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ICHI (2008)


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  Ichi (市) is a goze (blind woman) who travels to Japan in search of his mentor, who is actually Zatoichi.   She befriends a traveling samurai Toma Fujihira, who tells her that he rescued her from bandits (in fact, it was Ichi who saved them both by killing the bandits). They go to a town run by Shirakawa, a Yakuza family that is being thwarted by Banki-to, a group of mercenaries. This group is led by Banki, a villain who is good at fencing but has a deformed face. Ichi befriends Kotaro, a boy who lives with his drunken father.   After Ichi helps Toma win money from Chō-han, they are followed by five Bankito, who ask for Toma's money. After Toma refused, he was challenged to a fight but he was unable to draw his sword. Ichi kills the gang. The son of the Shirakawa leader, Toraji, arrives after the battle and assumes that it was Toma who killed the men and made Toma his personal bodyguard. Ichi is persuaded by Kotaro and his father to stay in the hope of being passed by the famous blind swordsman, Zatoichi. Toma admits that despite his fighting skills, he was unable to draw his sword because of guilt for blinding his mother in an accident.   Bankito plans revenge. They killed the head of Shirakawa. Toma was unable to protect anyone and lost consciousness. Ichi admits that she had killed the men before, and after showing off her skills, Bankito's second commander is convinced and takes her up the mountain to meet their leader, Banki. After she killed two Bankito who doubted her skills, Banki attacked and defeated her. When Ichi lies injured, Banki says he met her mentor. The two had fought, but Zatoichi would die in the battle of a rapidly torturing illness. She was thrown into a locked ditch and left to death. When she lost consciousness, Ichi dropped the bell given to her by Zatoichi.   Then we watch Ichi's story story. She was born blind. When she was still a young girl, Zatoichi saved her and left her to a group of food lovers, giving Ichi a small bell in his memory. Zatoichi visited her when she was growing up and secretly taught her the fighting techniques that Zatoichi had mastered. Ichi grew up to be a beautiful and talented woman in music, as well as a great fencing fighter. After a performance by the goze group, she was raped by one of the patrons. Goze was forbidden from marrying and required to be single, so she was kicked out of the goze family afterwards, even though it broke the other members' hearts. She begged the man who raped her to talk to the goze leader so she could return to the group, but instead he mocked her and tried to attack her again. She was able to pull out the sword she hid in her cane and kill him. Ichi then travels to Japan in search of Zatoichi, whom she believes is her father, and this is how she meets Toma.   Toma is attacked by members of the Yakuza clan for his deception, but Toraji rebukes the attackers, saying they still need Toma's help to defeat Bankito. Toma accompanies Kotaro's reformed father to Bankito's hideout and saves Ichi. Banki vows revenge. While recovering, Ichi explains that she was looking for Zatoichi because she wanted to see him one last time before she committed suicide. Toma can convince her to give up the idea. Later, while she was sleeping to heal her injuries, Toma left her to help Shirakawa fight Bankito. When Ichi wakes up, Kotaro tells her about the war going on in town.   Bankito was 2 to 1 more than Shirakawa. However, Toma still couldn't draw his sword. But when Banki asks Toma to step in and fight him, Toma is ready. He overcame his inferiority complex and was able to draw his sword. The two fight and Toma shows everyone that he is truly a skilled swordsman. Toma deals a fatal blow to Banki, but Banki also deals him with a fatal wound. Toma dies in Ichi's arms and tells her not to lose hope. After Toma's death, Banki tries to attack Ichi but she was able to defeat him and eventually kills the clan leader, whose terrible scarred face is revealed. Fearing for their own lives, some of the remaining members of Bankito fled.   Later, we see Toraji rebuilding his town and taking on the leadership of his Yakuza clan. Ichi plays Toma's favorite song for the last time, and is seen at his grave with Kotaro. Intending to bring Toma's katana to his mother's grave, she bids farewell to her friend Kotaro and gives him a small bell as a souvenir (the same gift Zatoichi gave her when she was a child). She says Kotaro was right, that she needs light for her journey, and then sets off.  


  Haruka Ayase as Ichi   Shido Nakamura as Banki   Yosuke Kubozuka as Toraji Shirakawa   Takao Osawa as Toma Fujihira   Tetta Sugimoto as Zatoichi   Megumi Yokoyama as Toma's mother   Eri Watanabe as Ohama   Mitsuki Koga as Jakou   Ryousuke Shima as Kotaro   Yukina Kashiwa as Ichi, as a girl  


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