Just when you think Kyoshiro's life can't get any stranger, someone starts running around raping and murdering, and leaving notes proudly proclaiming that he did it. Tracking down the real ...
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Two devious retainers are competing to take control of a fief when the current Lord dies, but involving Kyoshiro in the conflict against his will is the textbook example of a bad idea - ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero involved when as an act of vengeance a band of samurai whose master was unceremoniously assassinated by agents of the clan, when he ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero talked into escorting a precious religious artifact to Kyoto, Japan. A sect of Christian swordsmen are lying in wait to steal the ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series finds the anti-hero in an area where the locals are oppressed, suppressed and held against their wills. Part of the coercive forces trace back to ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the quite reluctant hero refuse to come to the assistance of a Japanese Christian in an age of both proselytizing and persecution, but later ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the red-haired swordsman on his way to the city of Edo when he comes across the scene of a woman in the midst of a knife fight with a man. When... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series sees the orphan swordsman wander into a town and stumble upon the opportunity to conduct righteous deeds. With the smaller acts of kindness aside ... See full summary »
Nemuri Kyoshiro, a youthful and cynical ronin with unparalleled skill, is approached by both sides in a game of corruption, ambition, and double crosses. The leader of the Kaga clan, who ... See full summary »
Just when you think Kyoshiro's life can't get any stranger, someone starts running around raping and murdering, and leaving notes proudly proclaiming that he did it. Tracking down the real culprit willtake him along a twisted trail that involves the Shogun's harem, hidden christians, and positively pregnant politics.Written by
"What Kind of God Would Accept You in the Next Life?"
Castle Menagerie, number twelve in Daiei Studio's Kyoshiro Nemuri/Sleepy Eyes of Death/ Son of the Black Mass series is another good one. This entry has a more interesting plot than usual for the series. It is also a fitting series end for actor Ichikawa Raizo.
This one concerns the women in the Shogun's harem. Although all in the same bed so to speak, the women are very much dedicated to their clans. Two opposing groups have sprung up in the harem, each trying to catch favor by having one of their members produce the shogun's first (male) heir. The leader of one group is Nishiki Koji, a cunning, evil woman who ranks second in the series's line of villainess (only Princess Kiku from the fourth and seventh entries is nastier). The plot has more than just that strand. Christians are being persecuted. Ninjas are being sent to kill Kyoshiro Nemuri. There is the usual clan manipulation. Finally, and most intriguingly, there is another person calling himself Kyoshiro Nemuri running around killing men, raping women, and drawing attention to the real Nemuri. All of these plot threads tie together nicely by the end.
In addition, this twelfth entry features a few unusual, but effective, scenes. The oddest is when Nemuri is approached in his bed chambers by a group of masked dancers who want him to bring to life a mask by sleeping with the woman wearing it. In spite of the nightmarish quality, the scene is not a dream.
I also wanted to mention the finale. At the climax, Kyoshiro Nemuri finally faces off with the imposter. The duel is in a forest during autumn. The colors are bright and the swordplay is exceptional. After the duel is finished, Nemuri walks away through this forest in the process of dying for the season. It is a fitting last shot for Ichikawa Raizo's Kyoshiro Nemuri. Raizo died of cancer the year Castle Menagerie was released (1969).
Daiei Studio wanted to continue with the series, so Hiroki Matsukata was hired to replace Raizo for two more films. After that, the series was taken to television with different actors playing the role. However, that may be more Kyoshiro Nemuri than I want at the moment. I will watch the two Matsukata movies though. I am curious about Matsukata but also doubtful. Raizo owned the role of Kyoshiro Nemuri.
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