I guess I’ll start this by saying that, should you be the sort of person who happens to live in the US, you can actually watch this whole movie on Hulu, of all places. Assuming, you know, you can stand the frequent, annoying advertisement breaks for products you probably don’t actually need.
Otherwise, I guess this was the first European screening of this movie, based on the novel by Kazuki Sakuraba (of Gosick fame), directed by Masayuki Miyaji (reminding me that I still haven’t seen Xam’d, not that I’m in a particular hurry, though I do own the BDs).
The movie, set just before Japan opened it borders to foreign commerce, follows Hamaji, a girl who goes through life living as a hunter in the mountains, equipped with a really peculiar looking gun. She’s summoned to the capital by her brother, a well-meaning, if somewhat dopey, wanna-be samurai, to help him hunt the last two Fuse – half-man, half-wolf creatures who live by devouring human souls – in the hope that he can claim the sizable bounties that have been placed on their heads, allowing him to actually make something of himself.
Now, guess who the handsome young man that Hamaji just happens to run into whilst arriving in the capital for the first time just happens to be? No, really, guess – unless you are being deliberately silly, you’re probably exactly right.
I don’t know, I have to admit, I’m having a hard time formulating a particularly strong feeling regarding Fuse. I actually really enjoyed it, but I’m a little mindful that I was told it was a smidgen on the tedious side before hand, so I went into it with expectations somewhat significantly lowered. I didn’t actually find it particularly tedious, if I’m honest, in so much as it didn’t have me checking my watch at frequent intervals or anything like that, and the narrative keeps a pretty brisk pace, even if what is happening isn’t necessarily the most exciting things in the world at all times. The animation is good enough, but there’s nothing there which will blow your mind either.
What I will say is that, whilst inspired by The Hakkenden, the movie certainly does show it’s light novel roots. It has a really silly climatic battle signposted only by the fact that it has it’s basis in The Hakkenden, and it’s full of the usual goofy light novel character archetypes in it’s supporting cast.
Not that’s there’s anything particularly wrong with that, but if you go into the movie expecting a weighty, substantial period piece to chew on, as opposed to pleasant piece of pulp with young-adult novel dramatics, you’ll probably be disappointed with it. Otherwise, yeah, it’s fine.