REVIEW: AZUMI 2: DEATH OR LOVE

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CAST

Aya Ueto (Oshin)
Yuma Ishigaki (Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie)
Shun Oguri (Gokusen)
Yoshio Harada (9 Souls)
Kenichi Endō (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
Mikijirō Hira (13 Assassins)
Chiaki Kuriyama (MPD Psycho)
Reiko Takashima (Ooku)
Tak Sakaguchi (Deadball)
Shigeru Kōyama (Beyond Outrage)

American-Dad-Season-9-Episode-2-Poltergasm-7Azumi and her only remaining colleague Nagara find themselves hunted by ninjas hired by General Kanbei for the assassinations they have carried out. One of which is the killing of his master. They hid temporarily in a temple so Nagara can heal his wounds sustained from their recent encounter. Azumi comes across some bandits led by Ginkaku, a young bandit who bears a striking resemblance to Azumi’s former friend (and love interest) Nachi. Later, Azumi and Nagara are found by the allied ninjas working for the priest Tenkai, upon whose orders the assassins initially began their mission. After discussing it with Tenkai, Azumi and Nagara leave to seek out their final target, Sanada Masayuki. On their mission they are accompanied by a squad of government ninja, among them a young woman named Kozue.angel505Meanwhile, Kanbei Inoue assembles a large force of mercenary soldiers, ninja and bandits to try to avenge the death of his master Kiyomasa Kato. Amongst them are Ginkaku and his brother, Kinkaku. Azumi and the others then return to Ginkaku’s village, where they are looked upon with distaste for their occupation. Azumi is torn by her attachment to Ginkaku, but on Nagara’s urging they separate paths.images8AZB9924While travelling, Kozue convinces Nagara that Azumi no longer wishes to fulfill her mission and should be talked out of it. Nagara tells Azumi he is fed up and wants to start a new life with Kozue, and that Azumi should go and live with Ginkaku, and they part ways. Azumi, still intent on carrying out the mission, attempts to locate Masayuki in his mountain temple, only to discover he has left with his army to kill Gessai. He and his entourage have departed for safety, but are soon tracked down by the brutal giant Roppa (a character similar to the Ninja Scroll character Tessai), a member of the dangerous Uenokagashu ninja clan working for Masayuki. Most of Gessai’s guards are killed until Azumi arrives, as do Ginkaku and his brethren who had been following her. Roppa is killed (by his own weapon), as are Kinkaku, several of Ginkaku’s band and most of Kasumi’s ninja squad.maxresdefaultMeanwhile, once Nagara and Kozue are alone, Kozue reveals herself to be a spy for the Uenokagashu clan and kills Nagara. Coming across Azumi later, she tells her that she and Nagara were separated, but when she attempts to kill Gessai, they fight and Kozue is killed by Azumi. Azumi then states she will go after Masayuki alone. Soon she comes upon the enemy ninja named Tsuchigumo, whose weapon are razor-sharp poisoned wires. Azumi manages to cause his wires to rebound back at him and he is sliced apart, but Azumi is cut and falls into a paralytic sleep. Sanada’s concubine and the true leader of Uenokagashu ninja clan, Kunio, steps out of hiding to tell Azumi she feels that Azumi, who has killed so many, knows nothing of life. With the poison incapacitating Azumi, it soon came to a finishing blow, but Ginkaku appears, taking the fatal thrust and in the process mortally injuring Kunio. Ginkaku managed to dampen the poison’s effect upon Azumi, shortly before dying. Kunio makes her way back to her camp, only to die in Sanada’s arms.xKHdiShortly after this, Azumi appears on a hill in the distance. Fighting her way through many of Sanada’s troops, she is met by the man she intends to kill. Sanada’s son Yukimura and Gessai both arrive at the same time, both wanting Sanada to retreat, but Sanada is eager to kill Azumi by himself. He decides to challenge her to a duel and he tells Kanbei to leave. At the acceptance of these terms, the last member of Ginkaku’s band is killed, as he declares the decision is unjust. Sanada states that regardless of the result of the duel, they will no longer bother the Tokugawa shogunate ever again. Azumi, questioning whether she had ever been following a path of her own or if she and her friends had always been being used, accepts the duel. Azumi slays Sanada in their duel. Out of respect for his father, Yukimura tells their forces to allow Azumi to leave unmolested, and talks Kanbei out of avenging his master. Upon confirming from Tenkai that the war is over and her mission has concluded, Azumi silently departs the battlefield, ignoring Kanbei when he inquires where she’s going.1409277215_azumi-2-smert-ili-lyubov-02This Sequel  is more poetic, and story driven. There’s sadness to the whole story, and makes you wonder how Azumi’s life will be like in the future. Ironically, director Shunsuke Kaneko who was a big fan of Kill Bill Vol 1 hired actress Chiaki Kuriyama who played Go Go in Kill Bill to play the role of Kozue on this film. Aya Ueto is more mature and pretty as ever. It is a bitter sweet saga that begs for more.

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