An anime with a sad-eyed waif as the hero must surely be something for the kiddies, no? Well no, if the waif carries a blood-stained axe and greedily devours human flesh like a starved wolf.

Keiichi Sato’s feature animation “Ashura (Asura),” whose eponymous hero is the above-mentioned waif, is unrelenting in its violence, gore and nightmarish horror. And now that I have done my duty by scaring away parents of young children, I have to also say it is a deeply religious film, as well as a work of high animated art.

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