Film / The Human Condition
Kaji, the "hero."

"Life and death...
Hope and despair...
Love and truth...
All torn to shreds by war."
- Trailer

Released in 6 acts over 3 entries, The Human Condition is considered Masaki Kobayashi's greatest work: an epic humanist tragedy, nearly 10 hours in length, set against World War II Japan. The production was directly adapted from a six-volume novel by Junpei Gomikawa, and also drew from Kobayashi's own experience as a pacifist attempting to survive in WWII Japan.

The film centers on Kaji (played by Tatsuya Nakadai), a smitten scholar with strong convictions in pacifism and socialism. The film presents Kaji attempting to retain his life and soul through various moral and ethical trials - all the while trying to get back to the woman he loves.

This film is notoriously painful to watch, due to its crushing theme and atmosphere. It is often considered, however, as the greatest singular piece of Japanese cinema ever created for its all-encompassing scope, its incredible ability to utterly dehumanize humanity and its incredible character development.note 

The Human condition has 3 entries:

  • The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
  • The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959)
  • The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961)

Tropes featured in the film:

  • Anti-Hero: Mostly of the type Knight in Sour Armor in Kaji near the end of the film.
  • Being Good Sucks: Kaji is often the only one willing to be altruistic, and hes has to fight an uphill battle trying to defend people's rights.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Even though Kaji risks himself to help others, nearly everyone else is willing to push him aside for a bag of rice.
  • The Idealist: Kaji, of the wide-eyed kind at the beginning.
  • Inherent in the System: Nearly everyone is self-serving - implying that in a crisis situation where civilization is collapsing the masses will do anything; morality no longer exists.