Blind swordsman/masseur Ichi (known as Zatoichi, or "Masseur Ichi") angers a local yakuza gang when he defeats several of them in a wrestling match. When he finds that his long lost love Tane is nearby and romantically involved with a tough samurai in the employ of the gang, he remains in the village. Meanwhile, the young heir to the leadership is forced to confront his own fear and weakness when the gang insists he fight Ichi. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
One might mistake this for the first Zatôichi in colour, so bold are the colours during the opening credits that they'd challenge even Imamura's hyper-lush "Kamigami no yakubo" (1968).
What the films achieve wonderfully is that they still allow the necessary plotting to take its time. In modern fare I think we'd be having all the quiet moments and hesitations removed, let alone all the human drama. Thus the film really has genuinely suspenseful moments and genuine drama. Otane reappears, and we are allowed to see a loose end tied in the drama.
I'm going through the films in chronological order just now. It will be interesting to see where the series goes as it matures; these early films have all been very brilliant.
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