Samurai Shodown: The Motion Picture

A short animated feature based on a Japanese video game, SAMURAI SHODOWN: THE MOTION PICTURE offers the by-now-standard anime theme of super-powered teen warriors battling the forces of darkness. Despite limited, TV-style animation, it offers a fast-paced, action-packed tale that is suitable for younger audiences. In 18th century Japan, at the Battle of...read more

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A short animated feature based on a Japanese video game, SAMURAI SHODOWN: THE MOTION PICTURE offers the by-now-standard anime theme of super-powered teen warriors battling the forces of darkness. Despite limited, TV-style animation, it offers a fast-paced, action-packed tale that is

suitable for younger audiences.

In 18th century Japan, at the Battle of Shimbara, Shirou Amakusa betrays her six fellow Holy Warriors to side with Ankokushin-Ambrosia, the Lord of Darkness. She kills the Holy Warriors but their spirits escape and are reborn 100 years later.

Haohmaru, a Japanese fencer, has no memory of his past life, even after he is joined by the five other Holy Warriors, Charlotte, Wan Fu, Galford, Tam Tam, and Nakoruru, who try to enlist him in their renewed battle with Amakusa. When Amakusa's army plunders his village and kills his mother,

Haohmaru is so roused by anger that he takes on Amakusa and her forces singlehanded in a foolhardy attack on the fortress of Ankokushin-Ambrosia. Ankokushin feeds off Haohmaru's anger and almost captures the boy's soul--until the other warriors pool their energy and enable Charlotte to escape with

Haohmaru.

With Charlotte's help, Haohmaru recalls his destiny as a Holy Warrior and flies back with Charlotte to the Fortress for a renewed attack on Amakusa and Ankokushin. This time they are joined by the Shogun's forces and the people of the countryside. Mortally wounded, Amakusa repents and gives her

sword to Haohmaru to enable him and the warriors to defeat Ankokushin and reseal him in his stone fortress.

While lacking the visual splendor and bone-crunching displays of action seen in STREET FIGHTER II and FATAL FURY: THE MOTION PICTURE, the other video game-based Japanese animated features of 1994, SAMURAI SHODOWN sticks to a compelling storyline and an attractive multicultural cast of characters

drawn from four continents. Those responsible for the English dubbing deserve high marks here for breaking with U.S. tradition and refusing to hire "valley girl" type voices for the female parts.(Violence.)

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