Years of warfare end in a Japan unified under the Tokugawa shogunate, and samurai spy Sasuke Sarutobi, tired of conflict, longs for peace. When a high-ranking spy named Tatewaki Koriyama defects from the shogun to a rival clan, however, the world of swordsmen is thrown into turmoil.
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The anti zankoku chanbara. Shinoda's second take on the genre plays with the aesthetics of the static rather than with the poetics of constant movement. Critical and political as always, Shinoda writes a veiled essay on a genre that wasn't too far from becoming the gore feast we witnessed in Katsu Production flicks.
It all comes down to the line "you are a strange man". Sure Sasuke is ruthless, efficient and a spy above all other things, but he is a humanist. He is in it for himself and the helpless. It is a strange ideal for a selfish ronin spy to have, but it makes for one interesting character. At the conclusion of the film, we know nothing about him, only then does this strike us as strange.