I liked this a little more than "Twilight Samurai" because it had some humor ... and Takako Matsu ... but it's almost the same movie and felt very formulaic. "Oh humble me, the clan has asked me to kill my best friend because although having proven my virtue and humility with massive character development, secretly I'm a badass." I did like the historical commentary about encroaching western influence but not the wrap up with another honorable manly samurai speechfest and boring sword fight.
During the time of change of the mid-19th Century, Yaichiro is bid farewell by his fellow samurai friends Munezo and Samon as he leaves their clan's fiefdom on the northwest coast of Japan (Unasaka) to take an important position within the shogunate in far away Edo. Munezo has lived modestly with his mother and sister Shino after his father was forced into suicide after the failure of a bridge project. Kie, a farm girl serves them as a maid in their house. As time passes, Munezo's sister marries Samon, his mother dies, Kie is married into a merchant family, and he is required to learn western methods of warfare such as the use of artillery and firearms from an official sent from Edo. Learning that Kie is ill due to abuse, he rescues her from her husband's family. Although sharing mutual affection and respect, a marriage between Munezo and Kie is still impossible due to different castes, and when he...