24 August 2003 | groovycow
Don't get your hopes up...
This short film, while a perfect example of early Japanese anime, is nothing special. It seems to borrow from the technology of PREDATOR, the style of the "Conan the Adventurer" series, and the ninja elements of NINJA SCROLL and "Berserk", and yet fails to invoke any of them properly.
"RAVEN TENGU KABUTO: Tale of the Golden-Eyed Beast" was, unfortunately, made in 1992, and thus can't quite be blamed for lifting elements from Ninja Scroll. However, the latter film is infinitely more entertaining, as well as easier to follow. "Kabuto" seems to be the second installation in a short series (if so, I'd hate to see the first) that follows the adventures of Kabuto, a ninja/ronin from the Tengu school. Unfortunately, what exists of the plot is mired down in explication involving long names and lots of running.
Far be it from me to criticize an anime for having a back story; I loved the half-fictional settings of Ninja Scroll and Berserk, and yet "Kabuto" lacks the sense of scale of either. Moreover, its fights consist of the horribly typical lines-behind-a-character followed by a strobe flash and severed limbs. Most scenes are hard to follow, from the opening bit with ravens to later bits of wushu-style martial arts/magic.
Perhaps it can be excused for its age, but "Kabuto" is no more than a failed attempt at anime, no more and no less. If you're looking for a good film, avoid this.