|Index||2 reviews in total|
Chances are, if you even are perusing this, you have either (A) seen the show at a Japanese station in your area or (B)have heard Quentin Tarantino's references to Kage No Gundan in regards to Sonny Chiba. I'm more of (A) but never got a chance to see all of it (they kept changing the times it would air!!!). All I can say about this series is that it is the perfect bland of drama, martial arts, and cheese that the ninja craze back in the eighties had to offer. BUT don't let that last comment fool you. This isn't some American production exploiting the ninja fad (such as Cannon Films and their poster boy, Sho Kosugi). No, this is straight out of Japan with as much authenticity as Sonny Chiba and his Japan Action Team can provide. "Kage..." provides a wonderful cast of characters led by Chiba's Hattori Hanzo amidst a genuine historical backdrop and engaging stories with enough political intrigue to entertain and educate (!) the viewer on the basics of Japanese history and (a cartooned version)politics. This series also gives a glimpse into the real historical context of what the ninja were (though not as heavy-handed as "Shinobi No Mono" another MUST SEE movie of what the real historical ninjas were like). The ninja were necessary evils of the Samurai elite, and were treated as such. Add to the fact that our heroes belong to a disbanded ninja group whose master was framed for treason, just adds more texture to the mix. In conclusion, just watch and enjoy "Kage No Gundan". There is just too much good stuff to mention without spoiling it for the uninitiated. It's just good fun and a production value akin to any good samurai epic (also watch for cameos from other great Japanese actors of the day). Abayo!
One of the best TV series ever! Sort of a blend of Shogun's Samuari - The Yagyu Clan Conspiracy (also starring Sony Chiba) and the Lone Wolf and Cub series. Then throw in some Mission Impossible, Robin Hood, and The "A" Team! Reminds me of the Hanzo the Razor trilogy as well, with a surprising amount of violence and nudity for a TV show. The lead character in this show is Hanzo (??!!) Hattori (Sony Chiba) who is boss of an underground ninja clan. The exploits are inventive and interesting with many based on political intrigue, though there is a pervasive 80's soap opera (i.e. dramatic) element. The ensemble characters are all excellent, and the bath house setting provides relief from the heavy drama and adventure. I do have one complaint which keeps it from a perfect score - the music is okay, but the same themes / songs are repeated in virtually every episode and can wear out their welcome. One theme sounds like "Saint James Infirmary Blues", and another like Karen Carpenter singing "The Two Of Us" in a Japanese lounge. There are traditional styled Japanese melodies along with blaxploitation fuzz/funk influences. Don't worry about missing one as you'll hear most of them every episode. Just pace yourself and resist the temptation to watch them all at once. Highly recommended!
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