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Film / Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance

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Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance is a 1974 film from Japan, directed by Toshiya Fujita, starring Meiko Kaji as Lady Snowblood. As the "2" in the title indicates, it is a sequel to the 1973 film Lady Snowblood.

In this one Yuki, aka Lady Snowblood, is apparently Walking the Earth after having completed her Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the first film. She is however a wanted criminal, being stalked by hordes of police and bounty hunters seeking to capture her. The film opens with her fighting off one police squad, and then later fighting off a second one, but eventually she basically gives up and allows yet another squad to bring her in. Lady Snowblood is convicted of 37 murders and is being led off to her execution when she is liberated by a raid of masked commandos. She is brought to Kikui, the head of the Japanese secret police. Kikui is willing to let Lady Snowblood off the hook, providing she carry out a mission. Lady Snowblood is to infiltrate the house of Ransui, a known leftist, while posing as a maid. Ransui opposes the militaristic, aggressive foreign policy of Japan that is in the ascendance following victory in the Russo-Japanese War. Lady Snowblood's mission is to retrieve a document in the hands of Ransui that could embarrass the Japanese government.

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Lady Snowblood succeeds in infiltrating Ransui's household. However, she soon comes to admire her gentle boss, and supports him in his battle against the government—one that will come to a bloody end.


Tropes:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: It is revealed that Shusuke hates his brother Ransui because, back when Shusuke was fighting in the Japanese army in Manchuria, Aya abandoned him for Ransui.
  • Action Prologue: The movie opens with Lady Snowblood visiting the graves of her parents, only for her to be immediately jumped by a bunch of police, kicking off a fight sequence.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Shusuke doesn't appear to actually be a trained doctor, but he has enough medical knowledge to run his own back-alley clinic.
  • Bear Trap: Lady Snowblood steps into one. She first bonds with Shusuke when he, a random passer-by, sets her free.
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  • Contrived Coincidence: When a badly injured Lady Snowblood comes stumbing into the slums for help, whose Back-Alley Doctor clinic does she wind up at? That of Shusuke, the man who helped her out of a bear trap early in the film. And who is Shusuke? Ransui's brother, that's who.
    Shusuke: Fate is mysterious, eh?
  • Eye Scream: A revenge-seeking Aya stabs the police chief in the eye with a knitting needle. Then, at the end, Yuki stabs him in the other eye, blinding him.
  • Fanservice: That sex scene between Ransui and Aya, complete with Aya toplessness, wasn't really plot-relevant. It's even more notable in this film, as the original manga came with a heavy dose of softcore lesbian porn, which was cut from the first film.
  • Genre Shift: The first film was a very simple revenge flick. This one is more of a Spaghetti Western with a dose of political intrigue. The rapid political change in Japan during this era, which was a subplot of the first film, is now the main story.
  • Impairment Shot: A blurry POV shot as Yuki regains consciousness after Shusuke extracted the bullet from her shoulder.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: Used along with some of the photos and drawings that supplement the narration.
  • Kill It with Fire: Kikui and Maruyama are stuck with a problem in their own making when their injection of Ransui with the plague leads Yuki to blackmail them with the threat of releasing it, as Shusuke is suffering from it. They elect to burn up the incriminating document and any danger of the plague all at once by setting fire to the entire slum.
  • MacGuffin: The embarrassing documents that Ransui is determined to publish. We never find out what's in them.
  • Made of Iron: Yuki, just like in the first movie. In this one she is shot three times by Kikui during the climactic fight, but keeps on coming.
  • Mercy Kill: Shusuke, horribly wounded in the final fight, asks Yuki to finish him off. She does.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite the title, the movie isn't really about vengeance. Instead it's a heavily-plotted political tale about the evil militarists assuming power in Japan in that era, and the left-wing resistance.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: If the title weren't odd enough, it's a misnomer, as the film isn't about a quest for vengeance.
  • Out of Focus: Lady Snowblood becomes almost a supporting character in her own movie, as the plot comes to focus on Ransui the political activist, Ransui's ne'er-do-well brother Shusuke, and the evil government spooks determined to destroy them.
  • The Plague: The authorities rather foolishly inoculate Ransui with plague before releasing him to his wife.
  • State Sec: Kikui's secret police. There's a rivalry between them and the regular police, and Inspector Maruyama, the regular police chief, wants to cut out the fuss and bring Lady Snowblood in.
  • Stock Footage: Some of the oldest you'll ever find. The narration includes a clip of a film taken from a Japanese victory parade after the Russo-Japanese war.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Yuki, laying on her sickbed, realizes that a spy is on Shusuke's roof. She picks up a scalpel and flings it upward. It manages to penetrate both the board in the roof, and the spy's hand.
  • Viking Funeral: Ransui and Aya are sent off together this way, justified in that Ransui died of plague.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Establishes that Lady Snowblood is being actively hunted by Japanese authorities.
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