Nemuri Kyoshiro, a youthful and cynical ronin with unparalleled skill, is approached by both sides in a game of corruption, ambition, and double crosses. The leader of the Kaga clan, who ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series finds the anti-hero in an area where the locals are oppressed, suppressed and held against their wills. Part of the coercive forces trace back to ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero involved when as an act of vengeance a band of samurai whose master was unceremoniously assassinated by agents of the clan, when he ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series sees the orphan swordsman wander into a town and stumble upon the opportunity to conduct righteous deeds. With the smaller acts of kindness aside ... See full summary »
Ishikawa Goemon (Ichikawa Raizo), a talented young ninja, becomes ensnared in a twisted scheme to assassinate Oda Nobunaga, an evil warlord bent on ruling feudal Japan with an iron fist. ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero talked into escorting a precious religious artifact to Kyoto, Japan. A sect of Christian swordsmen are lying in wait to steal the ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the red-haired swordsman on his way to the city of Edo when he comes across the scene of a woman in the midst of a knife fight with a man. When... See full summary »
When the wife of the Shogun's Decapitator is murdered and he is ordered to commit suicide by the paranoid Shogun, he and his four-year-old son escape and become assassins for hire, embarking on a journey of blood and violent death.
Two devious retainers are competing to take control of a fief when the current Lord dies, but involving Kyoshiro in the conflict against his will is the textbook example of a bad idea - ... See full summary »
So I finally arrive at the final entry in the Nemuri Kyoshiro saga. I spread the films over a period of two years and enjoyed most, to varying degrees, and this last one is one of the best. Nemuri this time has to face an impostor, wreaking havoc in his name, and a devious concubine of the Shogun weaving a scheme of succession to the throne.
The first scene is a comic-book stunner. Nemuri (or is he?) performing his Full Moon Cut ritual as a frightened opponent advances over to him, Kazuo Ikehiro giving us a long shot panorama of the fight in slow-motion. A competent genre hand, the director acquits himself rather well in the rest of the film.
Usually there's not much to these films, except for the occasional stylistic delight. Here it's in the form of a dreamlike encounter, where Nemuris is met with strange apparitions clad in black and white, and is ushered into a Shinto temple where a weird ritual awaits him. Demonic masks hang in the walls, which are later animated as Iga ninjas lunging at him with swords and fiery shuriykens.
The plot this time is not as convoluted as we may expect, usually one of the stumbling blocks of the Nemuri films. The other thing that makes these films work is Raizo Ichikawa. In the first films his broodingness didn't convince, he was young and looked effeminate in make-up, but here he carves his own space in the screen. A tragic loss for Japanese cinema, later that year.
Nemuri Kyoshiro did what it could for chambara, its main contribution the villainous protagonist and bleak vision of a hellish world where life matters little. Lone Wolf and Cub would pick the mantle from here for the last bloody hurrah.
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