Released in 2004 in Japan, this film feels like a cross between V for Vendetta
. The thing is, it came out before either of them, and its visual impact surpasses both. Achieved by a combination of high-end computer animation and powerful set design that merges Eurasian authoritarianism, East Asian calligraphic elegance and high-tech smoothness, the artistic impact of this film’s scenery makes up for the disappointing plotline. Fortunately, the dystopic brutality at the core of writer/director Kazuaki Kiriya’s film is as elegant as it is engrossing. Though the film’s central plot – a genetic experiment to overcome death in an effort to win a long-running war goes wrong – is “simple,” the textures, themes and subplots Kiriya brings to play are intricate and complex. Frankly, this is the downside of a film this beautifully rendered; with so much visual opulence, paying attention to the actual story
is occasionally difficult. Thankfully, the DVD format allows repeated viewings, something both necessary and deserved in the case of Casshern.