Kai Doh Maru is a film best described by one of its villains. As she looks down on a poisoned river filled with floating bodies, her companion asks her how she likes the view. “It’s quite atmospheric,” she responds. I.G. Plus produced Kai Doh Maru, and like their last project, Blood: The Last Vampire, Kai Doh Maru is stunningly atmospheric.
‘s extras are adequate: a round table discussion with the film’s director, animation director and character designer, character descriptions that help fill in some of what you might’ve missed while watching the film, and the usual character design sheets.
Kai Doh Maru is ultimately another film killed by a time limit. If it had spread its visual and narrative poetry out over two hours it would have been an incredible piece of work. As it is now, it seems unfinished, like a pilot for a longer film. Even if it is unfinished, though, Kai Doh Maru does use a one-of-a-kind style to build an incredible visual atmosphere the likes of which has never been seen before in anime. If that seems like enough to satisfy you, pick it up, but be warned, at the end you’ll pop out the disc still thirsty.
Recommended for: Anyone looking for a totally new animated visual style who can ignore a fatally brief running time.
Three stars out of five.
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