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Hana no Ato takes on the form of a story told by Ito in her advanced age to her grand children about episode she had when she was a young woman.
Ito (Keiko Kitagawa) is a young girl who is betrothed to Saisuke ( Masahiro Komoto). She's also a master swordsman who no one could beat. Magoshiro (Shuntaro Miyao) is head swordsman at a Haga kendo school. Just the other day, Ito challenged the students at Haga kendo school and defeated everyone there. Magoshiro was not present at the time, but he meets Ito at a cherry blossom festival in the castle. Upon meeting her, he requests to have a match with her. Ito eagerly accepts his request. Few days later Magoshiro comes to Ito's house for the match. They fight at the inner yard. Magoshiro bests Ito, and Ito is smitten by Magoshito's attitude of not treating her as a mere girl. From there Ito falls in love, but Ito is already engaged to Saisuke. Also Magoshiro is of low stature within the clan. Ito is from an upper class family, and they don't match. Few month later Magoshiro is forced to commit seppuku due to treachery of Kageiyu Fujii (Kamejiro Ichikawa). Ito learns about the truth behind Magoshiro's death from Saisuke, and decides to avenge his death by challenging Kageiyu to a duel.
The story is based on a short novel by Shuhei Fujisawa. Fujisawa has few other excellent samurai sagas such as Hisshiken Torisashi, Bushi no Ichibun, and Kakushiken Oni no Tsume all of which became excellent samurai movies. His signature style is mixture of human drama with unusual skills each of the main character possesses. The story in this movie is no exception.
Hana no ato is an excellent drama and is recommended for viewing along with other movies based on Fujisawa's novels.
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