Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura is an endearing Japanese fantasy romcom - with lots of monsters [Review]

Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura is an endearing Japanese fantasy romcom - with lots of monsters [Review]

Newlyweds Akiko and Masakazu take a trip to the underworld and show us the power of love


Not all of the monsters in the magical land of Kamakura are hostile.
Photo: EDKO Films

Young and naïve Akiko (Mitsuki Takahata) marries quirky mystery novelist Masakazu Isshiki (Masato Sakai) and they move to Kamakura, a magical place where humans and supernatural creatures live together in harmony.

Life is wonderful until one day Akiko disappears, leaving only a cryptic goodbye letter behind. It states she has died for a while and departed to the underworld for Masakazu’s sake, and tells him that she loves him very much.

Desperate to bring his wife back to life, Masakazu risks a journey to the underworld where he must also solve a longstanding family mystery.

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Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura is a funny, creative and heart-warming Japanese fantasy romance drama. Even though it’s filled with spirits, monsters, and ghosts, don’t worry because most of them look absolutely harmless, if not even downright friendly.

Takahata and Sakai make a charming and endearing on-screen couple. As you enjoy the coherent and action-packed film, you’ll be amazed by the pleasing aesthetic of the mystical Japanese coastal town. It also contrasts well with the wonderfully strange netherworld with its exotic colour scheme and interesting inhabitants. Either way, the movie is a visual treat.

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The plot is full of surprises without being convoluted. In addition, the way it unfolds is ingenious: Every scene is designed to be interconnected and things click into place as you realise their significance later in the story.

Fun, cheerful, but also moving, Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura is an alternative adventure, and a modern fairy tale of love and self-exploration. Thanks to the energetic innocence of the angelic Akiko, you’ll probably go home with your faith in humanity restored.

Edited by Jamie Lam

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