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The Great Yokai War (2005)

Yôkai daisensô (original title)
A young boy is chosen as the defender of good and must team up with Japan's ancient spirits and creatures of lore to destroy the forces of evil.



(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryûnosuke Kamiki ...
Tadashi Ino (as Ryuunosuke Kamiki)
Hiroyuki Miyasako ...
Bunta Sugawara ...
Shuntaro Ino
Kaho Minami ...
Youko Ino
Riko Narumi ...
Tataru Ino
Etsushi Toyokawa ...
Kiyoshirô Imawano ...
General Nurarihyon
Mai Takahashi ...
Kawahime, the River Princess
Masaomi Kondô ...
Shojo, the Kirin Herald
Sadao Abe ...
Kawataro, the River Sprite
Takashi Okamura ...
Azuki-Bean Washer
Ken'ichi Endô ...
Ou Tengu
Renji Ishibashi ...
Ou Kubi


This is the story of a young boy who moves to a small town after the divorce of his parents. At a local festival, he becomes an unlikely hero when he is chosen as the "Kirin Rider," a protector of all things good. And he must lead Japan's ancient Yokai spirits in their apocalyptic war against the evil bizarre-looking monsters. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and scary images | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

6 August 2005 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Hobgoblins & the Great War  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


JPY 1,300,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film contains several direct references and homages to the work of Shigeru Mizuki, the manga artist who is generally credited with bringing the tradition of yokai tales into the modern day via the comic-book medium. The young hero researches yokai by traveling to Mizuki's birthplace of Sakaiminato and visiting the museum dedicated to his work there; the actual museum, and its bronze statues of his most famous characters, including GeGeGe no Kitaro, are shown in the film. Later in the plot, when the yokai Ittan Momen shows reluctance to fight, another scolds it by saying "You're always really brave in those comics with Kitaro!" See more »


Red-Hooded Yokai: Rejoice! It would seem we have won the war.
Youkai Daiou: Won the war? Don't be a fool! There is a limit even to foolishness. Wars must not happen. They only make you hungry.
See more »


References Zebraman (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Miike unleashes his imagination in less deviant lands
13 November 2005 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Billed as Takashi Miike's "first family film" - by people who haven't seen Zebraman, presumably. YOKAI DAISENSO takes things even further in the direction of family-friendliness, diluting the darkness and cynicism to create a grand fantasy fairy tale. A young boy is chosen by fate to save the world from monsters and horrors of which they remain largely unaware. The film is evidently bigger budget than anything else Miike has done, with lots of CGI to create fantasy world populated by odd creatures (the YOKAI). Perhaps the lack of extreme content is a consequence of more nervous investors, but I think it's probably just that he wanted to do something different. He's really never been a one-trick pony, but often gets accused of it - perhaps YOKAI is designed to silence those critics. Regardless, it's a great project for Miike to channel his boundless imagination and invention into.

There's a very cartoonish feel to the production, evoking thoughts of Miyazaki in places. The Yokai are based on an old series of comics that were in turned based on Japanese folk tales, which certainly influenced Miyazaki as well (particularly SPIRITED AWAY). It must remembered that Miike has nothing like the budget of a Harry Potter film to work with, so the special effects aren't going to be seamless Hollywood style work

  • some blue-screening is especially obvious. Some of the special

effects are great though, with some very well animated creatures (a mix of CG, stop-motion and puppetry). I think the little sock-puppet that follows the hero around for much of the film was *meant* to look really cheap, and is all the cuter for it :) The young lad who plays the hero of the film does a really good job - it's so hard to find a pre-teen who actually understands the concept of acting, but 9 year old Ryunosuke Kamiki is a genuine talent (I see he did voices in the last 2 Miyazaki films!). Chiaki Kuriyama is delicious as the villainess of the piece, though Mai Takahashi made an even greater impression as the pixie-eared River Princess - yum yum! Those looking for another violent, perverted gangster film aren't going to find what they're looking for in YOKAI, but if you're a fan of Miike because of his imagination and wit, there's plenty to satisfy here. And it has the added bonus that you can happily put it on whatever company you've got :)

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