(2003)

Reviewed By-Paul Cooke
Director : Haraguchi Tomoo

Starring : Harada Ryuji , Ando Nozomi & Shimizu Kentaro
Source- Cannibal King Productions NTSC REG 0 (2-DVD SE)

Sliced from a similar cloth cut by Ogami Itto of ‘Lone Wolf And Cub’ fame comes the new generation Japanese character Kibakichi. A samurai version of Clint Eastwood’s ‘The Man With No Name’. Nomadic in his venture to seek out goodness amongst man as he ventures forth from the realm of the Yokai. Raised on raw meat rations and with an affinity with the full moon as well as a blistering skill with the sword. Kibakichi is a nifty slice and dice master of the blade as well as with well honed claws as his Yokai persona is that of a werewolf !. Mess with this guy and he’ll cough up more than a fur ball as carnivorous teeth are as razor sharp and lethal as the blade he wields.

 

The Yokai are monsters that once co-existed alongside man before the true beast of the human form waged war against their kind. Diminished in numbers and outcast to the farthest recesses the Yokai take on human form to avoid detection and unrelentant discrimination , in order to survive. Kibakichi witnesses the slaughter of his own Yokai breed at the hands of the humans he placed trust in , but he is not the only survivor !. The attractive femme fatale Anju also watches in horror as the slaughter takes place , but the anger that burns within her is focused upon Kibakichi and his misplaced faith. Their destinies are forever forged and their paths are destined to cross along the pathway to self awareness , as each must survive in the far reaching regions ruled by man. Both search for inner peace but Anju’s shall only come with the death of Kibakichi by her own hand.

 

Kibakichi’s skill with the sword is displayed from the outset as he is beset by a small band of bandits lurking in the shallow reeds beside a roadway that Kibakichi is travelling. The mushroom hat wearing Kibakichi is draped in a patchwork poncho and has a hairstyle that would require a horse brush to comb , yet still he is perceived as an easy target for such thieves of the road. Their transgression against this incarnation of a ‘Lone Wolf !’ is a fatal one as once they attack Kibakichi has no choice but to retaliate. His body and blade move in symbiotic conjunction , a unison of unmatchable skill that leaves a bloody dressage of sliced bodies across the surrounding foliage. The swishing hiss of severed throat sprays out its bloody mist , eviscerated like an emergent Phoenix in the bathe of daylight sun.

The road leads Kibakichi to a ghostly village that greets him with an emergence of some freaky looking turtle back creatures that look like the genetic cast offs rejected from the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’ movie cast call !. Appearing like foreboding messengers to offer up words of head to the lone warrior. The town is a magnate to humans who seek to gamble their nights away with ill gotten gains , oblivious to the Yokai snare that lies within the dimly lit shanties. Run by town head Onizo , but behind his seemingly despicable operation is a human hand of tyranny. The Yokai seek only to be left alone but once again the greed of human nature seizes upon the opportunity to oppress them , even going so far as to use them to kill those that challenge the status of local human supremacy.

 

Kibakichi checks in at motel monster for a night of revelation that introduces all manner of hybrid Yokai , the most incredible of which has to be the emergence of the steel clawed spider woman. Spitting a web that adheres to its intended victim to immobilise instantaneously , this multi legged , multi eyed female arachnid ferociously moves in for the kill in an amazing display of terrorising transformation. The town is given its autonomy for the price of flesh and the stench is washed away with the morning cleanse of a fresh new day. Kibakichi survives the night to sign out the guest book and learns of the town Yokai’s plight. His presence however does not go unnoticed by the governing human hood not to mention his nemesis Anju.

Kibakichi is attacked by Anju who arrives with clear intent as her incredible weapon of a large bladed boomerang whistles by Kibakichi’s head before returning to her , readying herself to square off against the man she once called friend. Kibakichi must leave the town in order to not draw attention to himself and keep Anju at arms length. His departure coincides with the arrival of a quartet of hired professional killers to bring Onizo to heal in an intent full show of destruction and death. The imagery of four harbingers of hell dressed in ankle length black mock leather gear with matching gloves and nifty long barrelled anachronistic guns is pretty slick. Taking point before them are a band of henchmen pushing a huge rotating machine gun on wheels , spewing out bullets by the multi barrel load. Their purposeful surge through the town leaves a swathe of bodies cut down by the might of both the super weapon and the vindictive acts of the men in black. There’s plenty of blood on display and the encounter between human and Yokai hit’s the Action button right on , but the full on hit comes when Kibakichi charges back into town. His sword carves its way through the perpetrators as limbs fly and heads roll , but nothing comes close to his eagerly anticipated transformation into werewolf guise for the maximum carnage charge. Introduce a one eyed evil Yokai to square up to the un-caged fur fanged fuzz ball and its king of the monsters showdown time !. Picture Neo going head to head with Agent Smith ‘Matrix’ fashion , but in oversized Halloween costumes with more bite than a Neo Geo mega home play game cartridge.

 

The finale pays off big time and is just what an Action craving audience can anticipate. Its fast and furious fun to cap off a wonderfully stylish and great looking movie that delivers all the grit of a spaghetti western with the violent grace of a samurai flick. Grab this fistful of fur and be prepared to saddle up with the sequel. There’s a new samurai in town and his name is Kibakichi.

Presentation : Wide Screen Ratio Approx 1:66:1
Sound : Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0
Language : Japanese
Extras : English Language Subtitles / Trailers / Behind The Scenes / Making Of.

Film: 4.0 High Fives
Picture: 4.0 High Fives
Sound: 3.5 High Fives
Extras: 3.0 High Fives
Overall: 3.5 High Fives

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