VN’s birthday look at AKAI KAGEBOSHI – Pt. 4

posted in: 1 - Film and TV | 5

When your hero is as spectacularly garbed as the titular lead is in Akai Kageboshi, you need everyone else he’s fighting to provide visual contrast. So in what is one of the most colorfully costumed ninja films of the 60’s, there are some downright dour grunts in the trenches.

JUSHIRO KONOE is another mega-star in the legend-crowded cast here, playing a conflicted Hattori Hanzo.
His men sport the finest in off-the-rack costume shop extras fare. the chunky dude on the right is my hero...
Alas, no one in Japan ever wanted to vary the mission gear in daytime scenes. That grey just isn't doing the job in these cane fields.
Or in the trees.
And the results speak for themselves.

Hanzo, in his unassuming grey, is actually the central pillar in all this colorful drama. Twenty years ago, he caught a female spy sneaking into the castle. Wrestling around, the two get so hot and bothered, they have to go at it right on the spot (and knowing how manly ninja are, the inevitable happens).

It leads to a life of loss and regret for him, single motherhood and revenge obsession for her, and a tormented young man raised without a father figure who thinks its normal to meet girls by sneaking into their rooms at night in a chain-mesh hood.

There are some excellent ninja-on-ninja fights throughout AK, and the battle in the cane fields is rather good. See a few scens for yourself in the trailer below:

5 Responses

  1. krainville

    Hard to define him in those black and white terms. All he does, and ever did, was his job. However that role puts him into direct conflict with the protagonists. I hesitate to say ‘hero’ because the motive here is revenge and a theft that will ultimately send Japan into civil chaos.

    Kone’s portrayal of Hanzo is certainly not villainous. If he could, he would have left the shadows and been the husband and father he couldn’t be. At film’s end, the ‘family’ is once again broken, but at least he’s seen to it that everyone lives…