Blind swordsman/masseuse Zatoichi befriends a young woman looking for her father, a village leader who has disappeared. As he helps her investigate the disappearance, Zatoichi also becomes involved with another young woman who is trying to help her brother, who has murdered someone at about the same time and place as the missing man was last seen. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Kimiyoshi Yasuda, who directed Zatoichi #5 ("On the Road") which is my least favorite of the bunch so far, returns for #9, generically titled/translated as Adventures of Zatoichi, which turned out to be my second least favorite Zatoichi film right after #5. This isn't the last Zatoichi film directed by Yasuda either, so I hope his later efforts will be better.
With a title like Adventures of Zatoichi, you can only expect two things. Either the plot is so generic that they couldn't describe it any way else so they went with the most commonplace title possible, or this entry in the series actually has some fresh and imaginative, well, adventures, to offer. Unfortunately, the former approach is the case here. #9 just doesn't offer anything new to the table that already hasn't been explored in the series yet. Yes, we do have a fake-out concerning the where-abouts of Ichi's father, but aside from that, the only characters that make this film stand out are two comedians at the start. I also remember there were two kids in red kimonos in this movie. Yes, it didn't really stick in my memory.
The music feels too loud and intrusive in this film, and the color work is, like in #5, pretty bland with endless variations of gray hues and dark spaces. There are some interesting compositions in the final 20 minutes, but aside from that, the film looks the same as it feels, as a cookie-cutter placeholder without much to offer.
Highlight of this particular film would have to be the duel between Zatoichi and some villain in a snowy field, I think.
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