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Japan, 1874: 3 men & a woman have murdered Sayo's husband &
raped her for 3 straight days & nights, leaving only the thought for
revenge in her mind. & the first one, Tokoichi Shokei, she actually kills
herself, but for that murder she gets a lifelong prison-sentence, & the
only way to exact her revenge now is to conceive a child who will take over
where the mother left off - Yuki (Maiko Kaji), whose birth the mother will only
survive long enough to get a faint glimpse at her ...
20 years later: Trained
by martial arts master reverend Dokai, Yuki has become a master killer, &
with the help of Matsuemon, the leader of the beggars clan she soon finds the
second of the men who raped her mother, Banzo Takemura. He proves not to be a
snarling villain though but a hopeless gambler & alcoholic, whose
good-natured daughter Kobue - unbeknowest to him - has to sell her body to
finance his hobbies. & as if that wasn't enough, Banzo also tries to cheat
at gambling, & Yuki actually has to save him from being killed by a
gambling house owner for cheating ... only to have the opportunity to bloodily
exact her revenge of course.
Next on the list is Gishiro Tsukamoto, who has
brought it to fame & riches as a drugdealer ... but he died 3 years ago. At
his grave though Yuki stumbles over journalist Ashio Ryurei, who is so
intrigued by her story that he publishes it as a book ... but since Yuki didn't
give him any information, how does he know everything ? Turns out reverend
Dokai has told him everything as a bait to lure the last person on Yuki's list
out into the open, Okono Kitahama.
& Okono, professional criminal in her
own right, wastes no time bribing a few cops to arrest Ashio Ryurei as a bait
When Yuki finally arrives on the scene to save Ashio, it remains
unclear who went into whose trap, but in a long & violent fight, in which
Okono uses not only her sword but also guns, Yuki can kill Okono & her
henchmen, & now she & Ashio can look into a brighter future together.
well that ends well ?
Negative, as all of a sudden Gishiro Tsukamoto turns up
very much alive at Ashio's place to warn him to stay out of the whole affair
... because, as we learn now, Gishiro is Ashio's father. But as Ashio despises
his father for the scum he is, he tells everything to Yuki.
The 2 soon show
up at a masque Gishiro holds at his estate - he is by now an international arms
dealer with connections to international diplomacy - & in a backroom they fight it
out with him & kill him ... only their victim wasn't really him but one of
his henchmen disguised as him ...
The final fight takes place right in front
of the eyes of all the guests, & Gishiro shows no hesitations in trying to
kill his own son in the proceedings. In the end though Gishiro is killed by a
sword thrown by Yuki that runs through both father and son, effectively killing
With the greatest of efforts, Yuki leaves the party, when she
suddenly is stabbed down by Kobue, who thanks to Ashio's book found out who has
killed her father, & now is out for a spot of vengeance on her own ...
shot revenge picture with massive swordsplay, with its colourful & almost
lyrical direction often being in harsh contrast to the very bloody
on-screen-goings-on - which actually works for the movie though, as it, paired
with its very bleak & cynical take on the vendetta-motive, sets it rather
apart from the usual vendetta-fodder.