Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East (Anime)

James Whittle
James Whittle |

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Magic and spirits clash with church authorities over control of a sword in the anime TV series Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East (Hakkenden Touhou Hakken Ibunin in Japanese).

It centres on three young survivors from Otsuka, a village burned to the ground to keep a deadly plague from spreading. Shunned as potential carriers, Shino Inuzuka, Sosuke Inukawa, and Hamaji have taken refuge in a church.

The rebellious Shino (voiced by 20-year-old Tetsuya Kakihara) often goes to the dark and dangerous forest behind the church to play and talk to the river and forest spirits. Shino is 18 years old, but appears five years younger because he possesses Murasame, a living sword spirit that can turn into a crow and speak. It is said that whoever possesses Murasame (voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto) will meet a tragic end.

The survivors live quietly in hiding, but it all comes to an abrupt end after the Imperial Church learns of their survival and seeks to take control of Murasame.

The series is a Studio DEEN adaptation of the manga series by Miyuki Abe (Whiz Kid, Lost Child).

To learn why the church is after Murasame and to find out what happens to Shino, be sure to catch Hakkenden.