The 2000s Sci-Fi Hyper-Violent Live-Action Anime Being Lost To Time Deserves Your Attention

By April Ryder | Published


Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), Immortal from the same year, and the following year’s Sin City (2005) were part of a small wave of films shot entirely on a “digital backlot,” meaning the whole movie was shot in front of a green screen. The imagery and every other element of the films were added via CGI in post-production. Casshern — one of the lesser known digital backlot flicks — may not have made waves at the box office like Sin City, but one could certainly argue that it warrants a few moments of your time.



Casshern is a Japanese tokusatsu superhero film adaptation of the anime series Casshan released in the early 1970s. It was written, directed, shot, and edited by Kazuaki Kiriya. It serves up an artistic take on a very violent reckoning brought on by a reincarnated, invincible man with wicked sword-fighting skills. 

The Story

Kazuaki Kiriya’s interpretation of the story of Casshern is a bit darker and more violent than the original manga but it fits the bill for the film’s aesthetic. The story of the 2004 live-action adaptation is set in a world riddled by a fifty-year war. 

Though the war has ended, the world is still full of civil unrest. The Federation has taken control of the continent of Eurasia, but there is a resistance movement on the rise in Zone 7 that the Federation aims to extinguish quickly. 

The Hero


The hero of the story is Tetsuya Azuma (who eventually turns into Casshern), a Federation soldier who is killed when a booby trap explodes during a combat stint. Tetsuya’s father happens to be a brilliant scientist who develops something called a “Neo-cell” that can regenerate organs and heal fatal wounds. 

After he dies, Tatsuya’s body is taken to his father’s lab. When Tetsuya’s ghost sees his body lying there, a lightning bolt strikes the facility, and all of the neo-cells Dr. Azuma once thought were useless suddenly come to life. The cells restructure themselves into full neo-humans and escape the lab, instantly leaving a path of chaos in their wake. 

Tatsuya’s body is also eventually brought back to life. His still frail body is taken to Kozuki’s house, and Kozuki puts him in a special suit of armor that affords him superhuman abilities. When Tatsuya discovers who the rebels in Zone 7 really are, he finds the true purpose of his newfound strength. 

Opinions Differ

Of course, there’s way more to the story than just a few paragraphs of text could ever convey. In true anime form, the story is complex, emotional, and dramatic. Some people see the film and think it’s a bit choppy and hard to follow at times, while others regard it as a complex and beautiful work of art. 

Check It Out Now


Either way, Casshern is not a film you’ll want your small children to join you in watching. Whether it has any memorable value or not, you’ll have to watch it yourself to decide.