For anyone who hasn't seen the first four films, never fear. This episode begins with quite a long recap. But beware ! Some of the recap misrepresents the story. But no matter. Episode 5 is pretty good, in fact nearly as good as the first ep.
All the familiar characters are still there. Otsu (MM's great love), Akemi, Matahachi (his former fellow soldier), old lady Osugi (still doggedly trying to defeat MM), and even the return of Priest Takuan (the man responsible for MM's journey towards enlightenment). But most of all, the boastful, long-haired and long-sworded Kojiro Sasaki. Most of the final ep builds up to MM's battle with KS. However, the highlights for me were Takuan's brief appearances (this guy is just so likeable !) and another love scene between Otsu and MM. Curiously, there is also quite a lot of humour in this one. For instance, the scenes featuring the horse traders, who initially try to oppose MM but soon become his faithful followers, are simply hilarious.
I found the final battle with KS to be quite a letdown, particularly as it was to be the climax of the series.
But, again, no matter, this is still well worth watching. Either as part of the series or on its own.
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