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.
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.