Fusé: Memoirs of the Hunter Girl, is a title I knew little about going in and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The film features some stunning visuals and a great cast of characters. The story does falter a little in places but overall a solid performance and another solid release from All the Anime.
Fusé: Memoirs of the Hunter Girl is an animated film based upon a novel by the name of Fuse Gansaku: Satomi Hakkenden, written by Kazuki Sakuraba, also known for her novel series Gosick. Fuse Gansaku: Satomi Hakkenden is in turn an adaptation of Kyokutei Bakin’s Nansō Satomi Hakkenden (The Chronicles of the Eight Dog Heroes of the Satomi Clan of Nansô). The film is produced by TMS Entertainment, a company with a fifty year long history in anime with series such as Lupin III, Detective Conan and many more! All the Anime are releasing this movie in a Limited Collector’s Edition featuring Blu-ray and DVD, as well as a Standard Edition DVD.
The film focuses on Hamaji, a young hunter girl living alone in the mountains after her grandpa had passed away. Her brother sends a letter inviting her to come join him in Edo in the hopes of enlisting her and her skills to help him hunt down a creature known as Fuse. The Fuse are a group of human and dog hybrids that have been murdering people within the city of Edo and a bounty has been place on their heads. With the lure of a big reward, six Fuse have already lost their heads to hunters before Hamaji arrives in Edo but her brother Dousetsu is keen to start hunting for the remaining two. Upon arriving in Edo, Hamaji immediately becomes lost due to not being able to read the letter her brother sent, which clearly has his address on it, and happens to befriend a young man named Shino. Shino just happens to be one of the remaining Fuse and is quickly hounded by hunters; with Hamaji’s unwitting help he manages to avoid decapitation and helps Hamaji find her way.
The story features a nice little tale of young love that is fated never to be and brings to life a great cast of characters. Hamaji is a relentless hunter but comes to question why she must do what she does. She becomes fixated on getting on even terms because to her, to kill something should be meaningful. The story does falter at some points and while it does flow fairly nicely you have to question whether some elements are there only for the sake of the narrative. This could be a result of the source material’s inspiration, a tale that seems rather commonplace in Japanese literature but lost on western viewers that aren’t familiar with it. This can be seen as a downside but by the same token, if you enjoyed the movie then you may just feel compelled to research a piece of classic Japanese literature, which can’t be a bad thing, right? There’s also some breaking of the fourth wall with Kyokutei Bakin and granddaughter Meido, characters in the film, seemly writing the story that is unfolding.
The film features some absolutely gorgeous animation, backgrounds look stunning, it’s truly a spectacle akin to what you might see in a Studio Ghibli production. I was impressed from start to finish with the quality of animation on display. I really can’t fault it. Make sure you’re watching the movie on Blu-ray for the full visual experience, you won’t regret it. The film doesn’t contain an English dub but does include a very good Japanese dub, in 2.0 stereo or 5.1 surround, along with English and French subtitles. The soundtrack has a really nostalgic feeling for me that I can’t quite place but it’s definitely to my liking, a pure joy to listen too, I’d happily pick up a copy of the soundtrack.
There’s not much in the way of on-disc extras, either edition only including Japanese Teaser and TV Spots. The Limited Collector’s Edition however does include some physical extras such as a 36 page art book and collector’s packaging. I’ll also note that thankfully the disc credits are not included under the extras heading but rather under their own, probably not an issue for many but a real bane of mine and it’s great to see it done proper.
Fusé: Memoirs of the Hunter Girl clearly falters somewhat in the plot department throughout some of the film. That said, it’s still really enjoyable and features a great cast of characters which are easily one of the strong points of the film. The film's biggest strength is in its visuals, wow are they stunning, you’d be forgiven in thinking you’re watching a Studio Ghibli film as they are just that good. Accompanied by a strong soundtrack the film is very enjoyable and another solid title for All the Anime.