Ooe-yama Shuten-dôji / Demon of Mt. Oe
Director: Tanaka Tokuzo
Writers: Kawaguchi Matsutaro, Yahiro Fuji
Genre: Jidaigeki, Kaiju eiga
Description: Demon mountain, Minamoto no Yorimitsu and the gang, protecting the people, fight against bandits, funny monster
Cast: Ichikawa Raizo, Hasegawa Kazuo, Katsu Shintaro, Hongo Kojiro, Nakamura Ganjiro, Nakamura Yutaka, Yamamoto Fujiko, Hidari Sachiko, Hayashi Narutoshi, Shimada Ryuzu
Crew of note:
Runtime: 115 mins.
Minamoto no Yorimitsu (or Raiko for short) and his fantastic four must stop Shuten-dôji and his crazy bandits and sorcerers (including a Tsuchigumo, or spider demon) from their evil plan of overthrowing the Mikado (the emperor and his empire) and stealing all their chicks.
Rundown of characters!
=The Good Guys=
Minamoto no Yorimitsu – Played By Raizo; famous military general of the Fujiwara, subject of many stories and legends; badass
Watanabe no Tsuna – Played by Shintaro; one of the Four Guardian Kings; uses a sword and bow; likes flirting with demons
Sakata no Kintoki – Played by Hongo Kojiro; one of the Four Guardian Kings; uses a battle axe; mountain man extraordinaire
Urabe no Suetake and Usui Sadamitsu – The two other Guardian Kings who aren’t featured as much in the film–sorry dudes
=The Bad Guys=
Shuten-dôji – Played by Hasegawa Kazuo; formerly known as Bizen; leader of the Mt. Oe bandits; hates the Mikado; wears a funky wig
Ibaraki-dôji – Lady vixen sorceress who turns into a really ugly demon-woman. Major turn-off.
Tsuchigomo – A creepy sorcerer who throws string to tie people up; turns into a giant spider when pissed off
A dude that turns into a giant bull, forgot his name; has bad breath
Lots of bandits with bad hair?
For more info (and spoilers): This website has a pretty detailed story or just use wikipedia?
Movies based on famous plays/novels and history always create a special spectacle especially when they involve legendary characters. Few are more famous than Minamoto no Yorimitsu and his Four Guardian Kings. For the most part, the film follows the legend very well, from Ibaraki-dôji’s encounter with Tsuna, down to the final plan Minamoto no Yorimitsu hatches in order to defeat the bandits. However, Tanaka chooses to sympathize with Shuten-dôji and gives him ample screen time (well they should considering how much they probably paid Hasegawa). They develop his character and his reason for becoming the leader of the bandits, and from the opening scene we can see Tanaka’s condemnation of the abusive Mikado. Sure, Raiko and the gang are the heroes of the film, and they’re on the Mikado’s side, but the Mikado is portrayed as, perhaps, the greater evil here. This humanization of the the villain leads to a more interesting conflict, and certainly a more interesting final showdown (which of course is always inevitable).
The main spectacle here, of course, is the idea of putting two cool things together and making them kill each other: samurai and monsters + bandits. A large battle in the mountains with hundreds of extras, elaborate sets, flaming giant rocks, a giant spider, a giant bull, bandits with terrible hair, cool battle armor, a glowing sword, and cheezy 60’s special effects are just some of the things you’ll see in this extravaganza. They certainly went all-out in trying to recreate the legend, and for the most part the movie succeeds. It does not encumber itself with life lessons and overt political nonsense and never tries to be anything more than a retelling of this memorable tale.
If you like samurai, history/literature lessons, and 60’s monster movies, this has it all. With a superb cast of superstars and an interesting interpretation of the famous legend, Demon of Mt. Oe is both educational and fun. Always a good combination if you ask me.
things to take note of
The funny yokai/monsters
The all-star cast
Raizo vs. Kazuo
Hongo Kojiro heaves his battle axe
Samurai vs Giant Spider
why you should watch this
An all star cast of jidaigeki STARS (not just regulars)
Learning about Japanese culture/folklore is always fun when supplied by movies
similar movies, maybe:
Honestly haven’t watched many Kaiju-jidaigeki