Here I come kicking ass and taking names:
Yamato Takeru is a great, and under appreciated Toho film. Dare I say I really like it?
Let me say the obvious: the film suffers from being an “epic”; IE, it’s recapping and retelling a ton of Japanese mythology in one go, and as a result by its very nature the pacing is very quick and somewhat rushed. The characters aren’t fleshed out. Additionally, while yes there are monsters, this is not a Kaiju film
, don’t view it as such and your viewing experience will improve.
The fight with Kusamo Takeru and Osusu is fantastic. There’s a great sense of back and forth and building tension with Osusu’s sword being cut in half, and the threat of other soldiers appearing. This fight, about 20 mins in, could have been the climax.
but now, the film continues, and the monster Kusamo is executed well: great mix of what appears to be a suit, possibly claymation and cgi. The monster has an intimidating bulk to it, but based on how it’s portrayed it feels like an actual rock monster.
The fight with Beruyoda is brief, but damn they do a good job at having the monster feel like it’s avrually in the ocean when it’s above in the waves. Additionally, there’s a great size and perspective. The monster also has a very unique design. What happens to Oto in the story is also tragic. Additionally, afterwards the fight with the human, parallels the fights earlier we’ll in reverse.
Also a nice variety of locations and scenes; from a barren volcano, and the forests, countryside, to palaces and the ocean. There’s also a great SF vibe, with the floating crystal fortress. A lot of bright colors contrasting to dull ones as well.
I also really dig the aesthetic with the moon and Tsukuyomi. I also really dig some of the weirdness involving the “fang”.
And for those criticizing the final fight:
You don’t have to love this film, but I can’t help but feel that this film has been neglected due to how intertwined it is with Japanese lore and mythology while trying to be interpreted by Godzilla Fans. Is it a fantastic film? Not in traditional story telling ways, but it’s a great rendition of an epic.