Okamikakushi: Masque of the Wolf
Hiroshi Kuzumi has been brought to the remote village of Jouga by his father, who's researching the village's legends for a new book. In contrast to the treatment new kids sometimes receive, the town's residents and his classmates seem a bit TOO affectionate toward Hiroshi- in fact, a couple of them carry this to frightening extremes. And that's not to mention the costumed vigilantes whose leader is taking a scythe to various residents. And it soon becomes obvious to Hiroshi that whatever's going on, he's in the middle of it. Can he find a path to safety?
"I'm disappointed in my own lack of strength." -Hiroshi
I was a bit disappointed in your lack of strength too, Hiroshi. It has affected my view of your show, though to be fair I'll give you credit for, if not strength, at least a couple of acts of bravery.
This is one of those shows, like Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, where the male lead is less interesting than the female characters, or at least two of them, and those two females seem to have very different personalities. The first is Isuzu Tsumuhana, who somehow even outdoes the others in fawning over Hiroshi; she somehow combines the qualities of perky and (later) pathetic. The other female character of interest is Nemuru Kushinada, the one classmate who treats Hiroshi rather coldly and who seems to have some mysterious power over the other students.
Two other important characters (though less interesting in my opinion) were Hiroshi's dad Masaaki, and a girl named Kaname Asagiri. They are both interested in the legend of the Jouga Wolves, which Kaname suggests are actually werewolves. In fact they DO exist, but they're not only not wolves, they're not even what one would normally consider werewolves; calling themselves the Kamibito, they are a little strange, and letting one of them get too close to you is rather perilous, but not perilous in the same sense as, say, running into a Diclonius from Elfen Lied.
In any case, most of the actual violence going on in Jouga seems to be perpetrated by the scythe. That scythe has to be the most oversized implement wielded by a young woman since the Memory Hammers in Magikano. I did feel that this was a bit of overkill (pun intended), and would normally think that someone who was so dedicated to this sort of bloody destruction might have some major psychological problems, but apparently no; perhaps the wielder was just able to compartmentalize things well in her mind.
The character designs (by Peach Pit, of Rozen Maiden fame) are merely OK, as are the songs; I DID like the little round-the-corners traveling shot in the closer. The costumes worn by the not-quite-human residents of Jouga, both the scythe-wielder's and the ones worn in a festival toward the end, were actually sort of clever.
On the whole, given our rather uninspiring hero, and a few other major characters who were equally uninspiring, I could only go three stars on this one. But it does try to deal with the issue of how two very different peoples can (or cannot) co-exist, always an interesting topic.
Like Higurashi's Hinamizawa during Cotton Drifting Night, or The Skull Man's Otomo City, Jouga, especially during the Hassaku Festival, should only be entered with caution. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Quite violent. No sex, though there's something which is like forcible attempts at seduction, including one involving two males. No nudity that I noticed. Older teens and adults.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subs only
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Okamikakushi: Masque of the Wolf © 2009 Konami Digital Entertainment/Jouga Town Office
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