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Miyamoto Musashi: Showdown at Hannyazaka Heights (1962)

Miyamoto Musashi: Hannyazaka no kettô (original title)

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(adaptation), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

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Kinnosuke Nakamura ...
Wakaba Irie ...
Isao Kimura ...
Chieko Naniwa ...
Kusuo Abe ...
Fuchikawa Goroku
Rentarô Mikuni ...
Michiyo Kogure ...
Okou
Satomi Oka ...
Takamaru Sasaki ...
Terumasa Ikeda
Shinjirô Ehara ...
Seijuro Yoshioka
Chôichirô Kawarasaki ...
Kichijiro Hayashi
Hiroshi Minami ...
Fujitsugu Gion
Ryôsuke Kagawa ...
Naota Ryohei
Kazutarô Kuni ...
Yokoyama Kansuke
Mitsuru Takeuchi ...
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17 November 1962 (Japan)  »

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Miyamoto Musashi: Showdown at Hannyazaka Heights  »

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Followed by Two-Sword Fencing Is Born (1963) See more »

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The best in the five-part series
11 September 2004 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

I felt that this was the best one in the series. After seeing the three-part "Samurai" series with Mifune Toshiro I was disappointed that its second installment, Duel at Ichijoji Temple, missed a lot of elements and side-stories that Yoshikawa Eiji covered. This version, however, covers a lot of these elements. In fact, I was surprised by all the elements that were there. So much that it takes three installments to cover what Yoshikawa has in Books II, III, and IV; whereas Inagaki covers those books in one installment and thus misses a lot of character development, which is, of course, necessary to seeing the development of Musashi.

The movie continues from where the first one set out with Takezo, soon to be Miyamoto Musashi, leaving Himeji Castle and starting on his epic quest to complete his skill in the Way. The story of the Yoshioka school is developed (which leads to the two duels and finally, at the fourth installment, the duel at Ichijoji - which does have Musashi fight the 12-13 year old Yoshioka figurehead - an element left out of the Inagaki trilogy).

I was really happy with the way they did this second installment. The introduction of Sasaki Kojiro, Osugi and Gon's pursuit of Musashi, Akemi and Otsu's desire for Musashi, and the fight with priests of Hozoin - including the duel at Hannyazaka are all the action this installment has to offer, coupled with excellent acting, cinematography, music, and screen writing.

All the movies in the series are very well-done. I cannot recommend seeing this series enough; you will not be disappointed. See also the 2003 miniseries by NHK, called "Musashi" for a forty-nine hour alternative. Overall, 8.5 out of 10.


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