7.2/10
212
3 user 7 critic

Ken ki (1965)

Hanpei is an orphan mistreated by other vassals of the manor. He loves flowers and is named the castle gardener. One day in the forest he meets a samurai who teaches him his technique. To ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Raizô Ichikawa ... Hanpei
Michiko Sugata ... Osaki
Kei Satô ... Secretary Kikuma Kambe
Ryûtarô Gomi ... Zen priest with a flute (Komusô)
Gorô Mutsumi ... Tomozô
Rokkô Toura ... Masanobu Un'no
Kentarô Kudô ... Asazô
Asao Uchida ... Yaichirô Daigo
Ryûzô Shimada ... Kansuke Hatta
Kôichi Mizuhara ... Gosuke
Saburô Date ... Shingo Toda
Akihisa Toda ... Geki Tadokoro
Ryôsuke Kagawa ... Shuzen Kagemura
Shôsaku Sugiyama ... Tanzaemon Ikenaga
Kazue Tamaki ... Taichiemon Tsuzaki
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Storyline

Hanpei is an orphan mistreated by other vassals of the manor. He loves flowers and is named the castle gardener. One day in the forest he meets a samurai who teaches him his technique. To conceal the mental illness of lord of the manor, Hanpei is ordered to kill all the spies of the shogun and rebel vassals. Written by ccarneiro0707

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katana sword | based on novel | See All (2) »

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Release Date:

16 October 1965 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Sword Devil  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Standard Daiei stuff
29 October 2008 | by See all my reviews

Sword Devil is largely typical early-to-mid sixties Daiei Studios stuff, with good marquee value (Misumi-Ichikawa) but nothing we haven't seen better elsewhere. A genre b-movie with standard plotting then, SD plays out with little in the way of surprise but still fairly entertaining within the boundaries it sets up for itself. Hanpei is born to a servant of the mad Lady of the clan and a dog, or so the legend goes, and so dog-son is his nickname. The opening credits sequence is almost a direct copy of the one from Kurosawa's STRAY DOG, the stray dog (nora inu) standing in as a very common symbolic reference for the ronin drifter in the chambara field and one Kurosawa himself used in YOJIMBO. Indeed Hanpei is defined as a typical genre outcast, an alienated character on the fringes of society (as the old man taking care of him says before he dies "you're not even considered a human…"), but unlike other characters of that ilk Hanpei starts out as a doormat type of character, shy and timid and with no swordsman skills whatsoever. Instead of being a laconic badass as one would expect, Hanpei is employed as a florist tending the gardens of the local daimyo. His transformation from timid gardener to sword devil starts with him learning the sword from a ronin practicing in the woods and climaxes in a hack-and-slash battle where he chops down two dozen of his own clan's vassals, them hell-bent on revenge, and rightfully fulfills the title's lurid promise. Kudos goes to Raizo Ichikawa for his portrayal of Hanpei; he shows formidable acting chops and proves he can do likable and goodie just as good as the darker, more nihilistic characters he played around the same era (Nemuri Kiyoshiro, Ryunosuke Tsukue).


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