Shinichi runs away from his problems and the people he fears. When Shinichi prays to the great Kawakami oak tree for courage, he is plunged into ancient feudal Japan. He awakens in the province of Kasuga, in the midst of a battle. It is there he meets the great warrior samurai, called the Demon Ijiri. Ijiri is a worthy adversary in battle, but he proves to be a less successful lover. He has been in love with Princess Ren since his youth. She has fiercely loved him in return, rebuking offers of marriage in the hopes of marrying for love. When the powerful Lord Takatura asks for her hand in marriage, she dares not refuse him for the safety of her kingdom. When Shinichi’s family emerges from the future to search for him, they bring stirring news to the town elders. The Kasuga province had never been recorded in history, and their enduring battles with other clans were seemingly fruitless. In light of this news, Princess Ren is relinquished of her duty to marry the formidable Lord …
User Reviews: A boy dreams repeatedly of a beautiful woman by a lake in a Japan of the remote past; but after falling asleep under a legendary oak tree, he finds himself in the Tengoku period. He meets woman from his dreams, Princess Ren (Yui Aragaki), and a loyal samurai and childhood friend (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi) – and find themselves party to a battle so common in the period of warring states. What results is a story of love, war, and courage set spanning two time periods.
The tale is quite engaging, even if the time-shifting plot isn’t particularly credible. But remember, this is a children’s story – though there’s enough acceptable period detail to appeal on the level of a parable. It’s not particularly funny, aside from an unaffected humor, nor is it as thrilling as you might expect (despite some battle scenes). BALLAD has an appealing visual sense, with attractive photography and neat but rustic set decoration; the film has an unusually effective use of light and shadow. And once you’re willing to forgive the inconsistencies of the time-shifting plot, the simple story is captivating enough. I was not as forgiving about the plot’s time problems, as the boy goes from modern time to ancient Japan by conveniently falling asleep.