Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman
Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spir... Read allTwo of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?
A family of Chinese acrobats travels through Japan performing their shows. After one of their shows a compatriot of them appears on stage; a martial artist named Wang Kang. He only has one arm, the left arm, because the other lost it in a fight. The Chinese warrior came to Japan in search of the temple of Fukuryu-ji.
Soon Wang becomes friends with the other Chinese; a couple and their little son Shaolong. They know the address of the temple and agree to take him there. On the way there is a procession of samurai carrying offerings for the shogun. "It is forbidden to cross with them, we must wait for them to pass, so is the law in Japan" says one of the Chinese. However, a gust of wind takes his son's kite to the road where the samurai parade takes place. Little Shaolong runs after it, stumbling and interrupting the sacred procession. The indignant escorts of the procession want to punish him for it, but Wang Kang quickly intervenes, thus initiating a fight between the one-armed Chinese swordsman and the Japanese samurai. The latter assassinate Shaolong's unarmed Chinese parents, as well as others bystanders, producing an authentic massacre. In the end, Wang and the child manage to escape, although separately.
The news of what has just happened spreads quickly in the region, but in a distorted way. The official version states that a dangerous mad Chinese attacked the Samurai procession, thus provoking the carnage. Now, this foreigner is wanted by provincial officials and also by yakuza clans who cooperate with the authorities and hope to receive the juicy reward offered for the head of the foreign fugitive.
This is one of the most atypical films in Zatoichi's saga, which with was approaching towards its end (it is the twenty-second film of 26). It is a crossover in which the best Japanese swordsman of film series (who is blind) and the most "dexterous" Chinese martial artist (who is actually left-handed, as he lacks a right arm) share the poster. Wang Kang's character is played by Yu Wang (who is not as popular as Bruce Lee). Wang is the protagonist of a series of films shot in Hong Kong about the fictitious figure of the "One-armed swordsman". Like Zatoichi in Japan or El Santo in Mexico, this "one-armed swordsman" is a popular character with his own series of action films, including choreographed kung-fu fights.
In "Shin Zatoichi: Yabure!" The cultural and linguistic confusions between Ichi and one-armed Wang are memorable. After the final duel between the two (which although it is done with knives has enormous aesthetic similarities with the western-genre) the two, very equal, proclaim that "If we had understood each other, we would not have had to fight...".
The soundtrack is composed by Isao Tomita (one of the fathers of ambient music, and among the first to use synthesizers), who also created the music for the second film of the trilogy "Hanzo the Razor" and the episodes of the series "Oshi samurai".
- May 15, 2020