Ninja Warfare in YAGYU BUGEICHO – Part 2

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Last time we set things up for the Yagyu’s apocalyptic assault on a impregnable fortress. Yagyu Bugeicho: Katame no Ninja is an all too rare shinobi WAR movie. Unleash the dogs…

Director Shoji Matsumura took familiar characters and stories, but added a lot of ninja and some amazing B&W photography to give the material poignance in the 60's craze.
Gorgeous photography here. Fights abound here, but one-on-one duels are set aside as...
...every viable shadow-skilled swordsman of the Yagyu clan is assembled for an impossible mission.
The force's numbers are represented by the growing collection of 'gasa' travelling hats in the family chambers. These will continue to be an important symbol throughout the film.
The basket hats are eventually shed for battle gear, and left behind by men who know full well they probably won't need them again.

This is the kind of war movie that sets up a battle even the non-military erudite can look at and tell how completely fucked one side is. The key to breaching the fortress walls is throwing enough bodies against them to hopefully get lucky...

The Yagyu are charged with retrieving a stolen shipment of repeating rifles, an arsenal that would be an absolute political game changer. Those rifles, however, end up turned on them as they attack an already formidable keep.

Dozens of Yagyu are sacrificed as kamikaze-like human bombs before the walls are penetrated, and equally brutal close quarters combat begins.
The battlefield is left littered with dead ninja from both sides.
And in the end, the deserted 'gasa' of the fallen are their only graves.

Not exactly your feel-good action-comedy buddy pic here… Katame no Ninja is downright brutal in its human attrition. The tone is a far, far cry from the often jaunty tone of the series earlier entries. The Yagyu clan is absolutely decimated by film’s end, making one wonder if Konoe and crew were trying to end the series.

If you only see one Yagyu Bugeicho film, this should probably be it, if for nothing else than the rare military battle nature of it. Of course, all of them are recommendable (most with ninja, too), and the good news is, you can buy TEN different YB titles here!

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