Legend of the Eight Dog Warriors
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Picture Credit: Your wikiname
English Title: Legend of the Eight Dog Warriors
Japanese Title: 里見八犬伝
Romanized Title: Satomi Hakkenden
Performances: Bow Hall, 8/2 - 8/11; Nippon Seinenkan Hall, 8/16 - 8/22
Based On: Kyokutei Bakin's 19th century novel "Hakkenden"
Author/Director: Suzuki Kei
Music: Bob Sakuma
Choreography: Hanayagi Yoshijirou, Wakao Risa
Available on DVD: Yes (release date 5/05/07)
DVD Scene/Music Cut: None
|Inue Shinbei (one of the eight dog warriors - Sympathy)||Mizu Natsuki|
|Shizu-Hime (princess of Satomi)||Kusanagi Moe|
|Inutsuka Shino (one of the eight dog warriors - Filial Piety)||Nanaho Hikaru|
|Hamaji (Shino's step-sister)||Sakihana An|
|Inukahi Genpachi (one of the eight dog warriors - Truth)||Hayami Riki|
|Inuyama Dousetsu (one of the eight dog warriors - Loyalty)||Misato Maya|
|Inuzaka Keno (one of the eight dog warriors - Gratitude)||Kazune Miou|
|Inumura Kamori (one of the eight dog warriors - Justice)||Kazu Ryouka|
|Inuta Kobungo (one of the eight dog warriors - Botherhood)||Yume Daiki|
|Inukawa Sousuke (one of the eight dog warriors - Wisdom)||Ayahana Chika|
|Sugikura Kisonosuke (vassal of the Satomi household)||Hosumi Sae|
|Hikita Motofuji (a man out for revenge on the Satomi clan)||Yuumi Hiro|
|Hikita Tamazusa (Motofuji's mother)||Takayagi Midori|
|Funamushi (old woman)||Suzuka Teru|
|Old Man (user of witchcraft)||Takahane Ukyou|
|Younosuke (snake charmer)||Tsukioka Nanao|
|Hinoue Kyuuroku (Hamaji's fiance)||Maki Kaoru|
Others: Shirakawa Ruri, Ushio Waka, Seino Kaju, Karin Moyuru, Hanakage Arisu, Hamuro Chiari, Harukaze Misato, Hanatsuyu Sumika, Ayane Raira, Houshou Dai, Asane Satsuto, Nagina Ruumi, Akatsuki Gou
WARNING!! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!
In this version of Hakkenden we begin with Shizu-Hime fleeing with clan vassals. Both vassals are killed by the enemy, but Shizu-Hime escapes. She wanders, destitute, for a short time and meets Shinbei. Shinbei at first takes her for a boy, and a thief, but shares his food with her. Just as he realizes that she is a girl, two warriors com swooping down and carry her away, pursued by more men in the uniforms of those who were chasing her before. Shinbei hears them call her a princess, and begins to plot to capture her and turn her in for a reward.
Meanwhile, the two men introduce themselves to Shizu-Hime as Dousetsu and Kamori. They tell her they were born to serve her, and explain to her the legend of the eight dog warriors. A hundred years ago, the head of the Satomi clan was besieged by enemies and expecting to die. As a joke, he promised the family dog that he would give him his daughter in marriage if the dog could kill the leader of their enemies. The dog did so, casting the enemies into hell, and so the lord had to fulfill his promise. Fuse-Hime married the dog, and became pregnant in a virgin birth. Out of embarrassment for carrying the child of a dog, she killed herself. Her children were then born as spirits. As she died, the string of her rosary was cut, and the beads fell. Eight of them contained the spirits of her children.
Now, one hundred years later, eight children have been born mortals, but containing the spirits of the princess's sons. They carry with them the mystical beads, which no one else can see. Their job is to protect the princess and win back the country from the undying enemies which have returned from hell to claim their revenge. Dousetsu learned all of this when he found a scroll. Now he is seeking the other Hakkenshi, or eight dog warriors.
Meanwhile, an engagement ceremony is being held. The dancer (Keno) suddenly turns and attacks the groom-to-be. The step-brother of the bride-to-be (Shino) attacks the dancer, and they fight. At the last minute the sister, Hamaji, throws herself in front of Shino to protect him, and is killed. As she dies in her step-brother's arms, she admits that she has always been in love with him. He admits the same to her, and is devastated by her death. He leaves to pursue Keno. Hamaji's body is claimed by two odd old people.
As Keno flees, she runs into Younosuke, a snake charmer and sworn enemy of the Hakkenshi. He is terribly attracted to her fiery spirit and way with weapons, and nearly convinces her to give in to him. But then he realizes she is a Hakkenshi, and when she discovers that he can see her crystal bead, she knows he is her enemy and runs from him.
Shinbei catches up to Shizu-Hime and runs off with her as his captive. But as they head for the occupied castle, they pass through a village which has been burnt to the ground. They are both shocked, and learn that it is their enemy, Motofuji, who ordered it done, claiming that the village was harboring the princess. Motofuji's men appear, tormenting a village boy. Shinbei runs out to save the boy, and confronts one of Motofuji's generals, Genpachi. They fight, and Genpachi is winning, but as he moves to make the final stroke, lightning strikes, knocking all three down. A confused Genpachi discovers he is carrying a glowing crystal. He flees. Shinbei and Shizu-Hime recover, but find the villagers have returned. The princess decides that she will go to the castle and turn herself in, for the sake of the townspeople. They don't believe her, and try to kill her in their grief. Shinbei protects her, and the two flee as well.
In a glade in the forest, six of the Hakkenshi are united. Two are Keno and Shino, who are convinced to set aside their past for the sake of their fate. Suddenly Shinbei arrives with the princess. They greet him with distrust, and while Dousetsu is glad that he returned the princess, he says that as Shinbei is not a Hakkenshi, he must leave. The princess doesn't want to part with her new protector, so she gives him the flute of Fuse-Hime as a parting gift. That night she dreams that she heard the flute and Shinbei calling out to her.... but Dousetsu tells her she was imaginging things.
Meanwhile, Shinbei has been captured. Motofuji and his mother Tamazusa arrive, and Tamazusa tells Motofuji that Shinbei is his long-lost little brother. No one is happy with this news. Shinbei blows the flute, trying to reject Tamazusa's influence, and everyone in the court is pained by the sound. Everyone except Gepachi, who looks startled. Motofuji cuts down Shinbei to stop him from playing the flute.
In the clearing, the Hakkenshi are surprised to see one of Motofuji's soldiers arrive. Genpachi shows them his crystal bead, however, and they know he is one of them. He is pulling a cart with the body of Shinbei — Genpachi tells them that Shinbei is Motofuji's younger brother. The princess wakes up and goes to Shinbei, who suddenly jerks back into life. Darkly, he tells her that she has betrayed him, and begins fighting wildly. But just as he moves to make the killing blow, lighting strikes and he returns to normal. He, too, now carries one of the crystal beads. Shinbei and the princess confirm their love for one another, but then the princess is captured by enemy troupes.
The Hakkenshi appeal for help and are given a supernatural bow and arrow. None of them can draw it, however, and they realize it must be meant for the princess. They prepare to assault the castle and Motofuji.
As they fight their way into the castle, the Hakkenshi die one by one. Keno fights with Younosuke, and the two die together. Shino finds himself facing Hamaji, reanimated by witchcraft. He is forced to kill her, but then dies with her. Finally only Dousetsu and Shinbei remain to face Motofuji and his mother. Dousetsu is killed as well, but Shinbei manages to cut Shizu-Hime free. The two are surrounded, and it looks like the end, when Shinbei remembers the bow he carries. Although he can't draw it, he stabs Motofuji with the arrow. Together, Shizu-Hime and Shinbei draw the bow and shoot Tamazusa.
When everything is calm once more, Shinbei says farewell to the princess, since they are such completely different people. Neither of them is happy with this situation, however, and eventually she chases him down and the two are united for good.
Satomi Hakkenden - Review by Ekusudei
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