A samurai film by avant-garde director Sogo Ishii, which takes the long-standing Japanese myth of Yoshitsune and Benkei and turns it on its head. The valiant Yoshitsune (here Shanao) is now a power-mad super-ninja; the brawling Benkei was once a thief but is now a repentant Buddhist monk.Not to be confused with G.I. Joe, of course.
This series provides examples of:
- Anyone Can Die. All bets are off.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution. Benkei uses his broken sword as a lightning rod in the, um, electrifying climax.
- Cool Sword. Onkirimaru ... at least until it breaks.
- Crapsack World. The rag-end of the Heian era, a period when it was not uncommon to see corpses abandoned in the streets. See Rashomon for more on that score.
- Dual Wielding. Shanao does this.
- For the Evulz. Shanao's motive for his death spree.
- High-Pressure Blood. EVERY SINGLE TIME Shanao swings his sword, this happens.
- Jitter Cam. The fight sequences are long, long stretches of this, albeit at high shutter speeds (which makes them a little less, well, jittery).
- Ninja. Shanao and his three cohorts dress in black, wear lacquered black facemasks, and kill everybody in the room. Many, many times.
- Off with His Head!. At least one character loses his, on-camera.
- Rain of Arrows. Fired by the security forces at Gojoe Bridge, although they're mainly used to illuminate the battleground.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni. Benkei and Tetsukichi.
- Reforged Blade. Onikirimaru.
- Screaming Birth. Asagiri, a woman Benkei lends aid to, has one of these.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill. The weapons cache that Benkei brings to the final fight. Completely justified, as every single weapon is trashed in the fight.
- Trashcan Bonfire. The homeless camp is like a Heian-era version of this.
- Violence Really Is the Answer. Benkei relinquishes his vows at the end and opens a 55-gallon drum of kickass on Shanao.