Hiroyuki Nakano’s Samurai Fiction (1998) is a zany samurai comedy about Peace pretending to be a jidai-geki tale of revenge. After a skilled swordsman named Kazamatsuri (Japanese rocker and composer for the film, Tomoyasu Hotei) waltzes off with the clan treasure, the rambunctious and young Heishiro (Mitsuru Fukikoshi) sets off in pursuit, hoping to restore his clan’s honor by retrieving the treasure and slaying the thief; however, Heishiro soon finds that revenge is not so easy and requires the help of Hanbei, a master swordsman played by Morio Kazama, and the affection of his lovely young daughter (Tamaki Ogawa), which ultimately forces Heishiro to make a choice between Honor and Pride or Love and Peace!
Grant talks about the Winter 2017 season, while I talk mostly about the Spring 2017 season because I mistakenly looked at the wrong chart… Yep, that happened.
Since the Zatoichi series spans over 26 films and 100 TV episodes, I figured the original film from 1962, The Tale of Zatoichi, was as good a place as any to start with. In the director’s chair for our titular character’s first outing is Kenji Misumi who would go on to direct four more Zatoichi films, the Lone Wolf and Cub films, and many other noteworthy titles in the genre. The real draw of the film, of course, is the irreplaceable Shintaro Katsu, as Zatoichi, an itinerant blind masseuse and gambler, who despite outward appearance, possesses extraordinary sword fighting skills.