Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters
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A crooked Shrine Magistrate and a greedy developer scheme to evict residents from an apartment building and demolish the adjoining shrine, forcing the townspeople into submission. When the apartment owner attempts to reclaim the property, he is murdered, and a masterless samurai with deep secrets steps into the fray. The situation in the human world is definitely awry, and as in the past, the Yokai (Spirit Monsters) must take action to correct the wrongs. Divine justice is coming! Yokai Monsters: many legends, but only one message: Heed the spirits, or face their wrath!
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Despite the hewing close to their stomping grounds, "100 Monsters", the second in the 1968 trilogy, delivers a nice goulash of weird, wacky and kitschy charms. For the most part, this is a ghost story about downtrodden villagers fighting against rich lords that want to take down a sacred shrine in favor of a brothel. The monsters are saved for the finale where they begin coming out of the woodwork in an awe-inspriring parade of off-kilter, imaginative film effects. On the whole the movie mostly suffers from being too slow; the middle of the film is bloated with far too many talky scenes, horse play and full-retard humor.
The highlight scene is a ghost story where two fishermen encounter a beautiful woman that turns out to be a snake-like water spirit! This scene alone is worth the price of admission. Outside of that, we get brawls, some sword play and hilarious dialogue to make this more than worthwhile for fans of the weird.
The tenants of a local building are appalled when they find out that the greedy Magistrate plans to raze their building -- and a nearby shrine -- and have a brothel built instead. They do their best to oppose the Magistrate, but his men abuse or kill the tenants -- and finally murder the landlord. The only one who seems to defend them is a mystery samurai (Jun Fujimaki).
But the tenants aren't alone. In wrecking the shrine and fishing in a sacred lake, the thugs have offended the local demons. Before long they're hallucinating about faceless warriors, giant cackling hags, long-necked women, and armies of "yokai monsters" invading the place....
This is a more serious movie than "Yokai Monsters - Spook Warfare," and unfortunately it doesn't focus much on the spooks themselves (although some familiar faces turn up). They are probably the most fascinating characters in it, but in "100 Monsters" the focus is shifted to the humans and their battles.
Not that this isn't funny, because it is. It's entertaining to see the heartless thugs getting scared to death by the spooks (sometimes literally); there's also a charming subplot about the Magistrate's mentally handicapped son befriending an umbrella demon. What's more, the seemingly simple plot gets a twist near the end when Yasutaro's identity is revealed.
And though this movie was made in the late 1960s, it has surprisingly good special effects. If you can get past the fuzzy cyclops, that is. The giant hags, rubber-necked goblins, and ugly furry creatures are all surprisingly realistic. The only flat moment is a cutesy animated bit where a drawing of an umbrella demon starts dancing around the room.
While it lacks the innocent charm of the first movie, "100 Monsters" is still a satisfying, funny film full of monsters (and not all of them are spooks). Recommended.
The story is a little confused at times but stick with it and you'll be rewarded with a viewing experience that's miles away from the stuff Hollywood pumps out. From another planet in fact.
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I think douchebag chocolate would agree
I hope Domo-sempai notices me