ICHI, not to be mistaken with Ichi the Killer or 1-Ichi, is a samurai action-drama. It is also an unrelated sequel or side story to the Zatoichi character and franchise. Franchise might be an understatement if you account for 26 feature films, 3 remakes, 1 unrelated sequel, 4 seasons of a TV series and a stage production. Zatoichi is definitely one of Japan’s most epic fictional characters — and Ichi leaves behind her own impression too.
“Ichi is a blind woman who roams about town with her shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese guitar), but she has exceptional sword skills with which she fights off yakuza and other villains.” (IMDb)
Despite the DVD/ Blu-ray trailer by Funimation which makes the film look 99% samurai-action, I felt it was more dramatic than action-oriented. But there is plenty of sword-fighting nonetheless. I also thought it had some adventure to it, by way of Ichi’s travels and personal journey. Overall, its a nice ‘way-of-the-samurai’ story and film which pays homage to the chambara genre.
Plot summary (spoiler)
Directed by: Fumihiko Sori
aparoo’s words: chambara, samurai, history, period, drama, action, adventure, sword-fighting
aparoo says 4/5