This seventh film in the series is a very funny one to enjoy. Though the story isn't very different from the rest, it's a solid tale that surprisingly ends ambiguously. And while Katsu does his thing, it's Hidari (a Kurosawa regular) that's a welcome presence as a possible-deaf fireworks maker.
rebounding from the splashy, incoherent 6th, a series highlight: tightly wound and emotionally unpleasant. by now several striking tactile sequences (notably underwater and the fireworks/darkness massacre) are expected, but here everything is rendered with engaging clarity, often in cleverly staged long shots; director kauzo ikehiro's next (zatoichi's pilgrimage') would be my favorite of the series.