Sakuya: Yôkaiden
2000 / 88m - Japan
Adventure, Fantasy
Sakuya: Slayer of Demons poster


March 07, 2022


A surprisingly fun and accomplished yokai/fantasy adventure. I hadn't expected that much from this film and the oldskool effects may find some detractors, but there's a lot of charm here and the film does manage to be quite impressive when needed. It's not quite up there with Miike's film, but notably better than some of its predecessors.

Sakuya is the daughter of a famous Samurai. When Mount Fuji erupts in the 17th century, it releases a bunch of yokai. Sakuya's father is killed trying to stop the yokai from invading the human world. He gifts his famous sword to his daughter, who inherits his mission. Together with a young kappa, she sets out to fight the evil yokai.

The effects are mostly traditional, but sleek camerawork and impressive sets do make a big difference. The result isn't unlike Chow's A Chinese Odyssey films. The performances aren't great, and the plot is very minimal, but that doesn't really stand in the way of the amusement. I had a lot of fun with this one, surprised it's still relatively unknown.