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When The Last Sword Is Drawn (Mibugishiden) is the latest in a long line of Japanese samurai movies I’m making my way through. This one was released in 2003, and is directed by Yojiro Takita. It tells the story of two Shinsengumi samurai. One of them is Saito Hajime (Koichi Sato), who is a ruthless killer, the other Yoshimura Kanichiro (Kiichi Nakai), who appears as a country bumpkin. Its an epic story set in the very last days of the Tokugawa shogunate, and told in flashbacks from the winter of 1899. I won’t say much more about the plot, but it was fantastic; a real epic. Unlike Twilight Samurai and the Hidden Blade, which were both primarily about one character and that character’s microcosm, this movie is about relationships; between the two very superficially different samurai, between sons and fathers, and between families. The action scenes were great, the funny scenes funny, but I had some problems with the end (I won’t say any more, as it will spoil the ending). Nonetheless, a great movie!

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