After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.
Zatoichi comes upon a dying man who asks him to give a bag of money to "Taichi". Zatoichi has no idea who this is but when he comes upon a small town harassed by gangsters, he finds that "Taichi" was the man's young son. Along his travels he also met a blind monk who makes Zatoichi question his murderous lifestyle. In trying to help the town, Zatoichi kills some gangsters and becomes a hero to the boy. He must make a choice of whether to use non-violence and set a good example, or violence and set the boy on the wrong path in life.Written by
Fred Cabral <email@example.com>
This entry in the series begins with a hilarious scene wherein a Zatoichi suffering from a cold is surrounded by a gang of thugs. The usual occurs and the coup de grâce is delivered with a sneeze!
But the most interesting character in the film is the traveling, blind, pipa-playing priest. The priest is uncommonly wise and quickly takes the measure of Zatoichi. Zatoichi is pronounced to be a 'chuto hampa', belonging neither to common folk who look down upon him as a cripple, nor to the blind community because of his extraordinary abilities. This explains Zatoichi's loneliness, which is a common theme throughout the series. The priest extols Zatoichi to put away the sword. And Zatoichi does at one point, enjoying a meal in the forest with the blind priest, carrying a normal cane. Zatoichi's samurai rival draws near, and Zatoichi confesses that he is afraid.
True, in the end there is no catharsis. The film concludes with the normal string of confrontations with gang members and a showdown with the samurai. Still, there is a level of feeling and introspection in this film that continues on into the next film in the series. This compelling blend of humor, human struggle, and violence is sure to please a wide audience.
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