Love and Honor (Bushi no Ichibun, literally "Warrior's Honor"), released in 2006, is the third film in Yoji Yamada's acclaimed Samurai Trilogy. All three films are based on the short stories of Shuhei Fujisawa.
It's somewhere in Japan during the Edo period and samurai Shinnojo Mimura risks his life for his lord daily - as a food taster. He and four colleagues are each served a portion of their lord's meal; if they don't drop dead, the food is considered safe. While not glamorous or fulfilling, this job pays roof and meals for Shinnojo, his wife Kayo and their old servant Tokuhei who live together happily, if not by modern values.
Shinnojo considers quitting, but before he can do so, one rainy day a meal is indeed poisoned. He falls into a coma, and when he wakes up again, he is blind.
The movie shows the desperate measures Kayo goes to in trying to secure them a living, how Shinnojo comes to terms with being an invalid, and how he manages to keep both love and honor. It has been described as a domestic drama, and it is, while still including one seppuku and one duel, as any self-respecting samurai flick should.
This movie provides examples of:
- Deliberate Values Dissonance - A lot. Especially how loveable hero Shinnojo throws his wife out of the house for, basically, being raped.
- Duel to the Death
- Five Stages of Grief - Shinnojo goes through four of them. First he tries to hide it, then he behaves like a tyrant in his own house and he wants to commit seppuku, then he trains once again for a last, sightless duel. He leaves out the perhaps most desperately undignified one, bargaining. Not that he makes anger look good.
- Friend to All Children - Shinnojo, perhaps owing to his own playful streak.
- Gory Discretion Shot - We don't get to see the seppuku. We just hear it and see the castle inhabitants' dread and grief.
- Happily Married - The Mimuras in the beginning and in the end again.
- Interesting Situation Duel - A blind person fighting without any magical compensation makes for a rather desperate interesting situation.
- The Lady's Favour
- Period Piece
- Politically Correct History - Shinnojo's idea of a kendo school for all castes and with a positive learning environment.
- Reasonable Authority Figure - The lord might not be all that verbose or cordial, but he does keep his injured retainer fed.
- Samurai - As human beings of all ages and personalities.
- Seppuku - The nice, old clerk who accidentally has poisonous shellfish served. The typical way these scenes are handled gets subverted: while the clerk is expectedly stoic and dignified, when they hear him groan, half the people in attendance start openly bawling.
- Vomit Discretion Shot - Used smoothly twice in a row.
- Yamato Nadeshiko - Kayo, the time and culture is correct.