It’s a familiar tale: a gifted artist finally gets a big break, only to find their creativity blunted by commercial demands and industry politics. I’m not talking about the medieval pop star protagonist of Masaaki Yuasa’s “Inu-Oh,” but about the film’s director.

The past few years have been the most productive of Yuasa’s career, while yielding some of his least essential work. This anachronistic rock musical promises a return to the playful, literary surrealism of “The Tatami Galaxy” (2010) and its 2017 spin-off, “Night Is Short, Walk On Girl,” but comes up short.

“Inu-Oh” sounds amazing on paper, which may be part of the problem. It features character designs by Taiyo Matsumoto (“Tekkon Kinkreet”) and is based on a 2017 novel by celebrated author Hideo Furukawa, who wrote it on the back of translating the 14th-century epic, “The Tale of the Heike,” into modern Japanese.