Ichi seeks out on a pilgrimage to 81 temples, exploring spirituality to atone for his bloody past. On the way, Ichi stumbles into a village that's being bullied by a violent Yakuza boss and... See full summary »
In the 1840s, Ichi, blind masseur and quick-draw swordsman, travels to the village of Itakura to pay his respects at the grave of Kichizo, a man he killed two years' ago. The villages in the area, after several years of famine, have struggled to raise 1,000 ryo in taxes they owe. The money is stolen while in transit to the governor. Ichi is accused as is Boss Chuji, a samurai Ichi respects. Ichi sets out to find the money and clear his own and Chuji's names. Along the way, he must face Kichizo's sister, some of Chuji's own gang, a corrupt governor, and his henchmen. Loyalties shift even as Ichi's moral compass stays true. Written by
Ichi buffs will be interested to know that Jushiro is played this film by Katsu's real-life brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama, who would later star in the Lone Wolf and Cub series of films (produced by Katsu). See more »
Not among the very best in the series, but still quite good.
This film sure started off well. Instead of the usual credits, these were the coolest ones yet. Against a black background, Zatôichi smokes a cigarette as periodically evil men attack him and he dispatches them like flies--and continues smoking like he's the toughest guy in town!
When the film itself begins, Zatôichi comes upon a humble village where they are having a celebration. It seems that after three years of drought, the villagers had a good harvest and can finally pay off the tax bill. However, when the money is stolen, the villagers stupidly believe the stranger in town (Zatôichi) did it. Considering that he's blind and doesn't leave after the theft, it sure seems ridiculous to blame him. Further, after the townsfolk beat him up, it's also very surprising that our hero would agree to help them find their stolen funds.
Zatôichi assumes boss Chuji is behind the theft and makes his way towards his village. On the way, he meets a beautiful but mysterious lady. He doesn't seem to think much of this meeting, but oddly you later see this lady begging the local bosses to have Zatôichi killed. But why?!
When Zatôichi finally meets up with Chuji, his assumption is proved wrong, though it IS true that some of his men were involved in the theft. Zatôichi swears to continue following the trail to the money AND also now agrees to transport a little boy for Chuji to another town. Oh, that Ichi--always helping others and not thinking one bit about himself!
A bit later, most of Chuji's men are killed and he barely escapes. It seems that Monji (another boss) is NOT Chuji's friend after all and he's in league with Jushiro. At this point, if you are feeling a bit confused, don't worry. Though you may not be able to determine who exactly is who, just rest assured that Zatôichi will be administering a well-earned butt kicking!!
Overall, this is a very good addition to the series. While it lacks some of the heart and back story of the best films in the series, the plot was engaging and different. Well worth seeing.
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