Second movie in the Yoji Yamada Samurai trilogy, the Hidden Blade, or Oni No Tsume, is more epic than the previous film, but also not quite as good. The main character, and storyline, is entertaining, but not as gripping as the deep characterisation of The Twilight Samurai. Having said that, Oni No Tsume has the added element of comedy; the scene’s where an Edo trainer is teaching the self-proclaimed “backwater” samurai how to use Western weopons, and run like Westerners, is hilariously funny. A look at Tokugawa Japan is contrasted with a glimpse at the things to come, and the movie shares many themes with the previous movie in the series; forbidden love, the samurai code, and the changiing times in which the characters live.
Where Twilight Samurai was a touching drama, Hidden Blade is more of an epic adventure; its loses some of the punch of the first, but is still very much worth seeing.