Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994)

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Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon
The Japanese poster for Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Yamato Takeru (1994)
See alternate titles
Directed by Takao Okawara
Producer Shogo Tomiyama
Written by Wataru Mimura
Music by Kiyoko Ogino, GLAY
effects by
Koichi Kawakita[a]
Production companies Toho Pictures, Toho Eizo Bijutsu
Distributor TohoJP, ADV FilmsUS
Rating Not Rated
Box office ¥800,000,000[2]
Running time 104 minutesJP
(1 hour, 44 minutes)
103 minutesUS
(1 hour, 43 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.85:1
Rate this film!
(20 votes)

Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon (ヤマトタケル,   Yamato Takeru, lit. "Yamato Takeru") is a 1994 tokusatsu fantasy kaiju film directed by Takao Okawara and written by Wataru Mimura, with special effects by Koichi Kawakita. It was produced by Toho Pictures, while its special effects were produced by Toho Eizo Bijutsu. The film stars Masahiro Takashima, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Akaji Maro, Saburo Shinoda, Keaki Mori, Yuki Meguro, Hiroshi Abe, Hiroshi Fujioka, and Nobuko Miyamoto. Toho released it to Japanese theaters on July 9, 1994.


The film begins with the birth of twin princes. One of the twins is named Ousu, and is loathed by his father, the Emperor of Yamato. The emperor is convinced that his loathing of Ousu is a premonition, and he orders a shaman named Tsukinowa to kill the child. But his plans are thwarted by Amano Shiratori, the White Bird of the Heavens. The Emperor's sister views this as a clear sign of divine intervention, and takes it upon herself to raise the young prince.

Years later, when Prince Ousu has matured into a man, he is given pardon by the Emperor and allowed to return to his father's castle. Unfortunately, not long after, his mother falls ill and mysteriously dies. This sends his brother Ousu into a rage, causing him to attack Ousu, who defends himself and kills his sibling in the process. His father, furious at these events, orders his son to leave the castle and not return until the barbarians living in the Kumaso domain are dealt with. The prince makes dealing with these barbarians his top priority, and quickly takes off. He stops at a shrine on his way, where, after a quick battle, he befriends the beautiful but mysterious Ototachibana, who joins him on his journey. Along with their companions Genbu and Seiryu, they raid the barbarian castle, killing Kumaso Takeru and their god Kumasogami. Following this feat, the prince changes his name and becomes Yamato Takeru.

However, he still fails to win the acceptance of his father, and Yamato's aunt warns him of a great threat looming overhead. The god Tsukuyomi is posed to return, endangering the Earth, and Yamato Takeru must prepare to halt this from occurring.


Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.


Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

English dub

  • Jack Murphy   as   Prince Yamato Takeru
  • Chris Hilton   as   Emperor Keiko / Seiryu
  • Warren Rooke   as   Genbu
  • Rik Thomas   as   Tsukinowa / Kumaso Takeru




Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon was originally scheduled to go into production following the release of Godzilla vs. Mothra in 1992. The original story was a remake of Toho's 1959 epic The Three Treasures, but director Takao Okawara, mindful of the studio's plans for a trilogy, made numerous revisions, including the addition of the Imperial Regalia of Japan and Yamato Takeru's two companions.[3] He approached the material "not as a period piece, but instead as a futuristic drama imagined by people living in the past."

The final battle between Yamata no Orochi and Utsuno Ikusagami was significantly edited at the request of Toho executives, who felt the film was too long. A second scene of Yamato Takeru jumping onto one of Orochi's heads was also cut.


Main article: Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon/Gallery.


Main article: Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon/Soundtrack.

Alternate titles

  • Yamato Takeru (Japanese title / alternate English title)
  • Prince Yamato (alternate English title)
  • Orochi, the Multiheaded Dragon (alternate English title)
  • Madra the Eight-Headed Monster (Madra die Acht-Headed Monster, Germany)

Theatrical releases

U.S. release

Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon was dubbed into English in Hong Kong. Voice actors included Chris Hilton as Emperor Keiko and Seiryu, and Rik Thomas as Tsukinowa and Kumaso Takeru. The film went direct to video in the United States under its international title. ADV Films first released it on VHS in 1999, then on DVD in 2003.

Box office

Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon performed poorly at the Japanese box office, grossing only ¥800,000,000 with approximately 1,500,000 admissions.[4] By comparison, Toho's other 1994 kaiju film, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, made ¥1,650,000,000. Its failure forced the studio to eventually abandon its plans for a trilogy, with a sequel featuring a new monster named Bagan scheduled for 1997, but ultimately cancelled.


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon currently has a 30% Audience Score, based on over 1,000 ratings. Its average rating there is 2.9/5. The film remains fairly obscure among kaiju fans due to its limited availability on home video. Toho Kingdom's Anthony Romero gave the movie a 1.5/5 rating, citing it as "pretty lackluster across the board" being "plagued by a weak script and a hollow cast of characters", with "bland acting, [and] special effects", and a musical score that "would have been more appropriate for a television show". However, he does state that the monsters featured in the film "were well done in terms of details," though they "are far less impressive once they are seen in motion". Writing for Alternate Ending, Tim Brayton took aim at its low production values, calling it "an early '80s European fantasy adventure with just enough of a distinct Japanese sensibility in the themes and dialogue to mark it out."

Video releases

ADV Films DVD (2003)[5]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
  • Special features: Trailers
  • Notes: Out of print.

Toho DVD (2004)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Notes: The DVD has been reissued twice since its initial release on August 27, 2004: on February 7, 2014, and on August 19, 2015.

Though Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon is not available on Blu-ray, an HD version can be rented or purchased on the Japanese versions of Amazon Video and iTunes.


Japanese teaser trailer
Japanese teaser trailer
Japanese teaser trailer
Japanese TV spots
English trailer


  1. 1.0 1.1 Main director Takao Okawara took charge of Yamato Takeru's battle with Kumasogami, including the suitmation footage of the latter.[1]


This is a list of references for Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Shimazaki, Jun (2 October 2012). "Points of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II 4: Main-Unit Special Effects......?". Heisei Godzilla Perfection. ASCII MEDIA WORKS. p. 153. ISBN 978-4-04-886119-9.
  2. "1994 Japanese Film Distribution Revenue". Kinema Junpo. February 1995. p. 156.
  3. Takao Okawara Interview II by David Milner
  4. Takao Okawara Interview III by David Milner
  5. Amazon.com: Orochi: The Eight-Headed Dragon (1999)


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