the best zatoichis always share certain qualities - an abstract quality in the image work, an ambivalent relationship to the lead characters interactions with the world - in addition to the standard formula. kenji misumi is perhaps the ideal work for hire director - never unengaged, but every now and then you can see his eye catch a scene or moment with potential, and seizes on it in the most unexpected fashion.
This 19th entry in the series has some of the basic elements of the series but has enough differences during Ichi's quest to be a Good Samaritan to a girl he wronged, to make it a very entertaining film. The film quickly turns interesting as comedy comes into play and continuously switches tones. Ending with a very well-choreographed final fight, this entry is a very good film despite it's obvious familiarity.