Kojiro of Fuma
The Fuma clan is known to be as "fast as the wind" and "strong as the wind". However, lurking in the shadows someone is threatening to destroy the strength of their clan by turning their strongest members against each other. As warriors begin to fall one by one, it seems that the Fuma clan may be doomed.
I have had this on VHS for a number of years. Considering that I think it is terrible, you might wonder why I still keep it around. I keep it for the express reason of inflicting it on other people. There are a lot of great anime out there, but this title is most definitely not one of them.
Ultimately I think part of the problem stems from the fact that I haven't read any of the manga or seen any of the OAV episodes in this franchise. I'm assuming, for instance, that all the various characters they introduce in this show (and some who perish) get some development in either the manga or the OAV because there is pretty much zero character development in this actual feature. Every person from the Fuma clan who appears is mainly distinct because of the nature of his powers and I only had some understanding of who the villain was just because of the helpful exposition of one of the Fuma clan. It is fairly common for anime movies to expect some knowledge of the background if they are based on already existing storyline, but even adjusting for that the characters didn't even seem to have any real distinct personalities. This lack of development and general poor characterization meant I could care less when anybody in this film died.
The plot is equally boring and mainly consists of a series of quickly staged fights between the various members of the Fuma clan. There is a brief amount of mystery concerning what is going on but they quickly explain that away with some overly detailed exposition. When I began to realize the actual motivation of the villain, some of his actual actions seemed counterproductive to his own goals. Really though in the case of this title, the plot is a mere connective device to get shuttle us between the various fights. This razor thin plot also kills any chance this show has of achieving thematic depth as well.
Well, so if the plot, characters, and thematic treatment are all lackluster, it still leaves the possibility that at least all the fights in this action title might be engaging. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Everybody has a special power or two but most of the battles aren't particularly animated well and show little real imagination in terms of battle design or planning. I can't really see any modern (or even old school) action fan being particularly impressed by the fights of this show. It has been done much better around the same time this title came out and certainly is done much better these days.
That just leaves us with the technical aspects. Well, the design work is definitely 80s (which isn't necessarily bad in and of itself) and I wasn't impressed with the color work, but I don't know if that was just a result of the quality of my digital source or not. The animation was mediocre at best and a lot of the action scenes leaned heavily on the speed lines, flashing backgrounds, and other lazy animation elements. In fact, I was shocked to find out this title was as new as it was. I had, after watching it, assumed it to be mid-eighties, not late eighties.
In the end, I found Kojiro of Fuma boring and pointless. Even adjusting for the idea that maybe I'm just missing out on a wealth of cool background (which I somewhat doubt if this title is any indication) and previous adventures, this film to me seems a poorly executed excuse just for the various main (and presumably normally friendly characters) to battle each other. There are plenty of other vaguely ninja themed action shows out there that are much better, so there is little reason to waste time with this one.
This is an action title but it still ends up being boring, unimaginative, and not engaging at all. I suppose if you really like the OAVs or the manga, you might really like to chance to see your favorite Fuma warriors battle. In that case you might want to add a star or two. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: We have lots of violence and death but most of it is fairly clean. I think there is nothing in here a teenager couldn't handle unless they are particularly sensitive.
Version(s) Viewed: Kojiro of Fuma OAV
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Kojiro of Fuma © 1989 Animage / JC Staff
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