The Dagger of Kamui (1985)
"Kamui no ken" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Animation, Action, Adventure  |  9 March 1985 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 393 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 2 critic

An orphan named Taro killed who Tein-Hei told her was the killer of his family. Taro found out, years later that Tein-Hei is the true killer and the man he killed was his father. Taro's ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Jirô (voice)
Mami Koyama ...
Oyuki (voice)
Tarô Ishida ...
Tenkai / Saigô Takamori (voice) (as Gentarô Ishida)
Yuriko Yamamoto ...
Chico / Julie Rochelle (voice)
Ichirô Nagai ...
Andô Shouzan (voice)
Kaneto Shiozawa ...
Shingo (voice)
Takeshi Aono ...
Sanpei (voice)
Kazuyuki Sogabe ...
Sam (voice)
Takashi Ebata ...
Captain Drasnic (voice)
Takashi Toyama ...
Tokachi Hanzô (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shirô Amakusa ...
Elder (voice)
Yoshie Asai ...
Tsuyu (voice)
Lanny Broyles ...
Fujibayashi Genjiro (voice)
Bill Calhoun ...
Shingo (voice)
Jerry Davidson ...
Indian Chief (voice)


An orphan named Taro killed who Tein-Hei told her was the killer of his family. Taro found out, years later that Tein-Hei is the true killer and the man he killed was his father. Taro's revenge attempts start off a trail of assassinations and ninja swords fights spanning from Hokaido, Alaska to California where Tien-Hei's secrets gradually unfold. The revenge road leads to a climactic battle with Tien-Hei on the fall of Japan's Shogun-era. Written by Tzung-I Lin <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

9 March 1985 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Blade of Kamui  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Captain Kidd's treasure ship was finally found at Santa Catalina in 2007, but not at the one located off the coast of California, as was depicted in the film. Kidd's ship was found thousands of miles to the east in the Caribbean, off the shores of Catalina Island, in the Dominican Republic. The island was originally called "Santa Catalina" by Christopher Columbus when he discovered it in 1494. See more »


During the title shot, the title of the movie is shown first in English, and then in Japanese calligraphy. In the English title, the word "dagger" is misspelled as "daggar". See more »


Andô Shouzan: I am Andô Shouzan. As you can see, I'm a hardheaded old fart.
See more »


Referenced in Megazone 23 (1985) See more »


Kamui no Ken
(The Dagger of Kamui)
Lyrics by Yôko Aki
Music by Ryûdô Uzaki
Arranged by Mitsuo Hagita
Performed by Noriko Watanabe
See more »

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User Reviews

Way of the Warrior
30 October 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film believe or not was the first anime film I've ever watched and in my book is still the best. This is an underrated and forgotten gem, some current and newbie anime fans these days just don't have the patience to allow story to unfold and have to rely on an explosion a minute. Personally I don't mind the pace and length, just because some movies are long and have a pace that you don't agree with doesn't make them bad movies, in fact that's part of makes this film perfect it's an epic journey.

Loosely based off of a manga mini series, there are just lots of things I love about this film from the way it has animated the background of locations and the detail of them, it really has the familiarity feel of real life locations from times long gone. What's even more memorable about the animation is some of the fantasy element involved, mainly in fight scenes which are well choreography. I like that it doesn't look like a clichéd Shonen anime fight where it's seems to be based on just simply trumping the enemy with superpower alone. This characters didn't have super powers but more had superhuman abilities, just seeing the way they move it really look like a lot of technique and strategy is involved which mad the action all the better because it seemed realistic. But also have a surrealistic and dream like quality to them, making them all the more interesting. Two of my favorites are the fight with the three Devil ninja, it played out like both a bad acid trip but also reminded me of some of those surrealistic Japanese landscape paintings which always had that wavy quality to them. As well as the encounter with the beautiful ninja Oyuki and how she uses her power of illusion over him which concocts multiple versions of her and the use of red coloring. These things literally play with our senses where it feels like the line between reality and fantasy is blurred, this is one of the main joys of the film because it's an exercise in expressionism which feels not just artistic but almost poetic and even brings out an emotional quality which is something I don't really see in most anime anymore.

The music score is just excellent, from the theme song but my favorite the end theme song which is just beautiful. There are some memorable minor characters he encounters and has touched and affected their lives in a way. Oyuki is probably the most memorable minor character because she's the most sympathetic and soulful, both Jiro and her are enemies at first but as we see when he helps her they develop a deep bond. And there is a cameo by Samuel Celimens whom we know as Mark Twain, what was interesting about him was his fascination of Jiro is enduring when he tells his reason why which is rather deep and parallels his own life. The main villain Tenkai is very good, he is a villain you just plain hate, he's intimidating, hypocritical despite being a priest he is contradicting and perverting the religious teaching, a power monger, but worst of all just simply has no heart as he constantly is hurting Jiro for both his own gains but also just simply his sick pleasure.

However the soul of this film lies in the main character Jiro. His path to the way of the warrior is one that is long and adventurous, but also carries a look of grief. The dramatic dilemmas and the twists that we see are like a Shakespearian tragedy, Jiro is a man who is constantly dealing with the loss of his murdered family. You feel heavy pathos for him all the way though, like in one scene where he's visiting the old village before the final conflict, he then remembers all of his family members, at that point I just teared up at the same time as him , it wasn't just the images that carried out the emotional impact but the sadness in his eyes. His long journey isn't just a simple quest for revenge but it's also about defending the human spirit against evil forces that want to mechanized the world. Indeed he encounters a lot of this evil in different forms from not just the ninja clan he fights and is on the run from, but political corruption, guns, and racism.

This film has a deep residing philosophy all the way though which is about how one man can become more, make a difference as well as touch many lives. But most importantly that the human spirit is limitless and surpasses all things corrupt and mechanized.

Dagger of Kamui is a nerve ending legend that's not just about Jiro but our own journeys in life as well.

Rating: 4 stars

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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