When I heard Jonathan Clements’s introduction to FUSE, it sounded interesting, since I really like stories that are set in the Edo period. The brief talk about how western ideas were bringing about change in Japan around that time with the introduction of rifles etc,made a useful introduction; thankfully I was happy with most of what the film has to offer.
The studio behind the film is TMS Entertainment and the director is Masayuki Miyaji who also directed Xam’d: Lost Memories which was released in the UK in 2011.
The story quickly introduces the main female character, Hamaji, a hunter who hunts and lives alone in the mountains.As her grandfather has recently passed away, she starts to feel lonely. When she receives a letter from her brother asking her if she wants to live with him in the city of Edo, she agrees and sets off.
Once she arrives in Edo, she learns of the FUSE, half-dog, half-human creatures that eat human souls if they get the chance. Hamaji also bumps into Shino, a mysterious man, who helps her find her brother’s place but also has a few secrets of his own, not to mention an interest in Hamaji.
Finally when she meets her brother Dousets, we learn that he is a samurai that hunts the FUSE; he asks her to lend her hunter skills to track down the last remaining FUSE that are hiding in the city of Edo.
The main story overall is well paced, there is plenty of discussion about everything we will need to know and while there aren’t a ton of action scenes, it’s all well animated and the director is never afraid to show some violence. Issues with the story mainly arise from the subplots; not a lot of time is spent on them, but thankfully the writers attempt to tie them up to create a satisfying end.
Which brings me to the characters: Hamaji is a good, strong female lead; she may be dumb at times but she never comes off as feeling artificially dumb, there is a lot of charm to her and the moments where she says she can’t read got some chuckles out of me. Shino doesn’t get as much screen time but his attitude towards Hamaji and backstory also add some intrigue to his character. The supporting cast is likeable enough and bring out most of the show’s laughs; an example of this is Dousets, who comes across as a very caring brother throughout the movie.
The animation and setting of late Tokugawa period Japan,showing the bustling streets of Edo, is great as well.
The film also shares a strong link to the Nanso Satomi Hakkenden novel, which gets a brief mention towards the end.
The conclusion of the movie is fitting; some may have wanted a bit more from it, but overall I really liked FUSE and it was definitely a fun watch.
Some small issues don’t hinder the fact that FUSE – Memoirs of the Hunter Girl is a very enjoyable and satisfying film.