Imagine a disfigured, cursed gentleman (Inu-Oh) and a blind priest (Tomoari) on a journey. The last thing you may think of is a rock opera. In INU-OH, the unexpected duo grows close, carving out their paths in life together and cultivating their love for performing glam-rock music.
To commemorate the film, a special screening was announced at The Landmark Westwood in Los Angeles, featuring appearances by director Masaaki Yuasa and biwa supervisor/voice actor Yukihiro Goto. From the cinematic shots highlighting feudal Japan to the two protagonists’ flashy dance moves, the unique art style draws viewers in with subtle details and contrasts between movement and stillness. The music is why experiencing this film in theater makes all the difference. The rock-style biwa songs reverberate through the venue, immersing the audience into the scenes. Similar to the way crowds in the movie are enchanted by Inu-Oh and Tomoari, filmgoers could become just as engrossed.
Following the screening, patrons were treated to a biwa performance by Yukihiro Goto, who also voiced a role in the film. Goto’s voice carried throughout the theater with ease, conveying emotions that transcend language barriers. The performance beautifully led into a quick Q&A session with director Masaaki Yuasa. Masaaki shared stories from the time spent creating INU-OH, talking about his inspirations and how he adapted the non-fiction story into a fantasy movie, while weaving the music in seamlessly.
While the movie itself is certainly an acquired taste with its distinctive art style and peculiarly enthralling story, the overall atmosphere of the event was enough to capture anyone’s attention. Seeing the biwa performances on-screen and then as a live performance and an intimate Q&A with the film director made for a one-of-a-kind experience.