In the year 644, Fujiwara Kamatari, a.k.a. Kamatari of Nakatomi, defeated Iruka of Suwa with the help of Prince Naka no Ohye, bringing about the downfall of the Soga clan. In doing so, the Fujiwara clan became the "Grand Ministers," the power behind the throne, replacing the position the Soga had previously held.
This historical background is the setting of Karura Mau: Nara Malignant Spirit Picture Scroll. The members of the Fujiwara clan had maintained their status as "aristocrats in the backdrop of history" through a ja-hoh performed using Iruka's skull over 1000 years ago. Now the ge-hoshi of the Sukuna clan, calling himself Nimen Sohzu, "the priest with two-faces," wants to re-create that ja-hoh for the glory of his own clan.
Standing in the way of his evil plans are the Ohgi sisters, Shohko and Maiko, and Kenmochi. The Ohgi sisters are twins who share the awesome exorcism powers of the Ohgi clan. However, because they are twins, the powers that should be in one person had split in two. Thus, they must be together for them to be effective as one rei exorcist. Kenmochi is called the "Yami no Shiguruto," the Shiguruto of the Darkness. His specialty is the Seitoh Onmyohdoh Curse Reversal, a ja-hoh which can turn curses back upon their casters.
The story begins with the Ohgi sisters being dispatched to investigate the death of Assemblyman Ikeda, killed under mysterious circumstances. Pay close attention to every second of this movie, especially the historical and occult references.
Our subtitle includes a glossary of terms, some of which I have reproduced here to help. I have used some of the following terms in my article as well:
Yami: Darkness. Has the connotation of "hidden" or "not the conventional" when used with a noun; e.g. "Yami no Shiguruto," which can be translated as "Shiguruto of the Darkness," "The Other Shiguruto," or "The Hidden Shiguruto."
Shiguruto: Person working in the trade of spirit/rei exorcism, but who also works the darker side, like curse-kill.
Jutsu: Skill, ability, magic, spell, enchantment.
Jujutsu: Jutsu involving curse, curse spell.
Reinoh-ryoku: Powers pertaining to rei.
Reinoh-ryokusha: A medium/spirit-exorcist using reinoh-ryoku, some resembling psychics.
Hohriki: Power exerted by priests of Shintosm and other regional religions.
Hohshi: Person using hohriki; priest.
Ja-hoh: Hohriki used for evil intent; "black magic."
Ja-hohshi: Person using ja-hoh; "black magician/psychic."
Ge-hohshi: Equivalent to Ja-hohshi.
BTW: There has been some dispute over whether or not the translations of the incantations are informative or "corny." As an experiment, clap at the end of the film if you find the incantation translations informative, and scream in horror if you find them "corny." Maybe if people like them enough, I'll try especially hard to get them translated in the OAV series.