“Blade of the Immortal” is touted as director Takashi Miike 100th film. He apparently became famous in Japan’s direct to video market during the 1990s. Before watching the trailer of the film I was not familiar with the director, but the trailer was so captivating, that I knew that this was going to be the film that I was going to review for the class. Admittedly, I knew that it would probably not be a great film to show in the class room, but I couldn’t help myself.
The film follows Manji, a samurai who is infested with magic blood worms as he laid dying and is cursed with immortality. Years later, we meet a young girl named Rin whose parents are brutally murdered by a disgruntled swordsman looking to avenge his grandfather’s dishonor. Rin is told to seek out Manji to help avenge her parents and he reluctantly agrees because she reminds him of his own murdered sister (there is a lot of murder in this film).
Aside from the violence, this is a gorgeous film. It takes place during an unspecified time in Japan’s feudal period, but it is hard to pinpoint the exact time period in which it takes place. If someone is completely unfamiliar with Japan, this would not be a good film to use to introduce the culture. It is important to consider that this film is an adaptation of a Manga by the same name so reality and takes a back seat to fantasy and beautifully choreographed fight scenes.
History aside, this film could have a place in a film class. It is an excellent example of contemporary East Asian film. Released in November of 2017, it was screened in select theaters and made widely available on demand. It is a great remedy for those who have grown tired of the same types of movies being released here in the U.S.