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>
What's up with the generic titles to the Zatoichi movies?
This is the ninth in the series of Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman movies and I am sick of the generic titles. This one could've been titled Zatoichi's New Year instead. However, that wouldn't be right either. The new year is supposed to be promising and a time of celebration. This one is a let down and ends on a down note. It's not a good movie to watch for the new year.
Zatoichi himself is upbeat in the beginning and wants to see the sunrise from Mt. Myogi for the new year. The local entertainers and merchants are upbeat about putting on a festival and making money.
However, their optimism is soon doused by the local yakuza gang who brings a proclamation of exorbitant taxes by the corrupt tax official. They will barely make enough to survive, so some think of pulling out. Then Zatoichi is fortunate to be put up with three nice women in their room. He meets a lovely maiden who is looking for her father. Another is trying to protect her brother who got involved with the local gang and was set up as the patsy. Zatoichi is his usual self -- drinking sake, eating, gambling, giving massages, being humble and fighting and killing most of the bad guys.
He later meets the town drunk who is crafty and tells him a tale to remind him of his own father. Could this old man be Zatoichi's long lost father? This story builds drama with interesting characters and a big cast, and it pulls you in, but I was expecting a much better ending. There's no payoff at the end despite Zatoichi seeing the sunrise as there are just too many unresolved emotions and loose ends.
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