NHK's miniseries' are a guilty pleasure of mine - usually they are formulaic: a spunky hero or heroine overcomes obstacles; but they provide a peek inside daily Japanese life (or show business) that is hard to see even here at the Eastern nexus of the Pacific Rim. Medieval samurai epics are part of the repertoire - again, usually, a spunky hero overcomes obstacles, amid historical spectacle and medieval politics.
However, "Musashi" takes it to the next level. What's exceptional is Shinosuke Ichikawa's charismatic performance in the lead, recreating the body language and speech of the great samurai movie legends of the 50s and 60s, but with a modern love interest to give the series its necessary sentimental focus and an emotionally modern feel. There is a great supporting cast, and Ennio Morricone's dramatic music helps too.
This is 50-plus hours of television - if it airs in your town, tune in and get hooked. I missed the first few episodes, so I'm looking forward to finding this available on DVD somewhere.
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