While initially plodding and disconnected, Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura eventually fulfills with a thrilling and uplifting finale.
Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura (DESTINY 鎌倉ものがたり)
In an alternate reality, young and earnest publishing assistant Akiko marries author Isshiki Masakazu, and goes to live with him in Kamakura, an ancient city where supernatural creatures openly coexist with humans. Though initially unnerved by the various yokai and spirits around her, Akiko soon settles into her blissful new life. That is, till an unexpected tragedy threatens to forever separate her from her beloved Mazakazu.
Several things about Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura attracted me.
There’s the Taisho Roman ambience, this being an art-style I’ve always adored. (P5’s Café Leblanc is decorated in this style, BTW). There’s naturally also the eccentric supernatural creatures. I’ve long been a fan of Japanese yokai and their unusual roles in modern Japanese culture.
And oh, the Japanese-themed fantasy underworld in the final third was nothing short of breath-taking. The icing on this is in turn, the Enoden Train Service. I’ve rode on this, erm, crowded train service as recently as 2018. Thankfully, not to the afterlife …
Anyway, as far as these aspects are concerned, the movie does not disappoint. The yokai and ghosts are a little low in numerical count, IMO, but I guess having more would overstuff the story. The ones who received limelight i.e. the Death God, the Frog Man, and the Poverty God, are also uniformly quirky and adorable.
As for the story, not being familiar with Saigan Ryohei’s manga, I found most of the movie rather slow-moving and episodic. Events are, what’s the phrase, eventually chained together, but it seriously took quite a while. Actually, that didn’t happen till the credits roll.
There’s also Akiko’s character. Without descending into a feminism rant about it, I’d say her character is the usual perfect waifu i.e. worshipful Japanese wife persona. It’s nothing too disagreeable and I’ve long gotten used to such depictions in Japanese media. Still, it would have been nice had she been a little less clueless, or bumbling, or smitten with her husband. It was initially adorable, but after a while, it became frustrating.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.
Read my other Asian Movie Features.