13 assassins : Considered as the greatest samurai movie of the 21st century .
A samurai’s skill and patience, combined with wit and cunning, led him to choose his perfect team of assassins to attempt the assassination. The team—13 in total—was composed of a samurai, an assassin, a hunter and 11 other laborer-type people including beggars, peasants and the like. Together they drew straws to determine their roles for the assassination mission. In this article we will learn about what skills these 13 assassins would need to achieve their goals as well as what made Shinzaemon choose them for the job. This is also going to be looking at how well each of them did when it came down to trying out for the assassination attempt.
What is the plot of the story ?
The story starts with Shinzaemon, a samurai, drawing 11 assassins and hunters (the best of the hunting experts) to assassinate the evil and corrupt lord, Matsudaira Naritsugu. He said he would pay a large amount of money for one successful hit. Shinzaemon chose men who were skilled in different waza (or ways). These included an assassin with a sword for close combat, an archer to attack from a distance, an assassin with daggers for melee attacks, two bowmen to attack from a distance, three hunters with rifles or crossbows to attack from a distance and two more hunters with bows to take down the lord if something went wrong.
Who is in the cast ? What role did each character portray ?
The cast include Koji Yakusho , Takayuki Yamada , Yusuke Yamamoto , Minoru Chiaki , Higashiyama Takeshi , Tomokazu Miura , Itsuro Watanabe , Takumi Saitoh and Masahiro Nakai . Koji Yakusho portrayed the role of Shinzaemon, the samurai. He was a skilled swordsman and also a respected artist. He had served as a retainer to the lord before he committed seppuku (honorable suicide by disembowelment). Takayuki Yamada portrayed the role of Choyu, an experienced assassin and member of the team of assassins. He had his name changed to “Choyu” because he believed it was more appropriate for an assassin than his real name “Cho” which was short for Chojun Miyagi (Japanese name Chojun Miyagi).
What are the difficulties they face ?
There were three difficulties for the assassins: The lord was protected by about 50 soldiers, The castle was guarded by an unknown number of soldiers . andThe lord seemed to be very powerful, having obtained special powers from Onyudo-no-Toko (a priest). The assassins had to be trained in different ways, as sandanme (the first three ranks of techniques in the Yagyû Shinkage-ryû of swordsmanship) would not work. This meant they had to be selected carefully.
Who is the antagonist ? What are its motives ?
The castle had a kind of master key which would open the gates on its own, but only for a short time. The lord’s plan was to use this key as bait for the assassins. This way, he would be able to kill many of his enemies and create fear among them at the same time. The lord also had some guards who also were stationed in secret places where they could ambush people. These were going to be used by Matsudaira Naritsugu himself, so he could protect himself from other people while he was trying out his special powers (Onyudo-no-Toko).
What are the epic scenes ?
When the time for the assassination came, Shinzaemon went to Matsudaira Naritsugu’s house along with his team of 11. He was able to sneak in without anyone noticing him. There were so many people there that even if he tried to slip in unnoticed, he would have been noticed by some of them before long. This made him decide on a different strategy. He waited until everyone had left, even the lord’s guards who worked for him, and closed the door behind them. Then he cut open all the hinges except one which was facing the outside (on purpose).
Who is the most loved character ?
The most loved characters were the hunter-archers who attacked from a distance and the two bowmen who targeted the lord, because each of them was excellent in their own way. The archers could shoot from a distance, while the bowmen could shoot from a closer range. Also, their shots were more accurate than those of other people, so they were able to hit the target more often. Their final task was to take down the lord with bows if all other efforts had been exhausted.
Would you recommend watching this ?
If you are interested in the subject and want to learn more, I would say that this film is a good place to start. There are better films about the legend, but this one is still very interesting with all its villains and heroes. I would also recommend this film for anyone who likes old samurai movies (especially from the Showa period). Thanks for reading !
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