Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo
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|Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo|
Original release Japanese B2 film poster
|Directed by||Kihachi Okamoto|
|Produced by||Shintaro Katsu|
|Written by||Kihachi Okamoto|
|Starring||Shintaro Katsu |
|Music by||Akira Ifukube|
It is the twentieth of a series of films featuring the blind swordsman Zatoichi. The main character is based on a fictional character, a blind masseur and swordmaster. He was created by novelist Kan Shimozawa and set during the late Edo period (1830s and 1840s).
In this film, actor Toshiro Mifune plays a similar character to Sanjuro, the rōnin (masterless samurai) in Akira Kurosawa's famous film Yojimbo (1961). Although Mifune is clearly not playing the same man (his name here is Daisaku Sasa, and his personality and background are different in many key respects), the film's title and some of its content connect him to the character, The Ronin with No Name, and the idea of the two iconic jidaigeki characters confronting each other. (Machibuse, made in the same year, also stars Mifune in a role similar to that of Yojimbo.)
In the middle of a rainstorm, Ichi overhears a man being killed by a group and then dragged off into the brush. Tired of wandering, he decides to visit his hometown not noticing until later that the townspeople are living in fear of a local yakuza gang. At a teahouse, he meets Umeno, a former love interest. In the meantime, the boss's eldest son returns from university expecting a large sum of money to be paid to him, but the boss refuses. The youngest son, who is also wanting the money, hires Yojimbo (Toshiro Mifune) to assassinate him as he is the boss's top enforcer. Yojimbo, however, is more than happy to bide his time drinking and making him wait.
Eventually, another rōnin armed with a double barreled pistol wanders into town, wanting the bounty on Zatoichi's head. While Zatoichi makes short work of him, eventually the boy grows tired of his father's apparent unwillingness to hand over the gold and begins to build an army to combat him. Caught up in the middle of the conflict, Zatoichi battles both sides until every one falls dead. Taking his opportunity, Yojimbo catches the weary Zatoichi and fights a quick duel, which ends in a draw when he slice him across the back and Zatoichi in return stabs him in the thigh.
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