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Wes Tomasz Ciesla
Blind swordsman/masseur Zatoichi is pursued by the retainers of a lord who fear that he will reveal a secret weakness of their master. Returning to the village where a year before he had killed Hirate, a much-admired opponent, Zatoichi encounters another swordsman and former rival in love: his own brother. He must face in combat not only the pursuing retainers but his own flesh-and-blood. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Zatoichi is a blind masseur with real talent for swordplay!
I love samurai movies, but the Zatoichi series takes a period of lawlessness and violence in Japan from the lofty realm of the Samurai nobility down to the ranks of the common people. They are great "slice of life" dramas about what life was like for a man who seems to have a devastating handicap during a time of turmoil which is very much like the wild, wild West in American culture. The offset to Zatoichi's handicap (his blindness) is that he is blessed with incredible perceptive abilities which include a level of swordsmanship that seems to surpass even Musashi Miyamoto's legendary skills. The time period appears to be several hundred years after Musashi lived in the 1500's, otherwise Zatoichi might have found his match - for no one else in Japan, no matter how many adversaries attack him simultaneously, can prevail over the blind master's incredible swordplay.
I like this movie because it shows the fencing style in great detail, and the viewer can truly appreciate Zatoichi's martial arts abilities. The story is also interesting, as it reveals some of the mysterious masseur's family background. This is the best movie in the series to see first because Zatoichi is very young in this story, and several of the events help explain events in later episodes.
There's a great deal of humor underlying the action, and Shintaro Katsu does an excellent job of portraying this quirky, noble, and ultimately very appealing character.
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