Legendary special effects wizard Yoshihiro Nishimura is the director, writer, producer, editor, special effects supervisor, and creature designer for The Ninja War of Torakage. It is safe to say Nishimura is an ambitious man with a vision. Does he have the talent to support it? He has had mixed success with his previous efforts, and is most widely known for his no holds barred ultra-gore extravaganza, Tokyo Gore Police (2008). Previously, his films have been for only the most hardened of gore and genre fanatics. Now, with Torakage, Nishumura expands his availability to a wider audience by finding quite the sweet spot.
The Ninja War of Torakage is extremely well paced as it rocks along to a powerful soundtrack. Heavy metal ninja carnage is just what the doctor ordered. Also, Nishimura employs some excellent sound effects that fully embody the the cinematic ninja spirit, where every shuriken hits with bullet like ferocity. With the editing tight, the music and sound effects almost throughout the entire movie make for very few dull moments.
Also, there are some hilarious and well-timed interludes with a guy dressed in foreign clothing named Francisco, who informs the audience about the ways of the ninja. These sequences also incorporate some well animated shadow puppet segments that add some color and extra humor to further increase the fun factor.
The story is quite simple, which makes Torakage superb popcorn fare. What makes it so special is Nishimura’s over-the-top action sequences coupled with his clever visual effects. Whether its ninjas interlocking their bodies and flying through the air with their swords extended while spinning like a top to create the “human shuriken” technique, or surfing down the side of a castle wall on a plank while continuing to clash swords, be prepared for some fun battle sequences!
The characters are all unique, and played seriously enough to bring more weight to the overall production. Takumi Saito does an awesome job playing a father and a ninja as Torakage, but other characters are interesting too. Kentaro Shimazu plays an evil wizard of sorts, who controls the mind of a princess who is the figurehead of an ancient religion that worships water. He and his grasp over her mind cause for some major upsets in Torakage and his wife’s plan of quickly stealing the treasured scroll. Also, Eihi Shiina (Audition) (Tokyo Gore Police) has the perfect aura and screen presence to play the ruthless female leader of Torakage’s old ninja clan. And it must be mentioned, director Nishimura has created another unique creature that has hands for wings and eyeballs all over its body which plays its own unique part in some of the battles.
Overall, Torakage is great fun. It is filled with super charged ninja action that will get your pulse rate up. But Torakage isn’t all fluff, and can stir some deeper feelings regarding family, loyalty, and tradition. It was super exciting to see in the end credits that a second installment is to be expected, I would love this as a franchise! Highly recommended!
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