Miyamoto Musashi has something of a problem.
Hes traveled, studied, suffered, and strove, beyond all limits, to become the greatest samurai. The summit is within reach. His only match in Japan, Sasaki Kojiro, has challenged him to a duel. On a more worldly level, theres a strong possibility of royal favor.
Except Musashi doesnt want it, any of it. Its the problem common to Arrogant Kung Fu People who manage the step to Martial Pacifist. All the things that appealed the Glory Seeker marching out of their home village become tasteless if the seeker perceives the spiritual dimension.
Postponing the duel for a year, Musashi retreats to an isolated village to work the land. His personal Arcadia isn't to be, however. Otsu and Akemi both show up there, forcing a conclusion to the Love Triangle thats pursued him all these years. The village is tormented by bandits, who increasingly encircle it. And if he manages to get past all that, the lovers and the bandits and his own doubts, beyond it all, waits Kojiro.
This film contains examples of:
- Ax-Crazy: Akemi, near the end. She betrays the farming village to bandits, and tries to murder Otsu with her bare hands.
- Call to Agriculture: Musashi, in true Martial Pacifist fashion, retires from sword fighting to till a plot of land.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Akemi and Kotogoro.
- Defiled Forever: Akemi's evaluation of herself, to the point where she doesn't disguise herself as a man while traveling through the plain. She also trots out the "I don't mind anything" line from Samurai II.
- Due to the Dead: Several of Obana's students die at Kojiro's hand, having challenged him for insulting their teacher. The good master denies any relation to them because his students don't fail. Musashi silently takes the bodies away for burial. A couple shamefaced disciples follow and ask to take the bodies. He refuses; it would insult the dead.
- Go Out with a Smile: Kojiro dies smiling after his duel with Musashi, satisfied after having finally faced a Worthy Opponent.
- Hysterical Woman: Otsu melodramatically runs off to drown herself after Musashi rejects her. He stops her.
- Improbable Chopsticks Skill: When some thugs are picking fights and they head to where Musashi is sitting, they see him literally picking flies from the air. They stop, watch, then don't bother him, figuring he is probably skilled enough to take all of them on.
- Large Ham: Kumagoro The Horse Thief helpfully informs us that he's a real tough guy, and I mean tough. You almost expect him to brag that he had a bowl of nails for breakfast that morning, without any milk.
- Manly Tears: Musashi weeps over Kojiro's body after the final duel.Musashi: He was the greatest swordsman I will ever know.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Akemi decides to murder Otsu, rather than have her as a rival for Musashi's affections.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Youll go looking for Musashi? Go, then. If you see him, remind him that he is to duel with Kojiro Sasaki. He must not lose his life before then!
- Plot Hole: How does Kojiro know that Musashi is plowing Hoten field in Shimosa? How does anyone? How does everyone?
- Redemption Equals Death: Akemi stabs a bandit who grabs Otsu, and is killed by said bandit an instant later. However, Akemi is so incoherently written, it may have just been her dying for ax-crazily trying to kill anyone who irks her.
- Signature Move: "The Swallow-Turn!"
- Tender Tears: Otsu, forever. Half of her screentime is spent wailing over Musashi.
- Third-Person Person: Kojiro, occasionally.
- Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: Soo Matahachi. Alive? Dead? Does anyone care?
- Wimp Fight: Akemi, trying to murder an unarmed and completely frozen-up Otsu, manages to lose her balance and send them both to the ground, accidently knocking over a lantern and burning the barn down.
- Kumagoro gets into one with a Mook, and loses. Only to be avenged by a small teenager.
- Worthy Opponent: Kojiro declares Musashi his only match in Japan. Musashis view of Kojiro is no different.