Inu-Oh

Inu-Oh is an anime film about a blind biwa player and a dancing bogle, who invent rock and roll in medieval Japan.

600 years ago, two shoguns are fighting to prove they are the legitimate leader. They have a huge battle at sea and the losing side are soundly thumped. The royal sword is lost to the waves though. Tomona and his father are divers who get hired to retrieve it. However a curse hangs over all the wreckage. When Tomona’s father unsheathes the sword, its brilliance blinds Tomona, and kills his father.

Tomona learns to survive by becoming a biwa player. He tells stories, singing and playing for the aristocracy and commoners. One day he runs into Inu-Oh.

Inu-Oh was subject to a curse at birth that left him hideously deformed. And I don’t mean, a bit uneven in the face – when we first meet him he is essentially a ball with two hoofs and a hand. He has a mask that permanently covers his face, and has eye holes in odd places. But Inu-oh isn’t melancholy, he’s always upbeat and mischievous. He grows up around the dance studio for the shogun’s official Noh performers. There, a fanatic troupe leader drills the dancers mercilessly. Inu-Oh loves dance and copies all their moves.

Tomona helps Inu-Oh with his curse by telling him to listen to the spirits, and they realise he is surrounded by the souls of the defeated fleet. Tomona sings their stories, while Inu-Oh dances and with every success, the curse is lifted from a part of Inu-Oh’s body.

Together they form their own troupe which is the greatest music sensation the land has ever seen. Taking from The Who, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, among numerous others, their performances incorporate gymnastics, acrobatics, pyrotechnics, light shows, breakdancing, and all the spectacles of modern concerts.

A great wee film about how music and dance heal.