The follow-up to 1954's excellent Musashi Miyamoto, Duel at Ichijoji Temple picks up the story several years later, as an exiled orphan-turned-swordsman gains notoriety via a bloody tour of fatal duels. His reputation precedes him in returning to his hometown, where old rivals of both a violent and intimate nature await. This is a film about personal growth - specifically that of the samurai himself, who struggles to learn the key concepts of what his new life actually entails and where the rift lies between honor and reverence. We're never quite sure if Musashi takes this lesson to heart, particularly since he's so keen to maintain an impenetrable outer facade in almost every situation. It's a tricky role for period veteran Toshiro Mifune, who struggles with the more nuanced, flatter aspects of the character. In the previous episode, with the fires of young-adulthood to toy with, he excelled. Here, faced with the malaise of mid-life and the accompanying questions of his own being, his performance is far less sublime. The plot, cramped with too many faces and several seemingly-pointless subplots, does him no favors in dancing around the issues and repeating itself on more than one occasion. This could have been an excellent one-act show, and the final half-hour could still stand alone as precisely that. It lacks the gumption of its predecessor, however, and too often cuts away just as the action is getting good.