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The Hakkenden - The Legend of the Dog Warriors: Box Set (1990)

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Studio: Geneon
Genre: Anime, Animation, Adventure, Cel, Martial Arts, Samurai
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Synopsis
The tradition of the samurai epic is interwoven with the supernatural in this six-episode OVA. As legend says, the leader of the dwindling Awa clan made a flippant promise once, that whoever killed the head of the enemy clan could marry his own daughter. To everyone's surprise, the family dog was the one who returned with the enemy warlord's head and the daughter was wed to the dog. When both the dog and princess were killed, the unborn pups that the princess was carrying were reincarnated into the eight Dog Warriors: The Hakkenden. As this band seeks each other out and comes to terms with its heritage, it has the chance to redeem the clan it represented a lifetime ago. ~ Cammila Albertson, All Movie Guide

This disc contains episodes 1-5:

1. Kaleidoscope
2. Dark Music of the Gods
3. The Futility Dance
4. Horyu Tower
5. Demon's Melody


GreenCine Member Ratings

The Hakkenden - The Legend of the Dog Warriors: Box Set (Disc 1 of 3) (1990)
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6.84 (50 votes)
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The Hakkenden - The Legend of the Dog Warriors: Box Set (Disc 2 of 3) (1990)
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7.29 (42 votes)
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The Hakkenden - The Legend of the Dog Warriors: Box Set (Disc 3 of 3) (1990)
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7.12 (42 votes)
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GreenCine Member Reviews

Like reading a historical novel by hneline1 September 26, 2002 - 7:02 PM PDT
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2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
The ending of this series is just as confusing as the other parts because whole sections of the story seem to be skipped from one episode to another. It frustrates me because I really like strong storytelling. However, that lack of continuity is probably a result of what appeals the most about this anime -- this story has a literary foundation in an old Japanese historical novel, and the unevenness is evocative of the serialization of that novel. The historical aspect is fascinating. Also, the animation is very stylistic and beautiful -- the creators use a realistic minimalism that complements raw emotions. I like this series, but it's like reading Homer's Odyssey -- you have to be patient to understand and reap the rewards... One suggestion, if you're not very familiar with Japanese names, make sure you remember who's who -- there are a LOT of names being used that sound alike, and this series does not coddle you by making the characters easily recognizable all the time (ie, wear the same clothes or have very distinguishing features).

Still intriguing and confusing by hneline1 September 22, 2002 - 11:18 PM PDT
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1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
The historical basis is fascinating -- this story is based on a popular 19th century Japanese serial novel by Kyokutei Bakin, a samurai who wanted to extoll the eight virtues of Confucius. That explains why those little marbles that the dog warriors keep exchanging have those characters on them: Filial Piety, Loyalty, etc. The depiction of 15th century life in Japan is still intriguing. What's confusing are the flashbacks and unexplained jumps in the story sequence. For example, in one episode several of the dog warriors have just found each other and in the next, one of them is having his own adventures without explanation for why he's wandering around on his own. I guess that's to be expected when the original novel had several of these leaps. I think that if you can be patient, this is a rewarding series with some excellent action and drama. Just don't expect an easy storyline to follow.

Uneven historical fantasy adventure by hneline1 September 20, 2002 - 6:10 PM PDT
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10 out of 10 members found this review helpful
As someone who appreciates history, I really like that this story seems pretty accurate in depicting 15th century Japan. Certain moods and scenes remind me of the historical soap operas that are often shown on Japanese TV, where the melodrama relies heavily on conflicts with honor and duty. What felt uneven were the fantasy elements -- by the end of these first five episodes, I still couldn't figure out why the horrific bad guys were persecuting the dog warriors. Although there are several exciting sword fighting scenes, whenever there is a shift from "realism" to fighting an enemy with fantastical powers, it felt surprising and jarring. Well, hopefully some of these elements are explained in the next episodes... Also, FYI, this series does not shy away from blood or violence or flying body parts, but it is not a "hack-a-minute" romp. It does try to build character and drama.

More reviews for titles in this product:


Good Anime
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in no particular order, it's all good
swj9796
The Hakkenden
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Kikuko Inoue as Hikute
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