Based on a manga by Ryohei Saigan, “Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura” is not the first adaptation of Saigan onto the big screen, as director Takashi Yamazaki adapted several of Saigan’s manga series. It is no coincidence that Takashi Yamazaki decided to adapt this surreal story, as he is considered one of the leading special effect authorities in Japan.
The film is set in what appears to be early 20th century Japan in an alternative world in which Youkai (supernatural creatures) live among the humans. Kamakura is a modest town where Akiko (Mitsuki Takahata), a young and energetic woman, moves in with her new husband Isshiki Masakazu (Masato Sakai), a mystery writer and freelancer detective working for the police. In this town, the magical creatures and humans live peacefully together. However, there is an evil creature that is after Akiko.
“Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura” portrays a lovely romantic tale, remarking that by doing respectable deeds there is always a positive result. In addition to this main story, the creatures of Kamakura reveal relevant information that offers the main protagonist vital information. The creatures of the film are adorable and fascinating to watch. The customs and CGI are impeccable. These effects are not out of place, nor disturbing to the eye; they blend with the setting.
Furthermore, Masato Sakai and Mitsuki Takahata have a wonderful chemistry. Their characters complement each other: with Akiko’s effervescent and soft-hearted personality and Isshiki’s mature version of her with a realistic view of the world. Both actors and the entire cast are suitable for their roles, as they become one with their characters and make them credible. The cinematography (Kozo Shibasaki) along with the costumes represent a beautiful and carefully developed setting. In combination with the CGI, the setting produces an almost non-fictional place that could exist: a “Spirited Away” (2001) mixed with “Monster Hunt” (2015).
As the story progresses, Isshiki discovers additional information about the magical world of Kamakura and its afterlife. However, before all the happenings become clear, we are introduced to various events which may seem irrelevant and perhaps could have been removed from the film in order to create a concrete storyline. An element that could be removed is, for example, the first police investigation or perhaps even shorten the story of his friend Mr Honda (Shinichi Tsutsumi), as by the end, Mr Honda’s side-story is an amusing and touching element in the manga but less relevant in the film. Nevertheless, all the side-stories are charming and thoroughly developed. As spectators, we become familiar with the other characters in the same way we know the protagonists, with the exception of a few characters which are there just to help Isshiki.
After forty minutes of watching the feature, the storyline is still unclear, but there is an essence of evilness and the incorporation of odd characters such as the “God of bad luck” which makes us wonder what is going to happen. It captures our attention and leave us wanting to know further about Kamakura. As the film has various side-stories that retain our attention, its pace is not disturbing. The film progresses slowly but firmly through an entertaining and romantic way, as we discover extra information about the relationship of Isshiki with Akiko and with his family.
“Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura” is a magical and pleasant story with a positive vibe.