Ninjas with super magical powers, a ghostly figure who can’t die, forbidden love, treachery and the fate of two villages interwoven brilliant combat scenes and gorgeous cinematography.
Japanese film doesn’t get any better than this.
This is a beautifully tragic film directed by Ten Shimoyama and written by Kenya Hirata. Although its easy to liken it to Romeo and Juliet, it has specific Japanese traits which guide it away from this well worn tale. The heavy emotions of Giri – or obligation or duty – hangs round the necks of the two main characters, forcing them to make decisions devoid of their own needs or wants. They are forced to look outside their training and natures to seek better understandings of the people around them. One chooses a peaceful non violent path, the other a vengeful one.
The plot follows two village leaders, Kouga and Iga, who have fallen in love, secretly married, but discover that their alliance is ill fated and at the mercy of a political plot. As ninjas with magical powers, they must uphold the secret training of their clans, but find that the shogun Tokugawa deliberately stirs up feuds to consolidate his reign.
The two lovers have faith in love, but also know that they were born to kill and are left with a quandary. A massive war party is set out to destroy the villages and ensure the secret training doesn’t continue. They must choose a path where one journey will take their love away from the pain and suffering they experience, and the other to the unknown battlefield.
The chilling performances of the main characters convey such raw emotion, the subtitles are rarely needed. This film has the love story for the soft hearted, action and blood for the adventurous and a spiritual side which will leave questions in your mind long after the credits roll. A film for everyone.
Theatrical poster via Wiki