Nearing the village of his sensei, Zatoichi decides to pay the teacher a visit, only to learn that he has been murdered and his daughter forced into prostitution. Ichi's investigation into ... See full summary »

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Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi returns to his home village for the first time in over ten years to find much has changed and that corruption abounds.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiyo Toake, Eiji Okada
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi promises to deliver a maiden safely home but finds two dangerous gangs have a mysterious interest in the young girl.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shiho Fujimura, Ryûzô Shimada
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yu Wang, Watako Hamaki
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Hisaya Morishige
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Masayo Banri, Ryûzô Shimada
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Star Shintaro Katsu sits in the director's chair for this psychedelic and unremittingly bleak entry in the Zatoichi series, which is unlike any other in its grind-house grimness. A tale of ... See full summary »

Director: Shintarô Katsu
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kiwako Taichi, Kyoko Yoshizawa
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi's trek through 88 temples to atone for his violent past is interrupted as he stumbles into a village terrorized by a violent yakuza boss.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Michiyo Ohkusu, Kunie Tanaka
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Zatoichi meets an infamous blind leader of a gangster organization as he contends with a gloomy ronin widower.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Reiko Ôhara, Pîtâ
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A samurai with a high skill in chess makes friends with Zatoichi, who finds that things become peculiar in his presence.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Mikio Narita, Chizu Hayashi
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zatoichi is tricked by a crime gang into killing a man. Realizing his mistake, he sets out to protect the dead man's sister, who is conflicted in accepting his help.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yoshiko Mita, Makoto Satô
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jûshirô Konoe, Miwa Takada
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Kanako Higuchi ...
Boss Han Bosatsu
Takanori Jinnai ...
Inspector Hanshu
Ryûtarô Gan ...
Boss Goemon (as Takehiro Okumura)
Yûya Uchida ...
Boss Akabei
Toyomi Kusano ...
Ume
Tsurutarô Kataoka ...
Tsuru
Miho Nakayama
Ken Ogata ...
Rônin / Masterless samurai
Norihei Miki ...
Zatoichi's friend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Naonori Aihara
Ryo Akashi
Buntaro Aoyanaki
Yosuke Ara
Gô Awazu ...
Kame
Edit

Storyline

Nearing the village of his sensei, Zatoichi decides to pay the teacher a visit, only to learn that he has been murdered and his daughter forced into prostitution. Ichi's investigation into these injustices uncovers a corrupt alliance between government officials and criminals, putting the blind swordsman on a bloody path of retribution in one of the series' darkest entries. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Darkness is his ally [USA] See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

4 February 1989 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Shintaro Katsu's Zatoichi  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The last Zatoichi film to star Shintarô Katsu (who also produced, wrote and directed this film). See more »

Connections

Follows Zatoichi's Conspiracy (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Tsugaru Jongara Bushi
Sung by Kazuko Matsumura
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rich, beautifully crafted film from a master of samurai cinema
6 November 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Shintaro Katsu is an actor who needs no introduction. Having played the rascal Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, in 26 films, he knew exactly what made those films so indelible. Though he had directed a few smaller films in the past (including Zatoichi in Desperation), this was his largest budgeted and most personal work.

Zatoichi: Darkness is his Ally, is a breathtakingly beautiful film, shot with almost totally natural lighting. In fact, the photography of the film is near brilliant in it's lighting and set-up. Katsu's handling of the action scenes is absolutely top-notch. Kudos must be given to the final set piece, which I dare-say may be one of the best sword battles in Chanbara film history.

But it is Katsu's moving, final performance as the wandering swordsman, that gives this film it's weight. His mere presence is so compelling, and his carrying of even the smallest of scenes so capable, that you wish the film would just continue forever, just to bask in a master actor's radiance that much longer.

Some people may balk at the slightly episodic (and convoluted) storyline, but there are so many beautifully handled scenes, you can easily forgive any of the films flaws. Samurai film fans, take note, this is one movie you don't want to miss.


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