->''[[ArcWords "TOTAL MASSACRE"]]''
[[quoteright:340:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/13-Assassins-03_2672.jpg]]

''13 Assassins'' is a 2010 [[JidaiGeki chanbara]] film from director TakashiMiike. That itself is a remake of a 1963 film by EiichiKudo, but we're not talking about that one here.

The setting is Feudal Japan, 1844. [[TheCaligula Lord Naritsugu]] is the younger brother of the shogun, which affords him the unchallenged right to murder, rape, torture, and mutilate on a whim. After a high-ranking official protests Naritsugu's latest outrage by publicly committing ''{{seppuku}}'', a conspiracy is formed within the shogun's senior council to eliminate Naritsugu before his madness plunges the entire nation into anarchy. A veteran samurai named [[TheStrategist Shinzaemon]] is recruited to [[SuicideMission accomplish the suicidal task]], assembling a ragtag group of twelve warriors (plus one enigmatic vagrant) for one last chance at an honorable death in an age of peace. They quickly transform a sleepy little village into a booby-trap-laden killing ground, preparing to ambush their target before he reaches the safety of his estate. But even with surprise and skill on their side, can the small group of assassins possibly hope to prevail against Naritsugu's private army of more than 200 soldiers? [[spoiler:In a word? Yes.]]

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!!Provides examples of:

* {{Badass}}: All of the assassins, but especially Hirayama (who kills a bunch of Naritsugu's guards with an entire ''alleyway'' full of swords) and the vagrant Kiga (who takes down plenty more guards with nothing but a sling and a few impromptu clubs).
* BadassBoast: Shinzaemon calls out Naritsugu and his guards by unrolling a scroll with the words "Total Massacre" written on it, [[spoiler:by Naritsugu's former sex slave no less]]. [[spoiler:They succeed in fulfilling this boast.]]
* BadassNormal: Kiga really doesn't appreciate being underestimated just because he's not a samurai.
* BattleOfWits: The entire first half of the film is more or less Hanbei and Shinzaemon matching efforts to see who'll fall into who's traps.
* BigBad: Lord Naritsugu, with an emphasis on "Bad".
* BigBadassBattleSequence: One that continues unbroken for over 40 minutes.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: 11 of the 13 die, but they succeed in their mission and the last of them is redeemed and free to live his own life]].
* BladeOnAStick: Sahara's specialty is the ''yari''.
* BoisterousBruiser: Kuranaga is a mighty warrior who is frequently making jokes and in general being good humoured.
* TheCaligula: Naritsugu.
* CombatPragmatist: In training, Hirayama (who studied under Shinzaemon) instructs the others to win a fight by any means necessary, and to inflict as much damage as possible in case they die. Shinzaemon himself [[spoiler:wins his final duel with Hanbei by kicking mud in Hanbei's face and attacking while he's distracted]].
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: Twelve of the thirteen are either more experienced than most of the army, or were trained by someone who is (Kiga, the thirteenth, is just a brawler, [[spoiler:and probably isn't even human]]). Hanbei provides far more of a one-on-one challenge than any of his troops. Kiga lampshades this during the final battle:
-->"I thought samurai would be fun! But you bore me. You're useless. Even more useless in great numbers."
* DeliberateInjuryGambit: [[spoiler:Shinzaemon's final duel with Naritsugu, resulting in a MutualKill. Played with in that, given Shinzaemon's stated motivations going into the battle and his obviously superior skill level, it's clear that receiving a fatal injury was an end unto itself for him, rather than a means to an end.]]
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Lord Naritsugu is a subversion. He claims to simply be upholding Japanese traditions (which are already somewhat ValuesDissonance for modern Japan) but does so in a way that's not only distorted but horribly repulsive. No wonder the Shogunate wants him dead.
* TheDeterminator: Shinzaemon, which is why Hembe is so worried about him being an assassin. Shinzaemon is cautious, smart, and never overplays his hand, seeing things through to the end with patience.
* DissonantSerenity: Save for a couple instances, Naritsugu is this.
* DrivenToSuicide: Multiple instances of ''{{seppuku}}'', including one which kicks off the whole plot.
* DueToTheDead: Naritsugu earns more bastard points by [[spoiler:kicking Hanbei's head like a soccer ball after Hanbei had given his life to protect Naritsugu. When Shinzaemon calls him on this, Naritsugu invites him to do the same to his own head]].
* DualWielding
* DwindlingParty
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: Far too many to count, but particular props go to [[spoiler: Kuranaga, who collapses dead from sheer exhaustion after slaughtering several dozens of men as the city collapses around him]].
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Shinzaemon is introduced while fishing, doubles as PastimesProvePersonality and is an example of {{Foreshadowing}}. Naritsugu is introduced raping a woman for [[ForTheEvulz no particular reason]] and later murdering her husband also for no reason while making cruel jokes.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: The samurai use this as a code of honor. Guess who ''didn't'' face his death with dignity?
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Early in the film, Hirayama instructs the lesser samurai: "No sword? Use a stick. No stick? Use a rock. No rock? Fight with your fists and feet." He and his student end up using those exact tactics in the final battle.
* ForGreatJustice
* ForTheEvulz: Why does Naritsugu do what he does? Just because. He knows how powerful he is and proceeds to abuse it like there's no tomorrow.
* FriendlyEnemy: Shinzaemon and Hanbei were students together, and greatly respect each others' abilities.
* GenreSavvy: Naritsugu knows enough to realize his life is in danger. [[SubvertedTrope He just doesn't care]].
* GoOutWithASmile: [[spoiler:Kuranaga.]]
* GoryDiscretionShot: Surprising, given the director's reputation, but the first half of the movie uses quite a few of these. They make the violence in [[BigBadassBattleSequence the second half]] feel that much more brutal by comparison.
* [[TheNeedsOfTheMany Greater Good]]: the reason for most of the plot. Hambei serves an evil master because he doesn't want to overthrow the shogunate, and Shinzaemon has to take a suicide mission to stop thousands of needless deaths.
* GutPunch: [[spoiler: The first of the deaths out of the 13]] is the signal that things are about to get very, very ugly.
* TheHeroDies: [[spoiler:Shinzaemon himself at the end.]]
* HeroicRROD: [[spoiler: Kuranaga]] dies when, after a ''long'' battle against some fifty men, his wounds and exhaustion catch up to him and he just collapses dead.
* HonorBeforeReason: This ''is'' Samurai we are talking about, so it shows up a lot. Particularly Hambei, who is quite aware his Lord is batshit insane, but proudly defends him because it's his duty.
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: When Hambei and Sinzaemon meet in the latter's house, the subtext of their conversation is basically "I know you're going to kill Naritsugu, and you know I know you're going to kill Naritsugu".
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Kiga. [[spoiler: There may be a very good reason for this.]]
* IncendiaryExponent: Stampeding bulls. On fire.
* InfantImmortality: Played with in Naritsugu's "target practice" scene: his last remaining target is a little girl, but he keeps missing her. [[spoiler:Eventually averted.]]
* JidaiGeki: The story is set towards the tail end of the Edo period. Its themes foreshadow the changes and turmoil that would come as the Tokugawa Shogunate reaches its last legs.
* JustBeforeTheEnd: The age of the Samurai isn't over yet, but the decay of their ways is a heavy theme that looms over the film.
* KickTheDog: Happens just about every time Naritsugu is on screen, including kicking the [[spoiler: severed head of his most loyal subordinate]].
* KillEmAll: [[spoiler:Only two of the Thirteen survive the battle at the end of the film. Still better than Naritsugu and his forces, who all end up dead.]]
* MasterSwordsman: Hirayama, Shinzaemon, Kuranaga and Hanbei.
* MassOhCrap
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: [[spoiler:Kiga, the thirteenth assassin, is an ex-bandit who gets kicked out of his crew for touching his boss's wife. Or so he claims. The point of view of his flashback to the event, his UnexplainedRecovery moment, and the first supposition of the first twelve assassins indicate he might be a {{Tanuki}} or a Kappa. In an interview, the director also presented the possibility his appearance after the battle might be his ghost, but [[ShrugOfGod said that it's up to each viewer to decide what happened to him]].]]
* MurderIsTheBestSolution: Literally true, as trying to remove Naritsugu personally would only start a civil war, causing much more harm than good. Assassinating him is the only way to deal with him.
* MyMasterRightOrWrong: Hanbei knows his lord is evil but is willing to fight to the death to protect him.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: Naritsugu is far from harmless, but he doesn't seem like much of a challenge,[[spoiler: until he puts his sword through Kiga's throat.]]
* OffWithHisHead
* PillarsOfMoralCharacter: Hambei and Shinzaemon have different takes on this, but the end result is the same. Hambei must serve his lord (piety), The Shogun's chief must enforce his duty to the realm (obligation), Owari has to get vengeance for his son (reciprocity) and the Shinzaemon has to save innocent lives from needless war (compassion).
* PowerWalk: The assassins do this just before the battle.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: The 13 Assassins range from proud war veterans (Shinza, Kuranaga), to loyal Samurai (Horii, Higuchi, Mitsuhashi, Ishizuka), to novices (Hioki, Otake, Ogura), a disgraced Samurai (Shimada), a few Ronin (Hirayama, Sahara) and a ragtag hunter (Kiga) who joins forces with the group.
* RatedMForManly
* RedemptionQuest: Shimada's goal is to redeem himself after he strayed from Bushido.
* RRatedOpening: The seppuku at the beginning is ''very'' nasty.
* {{Ronin}}: Hirayama and Sahara.
* RuleOfCool
* {{Samurai}}
* SeeYouInHell: a surprisingly touching one between [[spoiler: Hambe and Shinzaemon]], where it comes of more like "I'll be joining you in Hell soon".
* StartsWithASuicide: A seppuku kicks the plot in motion.
* SuicideMission: None of the samurai expect to walk away from their assassination attempt on Naritsugu. Many of them are even [[DeathSeeker counting on it]], seeing this as their last opportunity to find [[AGoodWayToDie a warrior's death on the battlefield in this era of peace]].
* {{Tanuki}}: [[spoiler:Probably Kiga.]]
* TemptingFate: Kiga comments how boring this battle is and how weak the Samurai are. [[spoiler: His neck is impaled by a sword the very second he finishes this comment]].
* ToCreateAPlaygroundForEvil: After Naritsugu sees the carnage of war, he admits he would like to turn the lands into a never ending battlefield of strife.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Hioki and Higuchi.
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: [[spoiler: Naritsugu takes out the thirteenth assassin this way. Well, it puts the guy down for the rest of the battle, at least...]]
* UnexplainedRecovery: [[spoiler: For all the explosions, elaborate traps and badassery, there's nothing to suggest any fantasy elements until Kiga, the 13th Assassin survives despite having a ''sword shot at his neck''...and shows up after the battle, completely unharmed. The viewer is left wondering just who or ''what'' he is.]]
* UngratefulBastard: Naritsugu kicks [[spoiler: Hambei's head after he sacrificed himself to protect him]], which prompts Shinzaemon to call him out on this.
* ValuesDissonance: Japan doesn't have a problem with non-sexual nudity or children being naked. There's a long shot of a naked little boy, about 6, peeing in a ditch. This is a funny gag to Japanese Cinema (a similar joke would be picking your nose in the West) but it can be jarring to foreign audiences to whom "naked children" means "PedoHunt".
* VillainBall: A strong [[AvertedTrope aversion]], since Naritsugu clearly explains why he takes actions that put his life on the line with several villainous justifications. He's still a crazy sadist, but his character reasoning is spot on.
* VillainousBreakdown: [[spoiler:When Shinzaemon tells Naritsugu that if he keeps abusing his power, the people will enventually rise up and try to take him down. Naritsugu flips out and stabs Shinzaemon, only for the latter to stab the former with even more strength.]]
* WhatIsThisFeeling: Pain, for Naritsugu.
* WorldOfBadass: Hell yes.
* WorthyOpponent: Hanbei and Shinzaemon view each other as such.
* YouShallNotPass
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: During the assassination attempt, Naritsugu comments to Hanbei that he will use his position to start more wars because the fighting is so awesome. He also thanks Shinzaemon for giving him such an exciting day... [[spoiler:while the man kills him.]]
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