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Ashura (2005)
"Ashura-jô no hitomi" (original title)

 -  Action | Fantasy  -  16 April 2005 (Japan)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 540 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 10 critic

Adapted from the successful play, the film takes place in the 19th Japan where a war between demons and their slayers is fought. Izumo, an Kabuki actor with a demon-slaying past, meets and ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Somegorô Ichikawa ...
Izumo Wakuraba
Rie Miyazawa ...
Kanako Higuchi ...
Atsurô Watabe ...
Jaku Abe
Fumiyo Kohinata ...
Nanboku Tsuruya IV
Takashi Naitô ...
Nobuyuki Kuninari
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mutsumi Fujita
Yukijirô Hotaru ...
Hanae Kan ...
Kazuo Kuwabara
Sarutoki Minagawa ...
Kôji Ohkura ...
Erika Sawajiri ...
Kumiko Tsuchiya ...
Tatsuo Yamada


Adapted from the successful play, the film takes place in the 19th Japan where a war between demons and their slayers is fought. Izumo, an Kabuki actor with a demon-slaying past, meets and falls in love with Tsubaki. However, something is not right as mysterious marks appear on her body as time progresses. At the same time, it is announced that Ashura, the queen of all demons, will be resurrected and bring destruction to the universe. Written by Ploy P.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

demon | sword


Action | Fantasy


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Release Date:

16 April 2005 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Ashura-jô no hitomi  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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My Funny Valentine
(theme song)
Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Performed by Sting
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User Reviews

Astonishing Japanese film brings back theater to the Cinema
19 May 2006 | by (York, UK) – See all my reviews

Set in Japan, Ashura is the story of Demons taking over the earth. The premise is far more complicated, but the arching storyline should not be forgotten. Japan is in turmoil, with Demons occupying human form roaming the lands. Generally speaking Demons look and act like humans, but are evil. The Japanese word they use is not just demons, but rather the classical form of 'ogre' which is a mythological creature of some historic stature. We're talking about creatures that would appear more like gods than simple ugly child-eating monsters.

However in human form all that remains is the green eyes and green teeth, which appear when put under any sort of stress. In order to save the world from Demons there are Demon-slayers. Trained and skilled warriors who can spot and defeat most every kind of demon, and who guard the passage-way between the realm of hell and that of the real world. These are the basic premises.

The story begins with a festival in a local town. Amid these festivities, 3 men ride in, dressed in all black, seemingly intent on doing harm. The villagers run, excepting those which are demonic in nature, who turn green-eyed and try to kill them. The Demon-Slayers end up killing off the majority of the demons. From here the story gets interesting. The whole essence of the story begins when at the gate to hell a fortune-telling demon appears before the 3 gate-keepers, revealing the arrival of Ashura. With it, comes the end of the reign of man, and begins the reign of demons. Ashura however requires some form of birthing process, the first step of which occurred during the opening battle, but which won't be revealed to you until you see the film. The 3 demon-slayers are a wise old man, a powerful yet unprincipled man, and a skilled and compassionate warrior. Immediately you can see the split between them, the old man wanting to stop the demons, the powerful one wanting to bend them to his increasing ego maniacal wishes and the third looking to stop the second. Along the way he meets a woman who he begins to take fancy to, and believes himself to have a special relationship with. She in turn is a brigand who is good-natured, sought after by authorities. When the two finally meet face to face, he places his hand on her shoulder, and suddenly she is scathed by a mark on her shoulder. Needless to say, the mark is not a good sign. What ensues is a battle for earth, a battle between both good and evil, as it should be, but also between good and good itself.

The point for me of this film became something other than what I thought it would. I came in thinking it would either be a fast-paced action style film with demons, or a horror film with macabre evil and foul creatures the likes of which would be seen in Ringu and Ju-on. I was however mistaken in the best possible way. The story it seemed to me is an adaptation of a very old Japanese play, and it plays itself out as such, combining the essentially action driven adrenaline scenes with a great concept, an amazing narrative, and a style which makes you compelled to think rather than just sit wallowing in gore. Many scenes are painted with luxurious dialogue between two characters the likes of which will never be seen in a Hollywood film. It becomes a practically theatrical experience which takes your breath away.

The film makes use of some immaculate scenery and camera-work comparable to many great Samurai films of our days, but adding to it a well-thought and classical plot. With great acting, great music, and thoroughly stunning scenes, its a must watch in my book.

That being said, it does need the disclaimer that it is not for everyone. Its not cheap thrills horror, its not balls to the wall action. Its a horror style play thats been filmed. It has very much to say and takes the time to do so, flying in the face of the conventional one-liners. Like Japanese plays, the exchanges between the characters can last for many minutes before they come together for a quick yet marvelous battle scene. If you can enjoy such a thing, this is a masterpiece. If your idea of a good film is slasher flicks with little plot and excessive nudity, then you can easily watch something else.

Overall, this film to me is a unique and amazing one, which keeps you riveted and amused. it has good writing, good acting, and good direction. It is all in all a solidly great film.

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