Latest movie trailers, behind the scenes video features and more
UK: Momentum Theatrical
Cast: Yusuke Iseya, Kumiko Aso, Toshiaki Karasawa, Akira Terao, Kanako Higuchi, Fumiyo Kohinata, Hiroyuki Miyasako, Mayumi Sada, Jun Kaname, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Susumu Terajima, Hideji Otaki, Tatsuya Mihashi, GorO Naya
Director: Kazuaki Kiriya
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
UK: 142 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong violence
UK Release Date: 25 February 2005 (Limited Release - London)
This live-action feature based on the 70's animation, CASSHERN is set in a uniquely retro-futuristic world and addresses this theme in an epic of sweeping visual power and deep emotional resonance.
The Author behind this project is Kazuaki Kiriya, an acclaimed fashion photographer and music video director. In addition to co-writing and directing the film - his feature film debut - he also served as its cinematographer. This project marks a new phase in the development of '' Japanimation'' which is already enjoying worldwide popularity.
An alternate world with an alternate history.
The war, which began some time back in the 20th century and churned on without pause for fifty years, is over. The entire planet, once divided between two opposing alliances is now united by the triumph of the Eastern Federation over the forces of Europe.
But it is an empty victory. Years of chemical, biological and nuclear war have poisoned the land and left an exhausted population at the mercy of contamination and newly-muted disease. It seems that there's little hope for humanity's future. Debate ranges over the chances of finding some way to stave off the seemingly inevitable decline of civilization.
One man comes forward with a possible solution. Professor Kotaro Azuma, a world-renowned geneticist, proposes a "neo-cell" treatment that can rejuvenate the body and regenerate humankind. He is driven in his studies by a desire to save his beloved wife, Midori, from the ravages of environmental contamination, which weaken her daily.
He offers his findings to the nation but the bureaucrats in the Health Ministry turn him down, fearing that the new technology will threaten their entrenched powers. However the ageing military leaders headed by Kaoru Naito, executive of a multinational corporation, make an offer to provide the support he needs to further his research.
Meanwhile pockets of guerrilla fighters resist the oppressive Eastern Federation. The resistance is fiercest in Eurasia's outlying Zone Seven. To spite his father for neglecting his family, Tetsuya Azuma, Professor Azuma's son, volunteers to fight. He leaves behind his mother and his fiance, Luna Kozuki. At the front line, Tetsuya experiences and takes part in the full horror of man's inhumanity to man. Trying to redeem himself by saving the life of a small child, he is killed by a booby trap.
Professor Azuma, who has now accepted the military's offer, continues his research into the "neo-cell, human regeneration therapy". One day, Azuma is being visited by his best friend, a leading molecular engineer, Dr Kozuk and his daughter, Luna. Meanwhile back home, Midori who has lost her eyesight to her illness, is approached by a military spokesman who announces her son's death.
She heads for her husband's laboratory where the funeral procession is taking Tetsuya's body. Suddenly the city is hit by a massive storm. A bolt of lightening tears through the sky and smashes through the research facility and down into the red fluid of the human tissue culture tank at the centre of Azuma's research. Out of this primordial fluid, a new race of humanoid mutants emerges.
Guards open fire, killing many of the humanoids, but the survivors flee taking Midori with them. In the confusion of the battle, the distraught professor gently lowers his son Tetsuya into the tank and watches as life flows back into his body. He entrusts his son to his friend Kosuki, before slipping away.
The mutant humanoids, lead by Brai, continue their escape. The military keeps up its merciless pursuit. Dragging Midori with them, the survivors manage to make their way to a remote mountain hideout in an abandoned castle. Brai vows revenge on the entire human race and has the remaining humanoids set about building a robot army as an instrument of his wrath. The force of robots launches a fierce assault on mankind and another bitter and protracted war ensues. A coup-d'etat occurs within the government of the Eastern Federation. Head of State, General Kamijo is overthrown by his ambitious son, Lieutenant Colonel Kamijo who is frustrated by his father's grip on power. The son orders the war to resume with renewed aggression.
The tide of the battle reaches Luna and Tetsuya. A robot force lead by two mutants, Sagray and Akbone, comes to kidnap Luna's father to have work on their robot army. Luna's screams wake Tetsuya from his state of suspended animation. He emerges from the culture tank, clad head-to-toe in form-fitting white armour (the result of Kozuki's research). Now possessing incredible power, he fends off the attack and mortally wounds Sagray. However, Dr. Kozuki has been caught in the crossfire and lies stricken. With his dying breaths he implies to Tetsuya that there must be a meaning of his rebirth.
With no time to grieve, Luna and Tetsuya must flee a renewed assault for from the robot army. When Tetsuya glimpses Brai at the head of the massed robot armies, he remembers him as the one who abducted his mother. He launches a single-handed attack. Despite destroying scores of robots, alone he is no match for Brai's massed power.
Luna and Tetsuya escape to fight another day. In their wanderings they come across a ruined town in Zone Seven where Tetsuya fought guerrillas back when her was a soldier. They meet an old doctor who diagnoses Luna with contamination sickness.
The human army also arrives in Zone Seven on the pretext of hunting terrorists but in fact carrying out wholesale slaughter. The mutants, Barashin and Akbone, searching for the secrets of their past, appear at the gates of Zone Seven as well. Tetsuya is caught up in the fighting as he tries to protect the townsfolk from war. Amid the chaos of the battle, Luna and Akbone are captured by the military. Tetsuya fights on killing Barashin, before slumping to the ground wounded and filled with disgust at the carnage around him. He passes out.
The old doctor having witnessed Tetsuya's power, proclaims him the long-awaited Messiah of legend, "Casshern" who has come to earth to bring peace to their lives.
The unconscious Tetsuya is taken by Brai who also takes Luna and Akbone to flee to his mountain hideout. When Tetsuya regains consciousness he's met with the sight of his dead mother. Brai tells Tetsuya, as mutants they should be allies against mankind's arrogance.
In the meantime, Lt Colonel Kamijo leads a legion of soldiers in a final showdown with the robot force.
A hellish battle eschews involving human and robots. Tetsuya tries to stop the war, and Kamijo comes face to face with Brai to reveal the fearful truth...