Hiromasa is young, naive, and decent. For viewers who used to seeing Ito Hideaki playing hard-boiled detectives and cold-blooded murderers watching this young and foolish Hiromasa is very amusing. Abe no Seimei thinks so too and befriends him.
When Abe no Seimei's rival onmyoji bent on the world domination starts to threaten the capital city, it is this friendship that makes Abe no Seimei to take action. Naturally, sly onmyoji would not want to go to battle for such trivial matters as the end of the human world otherwise.
The movie consists of several cases as Abe no Seimei thwarts attempt after attempt of his rival to gain influence. The story is very lighthearted and simple despite some dramatic scenes.
The magic lore is portrayed quite thoroughly so if you've been seeing glimpses of it here and there in anime and J-dramas, this movie will finally put it all in a system.
While this movie premiered just one year before Lord of the Rings, CGI and other special effects are very bad. Costumes and sets make up for it somewhat.
All in all, this movie is nice lighthearted introduction to one of the most famous Japanese historical figure (and character archetype) and magic lore.