Adachi-ga Hara () is a 1991 anime short film and the fifth anime episode in the Lion Books series. This episode is the only one in the series released to theater first (unlike the rest of the series, which was released directly to video), making it not an OVA.
The story is a sci-fi fantasy which is loosely based on the classical Japanese Noh theatre drama Adachigahara about the demon Onibaba, of which lyrical extracts are quoted at intermission-like intervals throughout the film.
The plot centres on a journey by a space pilot named Yukei, who is technically around 90 years old but does not look older than 30 due to his having spent about 60 years in suspended animation, to a planet upon which a murderous "witch" is said to reside; he is tasked with eliminating her.
Yukei reveals that he was, in fact, a rebel terrorist against the then-dictatorship which ruled Earth; his name at the time was Jes Mitaka. He had a lover named Annie Kurozuka, from whom he was separated due to his exile as a terrorist to a far-away planet 30 years away from Earth. However, upon arrival at the planet, he was informed, along with the others who were exiled with him, that the anti-dictatorship revolution had succeeded in toppling the government, and that he was no longer exiled. He therefore took another 30-year trip back to Earth whilst being cryogenically frozen. There, he changed his name to Yukei and began to work as a military agent for the new government. It is also revealed that, upon his return, he tries to find out what happened to Annie, but to no avail, learning only of rumours which say she may have been deported or killed.
The witch assigned as Yukeis target is in fact an old lady, who upon meeting Yukei offers him spare parts for his ship, food and a place to rest. Suspicious of the old womans motives, Yukei accepts the food but sprays it with a poison-eliminating antidote before eating it, before going to his allocated cabin. After the old woman leaves, Yukei investigates his room and discovers a hidden ventilation system, through which he suspects the witch sends poison gas in order to kill her would-be victims. He then remembers a passageway leading away from the corridor to his room to the basement, and decides to further investigate there.
There, to his horror, he discovers the remains of dozens of humans, many of which do not show signs of natural decomposition, suggesting that their flesh was removed and, by extrapolation, consumed. The witch, however, having heard Yukei go towards the basement, finds him there and nearly goes berserk in anger, asking Yukei why he would harbour suspicions against her when she had provided him with food and accommodation and denying that she had any intention to do him harm. Yukei, unrelenting, presses her, but the witch uses a distracting attack on him, giving her enough time to escape the room.
After a chase which encompasses the cavernous interior of the witchs house, Yukei finally confronts the witch, who is critically wounded by one of his gunshots. As a dying wish, the witch asks Yukei to tell her about his past. After having him reveal to her his past, the witch reveals that she is actually Annie Kurozuka, who had aged naturally due to her not having been in suspended animation. She reveals that she had, in fact, followed Yukeis lead after the establishment of the new government (which she states is more corrupt and oppressive than Yukei thinks) and took part in an anti-government rebellion. Exiled to the planet upon which she currently resides, she recounts that all of her comrades exiled with her had died and that she, alone, had waited for decades for Jes (Yukeis) return to rescue her. She also reveals that she had resorted to cannibalism by killing other government agents sent for her and consuming their flesh. Yukei berates himself for not being able to recognise Annie and, upon her request, deals a coup de grace, presumably killing her.
The ending scene shows Yukei in Annies kitchen, furiously consuming what is left of Annies home-cooked food in a fit of madness. The film then closes with the sound of a final gunshot (suggesting Yukei may have committed suicide), over which the narrator in Annies voice quotes the closing choral lines of the Adachigahara:
The two main characters names, specifically the elements of "Yukei" and "Kurozuka", are respectively based on the names of the protagonist and antagonist of the Adachigahara.
The film shares many similarities with the Noh play Adachigahara. The play features a protagonist named Yukei (a Buddhist pilgrim) who, having stranded himself and his company in the mountains of Adachigahara in Michinoku after the sun sets, seeks refuge in a cottage in the mountains owned by an aging woman (the demon Kurozuka in disguise). Unlike the anime version, Yukei and Kurozuka have no prior relationship, and Yukei states in the play that, prior to arriving en scene, he had only heard of Adachigahara, and the demon said to reside there, through hearsay.
In the play, the woman explicitly warns Yukei not to look into the innermost room of her cottage (where the bodies of her victims are hidden), and it is in fact an aide who is travelling with Yukei who opens the door and reports to Yukei what he sees inside; Yukei there remembers the rumours of a man-eating demon which was said to live in Adachigahara. The ensuing scenario is a reversal of what happens in the anime remake: Yukei and his company attempt to flee the area, but are chased and confronted by the demon, who reveals herself in her true form and proceeds to attack Yukeis group.
However, in both the anime and the original play, Yukei defeats the hag. In the play, rather than killing her, Yukei and his company severely weaken the demon and ward her away by reciting Buddhist incantations and prayers.
It was re-released as a DVD on March 21, 2003 on the same disk as Akuemon.Director: Hisashi Sakaguchi
Storyboard: Hisashi Sakaguchi
Music: Reijiro Koroku
Original creator: Osamu Tezuka
Character Design: Hisashi Sakaguchi
Art director: Mieko Ichihara
Art: Hisashi Sakaguchi
Animation director: Junji Kobayashi
Director of Photography: Hisao Shirai