"Beware. I never know what I'll cut down. I cannot see."
Fans of Samurai flicks will be more than familiar with Zatoichi, the legendary blind swordsman portrayed in over 30 films & several TV series. Ichi (not to be confused with Takashi Miike's sadistic 'Ichi The Killer') is his female student, who is searching for her master - but like her predecessor, it isn't long before she's up to her armpits in blokes waving sharp impliments at her.
When cowardly samurai Toma (Takao Osawa, star of 'Aragami') defends her against the local lowlifes, it is Ichi who ends up having to save HIM. But the local tonwsfolk assume Toma must have killed them all single-handed, he is hailed as a hero & expected to finish off the rest of the bandit gang.
The films' pace is slightly too leisurely in places, as the numerous supporting characters are fleshed out. Yet conversely, it features some incredible action scenes & beautiful cinematography. Haruka Ayase was apparently a controversial casting choice but in my view, is perfect for the role - Ichi is a violent force of nature in the style of 'Lone Wolf' Oogami Itto, with the detached serenity of a Buddha statue, which Ayase combines with an understated vulnerability. This gives an interesting new dimension for the Zatoichi franchise to explore - and let's face it, it needs one, having been flogged to death over the decades. I look forward to the sequels.