Young Tokiko works at a geisha house as a maid, waiting for her maiko practice (apprenticeship of geisha) to begin. The movie depicts detailed lifestyle of geishas at that time, showing their rules, loves, beauties and humanities.
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Kinji Fukasaku keeps this film firmly rooted in the traditions of Japanese genre cinema circa the 1970's. The only giveaways that this film was made in the 1990's (aside from the cast) are the special effects late in the film when ghosts are running around and they make use of computer controlled cameras to assist in the effects.
While the plot is confusing at times with the timeline jumps and the long list of names to keep up with, the sheer energy put into the production makes up for it. Everything is here, chambara action, morally ambiguous anti-hero, crazy characters in full traditional stage makeup, a little nudity from the lead actress, social commentary of sorts and finally the supernatural. The photography and direction are excellent although a little more could have been done to tie all the elements together.
Recommended for Japanese action fans.
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