February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled ... See full summary »
Toranosuke Sugi, a brave and loyal Samurai, fights to practice and preserve his master's teachings amid a civil war. With friends on both side will he cave to temptation, or stand on principle and for freedom?
Based on a long running (and unfinished) novel by Kaizan Nakazato that ran on various newspapers (Miyako, Mainichi, and Yomiuri to be exact) from 1913 to 1941, Daibosatsu Toge (The Great Bodhisattva Path) is a story that's set towards the end of Tokugawa Shogunate's reign about group of people that comes in contact with main character Ryunosuke Tsukue (Raizo Ichikawa).
Ryunosuke Tsukue is a swordsman in his 30s who was born in the village of Sawai near by Daibosatsu Toge. His father ran a sword fighting school and he himself is a master of the Kogen Ittoryu sword fighting style. He is totally selfish and pitiless, and when he was young, he used to go out to the path to cut down innocent passer by with his sword. One old man he cut down was the grandfather of Omatsu (Fujiko Yamamoto) who he will come in contact with later in his life.
In a sword fighting match, he kills Monnojo Utsuki, but earlier, he rapes Monnojo's wife Ohama (Tamao Nakamura) who came to beg for her husband's honor by not accepting the match (because it was obvious that her husband will lose). But because he killed Monnojo, he gets targeted for assassination by Monnojo's friends, and must leave Sawai Village. Ohama decides to follow Ryunosuke. Monnojo's brother Hyoma (Kojiro Hongo) also starts to chase Ryunosuke to avenge his brother's death. He goes to Edo (old name for Tokyo) and joins Shinsengumi (which was like a vigilante police force), and has a child Ikutaro with Ohama. He tries to assassinate Ryunosuke Shimada who's a teacher of Hyoma, with his colleagues but for the first time, loses. This confounds Ryunosuke, and he gets into a quarrel with Ohama, and kills her. He then heads out to Kyoto and is asked by the head of Shinsengumi, Kamo Serizawa to join them, but due to the memory of killing Ohama, Ryunosuke goes into hallucination, and in delusion he swings his sword wildly where he is seen by Hyoma and Hyoma challenges him to a match.
This is the first of a trilogy, and there're two more movies that follows. The novel is epic length so they couldn't fit all the story into single movie. Daibosatsu Toge has been made into movies five times since 1935. The novel itself was never concluded. It ended when its author died, so there's no ending to this story. In the end, the story goes into fictitious realm that doesn't follow the actual history, and all the characters starts to wander various parts of Japan in the year 1868.
This is one of the most edgiest samurai movie ever made, and it's that way because of the character of Ryunosuke. He absolutely cares for no one, and with his ability to kill, makes him one destructive instrument to himself and people around him. Raizo Ichikawa who played Ryunosuke (twice as he also played the part in the previous release of this movie) himself had a very short life dying at the age of 37.
Out of all, versions, this movie has the most beautiful women playing the parts. Tamao Nakamura was great as Ohama/Otoyo. It was a year before she married Shintaro Katsu who played the original Zatoichi the blind swordsman. Fujiko Yamamoto who played Omatsu was always renowned for her beauty. All these casts makes this an exceptional movie to watch.
One of the must see samurai movies of all time, Daibosatsu Toge is one of the best movie ever made samurai or otherwise.
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