In the 1840s, Ichi, blind masseur and quick-draw swordsman, travels to the village of Itakura to pay his respects at the grave of Kichizo, a man he killed two years' ago. The villages in the area, after several years of famine, have struggled to raise 1,000 ryo in taxes they owe. The money is stolen while in transit to the governor. Ichi is accused as is Boss Chuji, a samurai Ichi respects. Ichi sets out to find the money and clear his own and Chuji's names. Along the way, he must face Kichizo's sister, some of Chuji's own gang, a corrupt governor, and his henchmen. Loyalties shift even as Ichi's moral compass stays true.Written by
Wait. Don't go yet. Go back with me and beat the drum for us again. Please don't leave without first seeing the joy on everyone's faces.
See the joy on their faces? That'd be a pretty good trick for a blind man.
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The Zatoichi series really took off with this entry. Shintaro Katsu is, of course, outstanding in his role as the blind swordsman/masseur. What sets this one aside from the earlier entries in the series, though, is the kinetic camerawork of Kazuo Miyagawa. Utilising every inch of his Panavision frame, Miyagawa set new standards for the samurai genre, choreographing outstanding fight sequences and adding the element of gore to the recipe. For those who think widescreen mayhem began with The Wild Bunch, this is essential viewing!
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