I don't usually watch anime movies that is'nt related to a series. But then I heard about a movie with great action scenes and beautiful animation. So I had to check it out, and I've got to say that I am happy I did.
The Story is about a kid and his dog on the run, who encounter a lone swordsman, whom they end up travelling with. As they travel, chinese troops, with aid from the japanese, are building something grand in one of Japan's provinces, and they are also searching for the young boy. Even though they are cooperating, the japanese are intent on finding out why the chinese troops are there building the large construction, and will go great lenghts to find out. The kid and the swordsman develop a relationship, and as things escalate, blood will be shed, and one man must face his past.
The story might be used or not the most exciting for some, but I still found it very interesting, even though it kind of fell to the background. I wanted to know more, and was satisified with the result.
The animation is simply beautiful. This movie is from 2007, and is still better animated than most series from 2011 and 2012 (at least from what I've watched). It's simply the best animation I have seen in any kind of anime. EVER. Details, lighting, transitions, and the smooth animation gives package of the most beautiful watching experince you can get. Also, the fights are fast-paced, but not too complex or confusing so that you can really see what happens at all times. Facial expressions are also well done.
The sound is also really good. Voice actors aren't top notch, but they are neither bad. Some of the chinese talking might sound a bit "off" but that might just be me being picky. Sound effects are realistic and the music sets the right mood for the right time.
The characters are kinda hard to describe. The main characters should not be much more than decent, but for some reason they are. I felt like I wanted to watch them more and learn more about their stories, though that is rather limited in a movie that lasts roughly an hour and a half. The secondary characters are interesting in the beginning, but that interest fades a bit over time, especially when they begin to get killed off.
Overall I simply loved this movie. The two major positives about this movie is definetly the animation and the fights. Both are the best I've seen in any kind of anime. The two biggest drawbacks is the voice-acting(not that much) and the characters.