Y: The Yin Yang Master 2 (2003)

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0383543Ha! My hard-won strategy for gaming the system strikes again!

In 10th century Kyoto, a demon is killing various members of the gentry, in each case carrying off a different body part, and sorcerer supreme Abe no Seiman (Mansai Nomura) and his companion, Lord Hiromasa (Hideaki Itô) are called in to investigate. Don’t worry, the perpetually cute butterfly girl Mitsumushi (Eriko Imai) is back, too.

Another magician has cropped up amongst the peasantry, healing disease and injuries, Genkaku (Kiichi Nakai). Several of the lords, trying to bring Seiman down a notch, bring Genkaku in on the case, but he demurs respectfully to Seiman, who feels the murders are not the work of “a true demon”. Hiromasa, as usual, falls in love with the wrong woman, this time the tomboyish daughter of another lord, Himiko (Kyoko Fukada). This lady also possesses surprising healing powers. Hmmmm, I wonder if there’s a connection…

Our heroes at 221B Baker S... er, Abe no Seiman's sanctum.

Our heroes at 221B Baker S… er, Abe no Seiman’s sanctum.

Onmyoji 2 has a more complex plot than its predecessor, and sadly suffers somewhat for it. It takes a little too long for the usual plot to destroy Kyoto to solidify; it involves a war crime fifteen years earlier, which has of course been glossed over by the government as a glorious victory over evil. Though the culmination of the villain’s plot feels a little too similar to that in Omyoji, it gains its own identity when Seiman underestimates his opponent, and has to journey to the afterlife, where, accompanied by the loyal Hiromasa and his flute, the magician must dance in drag as “the trickster goddess” to gain the attention of the goddess Ameratsu.

onmyoji-stillIt saddens me that this appears to the last movie in the Onmyoji series, which featured a largely subtle, non-bombastic approach to magic, nonetheless engaging and exciting. The Seiman/Hiromasa version of the Holmes/Watson synergy is compelling, and certainly could have supported more adventures. But sometimes we just need to be happy with what we got.

Buy Onmyoji 2 on Amazon

 

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