(2003) is an extremely violent action movie by Ryuhei Kitamura, based on a manga series created by Yū Koyama, focusing on the life of Azumi, a young woman brought up as part of a team of assassins charged with killing three warlords that threaten Feudal Japan with an agenda of war and bloodshed. It begins an indeterminate number of years after the Battle of Sekigahara, but as the story progresses and Azumi begins her missions, the manga introduces the characters into mainstream history. Many of the early assassination missions that Azumi undertakes are the assassinations of the prominent supporters and generals of the Toyotomi Clan, against whom the Tokugawa Clan expected to again go to war. The manga 'reveals' that many of the Toyotomi leaders who conveniently died of diseases or accidents prior to the final confrontation between the Toyotomi and Tokugawa were actually victims of assassinations by Azumi and her comrades.
In 2005, a sequel was made, Azumi 2: Death or Love
, featuring Chiaki Kuriyama
of Kill Bill
The movies contain examples of:
- Action Girl: Azumi herself. In the manga, she is barely pubescent, making her a Little Miss Badass. They used a slightly older cast for the movies, though.
- Aya Ueto did a lot of her own stunts, particularly swordplay making her a real life Badass
- Badass Cape
- Blood Knight: Bijoumaru... by all the Gods, Bijoumaru.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Technically they're hitokiri, but the trope applies.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Most of the fights in the first movie, at least in Azumi's case. All but one of her True Companions eventually fall to the waves of enemies sent against them, but Azumi always survives without even a scratch. By the end of the movie, her personal kill count is in the hundreds, albeit aided by a bit of Unfriendly Fire.
- Subverted in the second movie. Azumi defeats all of the elite ninja, but is poisoned in one of the later fights, and would have died without Ginkaku's assistance.
- Deadly Graduation: The ten young assassin students were told to pair up with the person they liked the most before their final exam. Then they were told to fight each other to the death.
- Determinator: Aya Ueto did many of her own stunts, during the filming of one fight on the first day she was struck on the forehead with a prop sword. The Director was worried that the injury might cause her to pull out of the production. She returned to the set the very next day ready to continue filming.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Saru delivers a Mercy Kill to Hyuga even though Bijomaru deliberately injured him in such a way that his death would be slow and painful.
- Hideo Kojima: Yes he is in this movie. Here's the interview.
- No Social Skills: growing up in isolation (and learning the fine art of bloody murder, lest we forget) deprives all of the ten of these.
- Orphanage of Fear: Subverted - the ten are all war orphans, but being trained as killers turns it into an Orphanage Of Doombringers, until... see Deadly Graduation above.
- She Cleans Up Nicely
- Single-Stroke Battle: Azumi vs. Bijomaru at the climax of the first movie, sort of. They spend some time running and jumping around, trading ineffectual attacks, then they pause in the plaza, Bijomaru gives Azumi his Worthy Opponent line, and this is how the duel ends.
- Something about a Rose: One character, a long-haired, white-clad, psychotic biseinen, first appears holding a red rose, for no other apparent reason than to look cool.
- The bonus DVD content confirms that this was in fact the only reason for the rose.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: After Azumi and her comrades easily dispose of a bunch of nameless Mooks, the Evil Overlord decides to set an ambush with his better-trained ninja - who are promptly slaughtered. At this point he enlists a band of bloodthirsty mercenaries. When this still doesn't work, he goes into a prison to release a psychotic mass murderer (who happens to be a master swordsman) and gives him the rest of his troops, plus an entire town of cutthroats as backup.
- The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Bijomaru uses a sword with no handguard, to show he's such a skilled fighter that he never needs to parry. Differs from most examples of this trope in that he dodges the attacks instead of just No Selling them.
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: at the end of the first movie, the one remaining warlord is enjoying a leisurely cruise to his next destination, his ship practically in the middle of the ocean as he invites his bodyguard to join him at the onsen. Cue Azumi leaping out of the ocean to finish him off.