Kick-ass pressbook stills of Sonny Chiba’s Jubei in MAKAI TENSHO

posted in: 1 - Film and TV | 3

There are plenty of versions of Makai Tensho (aka Samurai Resurrection, Samurai Reincanation, and more), but my absolute fave adaptation is the 1981 Kinji Fukusaku-directed Kadowkawa effects epic.

Spanning the decades and various actors, Jubei Yagyu has been portrayed as a heroic shinobi-skilled espionage overlord, a wandering secret agent on the lam, a vengeful son trying to take down his own corrupt clan, a beyond-villainous government pawn, and even a fully credible military leader and sword instructor. He’s saved shoguns and assassinated shoguns, hunted ninja and protected ninja. He’s been as multi-purpose as Billy the Kid.

Sonny Chiba played Jubei A LOT, with a wider variety of incarnations than probably any other actor, but in ’81 he took the character to new heights of surreal mysticism and outright EXTREMENESS!

Battling the wizard-ghost of the rebellious Christian samurai Amakusa Shiro and his squad of resurrected legends of the sword (including zombie Musashi!), Chiba takes the familiar black-clad tsuba-eye-patched swordsman motif he previously established on the big and small screens and adds completely amazing protective spell body art for a look so f’n devastating it will make your soul poop.

Do not watch this film with your girlfriend. Fertile women can become impregnated just by being in the same room as Chiba’s digitized awesomeness. I once fell asleep while this DVD was on in the background and when I woke up the next morning my house was a pile of kindling and I was somewhere in Kansas. You’ve been warned…

I’ll probably do a full write-up on this genre-bending flick in October for Monsters and Masks Month, until then, get in a ninja suit, wear a soul-diaper, and paint yourself up with a Sharpie  for protection against The Amazing Hellbound Graffiti Chiba…