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I s h i g a k i--- Y u m a
K u r i y a m a--- C h i a k i
DEATH OR LOVE
So this is the sequel of the blockbusting Azumi of 2004.
Despite its decidedly timeless unspeakable subtitle ('Death or Love', for all Japanese gods' sake!), it is strewn with more real-life persons from the history of Japan, in bold strokes compared with the hazy and hesitating mode of historical references that colored the previous flick.
And that was a better approach, the previous flick (click here if you haven't even seen it).
However, this movie is the greatest treat in your life if you long to see how the Japanese supermen of 1610 fought inexistent fights, allied with unlikely pals, and died incorrect deaths.
There is Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa clan and the first Shogun from that particular family since 1603, fathering a dynasty that wouldn't get out of power until 1868.
There is the most famous ninja in the Milky Way, Hattori Hanzo, without whom the Tokugawa shogunate might have never even been; he saved Ieyasu's life time and time again in real history.
There is the legendary Sanada clan of Ueda -- Masayuki and Yukimura, the stubbornest enemies of the Tokugawas, and the latter has been one of the 21st century videogamers' icons.
And even though there has never been an Azumi in real life, you got the eye candy Ueto Aya, so there should be nothing more that you crave.
The filmed events started to roll in 1610, I said.
That's an exact year.
I can say so now because Sanada Masayuki said so in the seventh minute of the movie: "It's been ten years since the Tokugawas dared me here".
Tokugawa Hidetada, the Shogun at the time, attacked the Sanada clan in 1600 when he was supposed to join his dad Ieyasu in the second-last battle of the churning 'Warring States Period' at the Seki plains (click here if you have no idea what I'm talking about). The Sanadas held on.
It was the real last battle of the era that finished the Sanadas off: the one at Osaka castle, in 1615, when Sanada Masayuki and Yukimura fought for the Imperial Chief Minister, Toyotomi Hideyori (click here for this), in his last stand against the Tokugawas.
In the first movie, Azumi has killed two real historical persons out of the three assigned to her: Lord Asano Nagamasa and Lord Kato Kiyomasa -- former Generals of Lord Chancellor Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The time of killings was not so clear, but it was definitely after the battle of Seki plains ('Sekigahara' in Japanese) because at that time Azumi's mentor was still leading some troops and hasn't yet adopted stray kids to be whipped up into effective killing machines (click here for the real thing).
Sanada Masayuki is her third and last target. According to the task-book of her mentor, that is; he couldn't have foreseen the audience's reaction to the initial movie, or else he would have supplied a list long enough to live in stardom by. The original Azumi, the ninja girl that lived within the strips of comics ('manga' in Japanese; click here for history, pictures, and so forth of this genre) launched by Koyama Yuu in 1994, can only sustain a few killings.
Anyway, click the names below for scenes that feature the probably most beautiful fictitious ninja ever, and the real-life historical personalities, although (or alternately because of) the latter are mostly put into situations that no historian has ever imagined before, unless he happened to have more beer than Ph.D-ness in his system.
|Reality Check The real Sanada clan of Ueda | The Tokugawa clan & shogunate, 1603 - 1868 | How, when & where the real Sanada Masayuki and his son Yukimura died, and what happened to Yukimura's older brother | The real Hattori Hanzo of the Koga ninja clan, plus when, where, and how he died | Status of ninjas in the Japanese society | What real ninja's jobs were in Azumi's times | How ninjas differ from samurai in their codes & beliefs | Where all the events in the movie are supposed to happen | Why the heck people fought against the Tokugawas so that Azumi had to kill them?|
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