One thousand years ago, at the peak of Japanese culture, the Heian emperor surrounds himself with political advisors, a close personal guard and the Yin-Yang Masters, seers who protect the palace from the demons and ghosts that haunt the forests. The head Yin-Yang Master is Doson, an ambitious and arrogant magician, who resents Abe no Seimei, the most talented and pure amongst the order. But inside the palace there is also political intrigue as his closest advisors compete for control of the imperial throne. When the Emperor's newborn baby son is transformed into a monster, Abe no Seimei suspects Doson is behind the curse. He enlists the help of swordsman Minamoto no Hiromasa and the immortal guardian Aone to uncover his plot and restore balance to the empire.
Best known for his comedies, Takita Yojiro turns to period drama for the first time, transposing universal and contemporary issues to a historical setting. Like the book it is based on - which has sold more than two million copies since 1999, spawning comic books and television dramas - THE YIN-YANG MASTER has been a huge box office success with a female audience, taking over US
20m as the highest grossing Japanese live-action film released in 2001. Takita conjures an epic scope, bringing the little-documented period to life with a first-rate art department led by Heya Kyoko. Noh actor Nomura Mansai in his first starring role is suitably enigmatic as the legendary historical figure Abe no Seimei while the versatile Sanada Hiroyuki hams it up gloriously as the evil Doson. What surprises is the strength of the set-pieces under Takita's direction, with armies of the dead rising from the earth in the final onslaught on the imperial throne.