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A terrible epidemic has killed the inhabitants of Shimoda village, but
when the Koga ninjas of the Mochizuki clan set out to investigate, all but
one - female ninja Kagero, the woman withthe kiss of death - are killed by
the demon Tessai, who's body is hard as rock and who's one of the 8 devils
of Kimon, and Kagero can only escape thanks to wandering Ninja Jubei ...
But Jubei soon has to realize that killing Tessai was not too good an
idea, since now the other devils of Kimon are after him, the ranks of
which include a woman whose tattoos come to life, a hunchback who houses a
swarm of deadly wasps in his body and a fighter who can virtually turn
into shadow ... and then there's of course the Devils' leader Lord Gemma,
whom Jubei thought to have killed 5 years ago but who somehow came back to
life - with a vengeance.
But as if that wasn't bad enough, Jubei is soon poisoned by Dakuan, an
old man who turns out to be a gouvernment spy, and who only promises to
give him the antidote after Jubei has helped him in his investigations in
what's been going on in Shimoda and keep the 8 Devils off his back. Soon
enough, Dakuan persuades Kagero to join them too, but at first there seems
to be little love between her and Jubei, despite the fact that they keep
saving each other's life.
Eventually, our trio of heroes find out that the inhabitants of Shimoda
haven't died from an epidemic but have been poisoned, so to scare
villagers of the neighbouring villages away ... but why ?
It turns out that Gemma and the 8 devils work for the Dark Shogun who
needs a certain shipment of gold to finance an attack on the Tokugawa
shogunate, and Shimoda just had the bad luck to be the village where the
gold was hidden ...
Eventually, Kagero learns that the only way to save Jubei from his
poisoning is her poisonous body making love to him, but when she offers
herself to him, he declines ... Soon after, she is slaughtered by Lord
Gemma, and only when she dies in Jubei's arms do they confess their love
to each other, and when they kiss, she gives him enough poison to fight
off the poison in his body ...
Meanwhile Gemma has the gold loaded onto a ship and seeing his mission
being successful, he kills his allies, the agents of the Dark Shogun, in
an effort to become Dark Shogun himself ... but Jubei and Dakuan have long
sneaked onto Gemma's boat and set it aflame so it starts sinking andd the
gold starts melting. On the sinking ship, amidst the flames, Jubei finally
faces Gemma, and while fighting him, he has to realize that Gemma is not
only tough to kill, he is immortal ... it is only when he pushes him into
the molten gold, which soon covers his whole body, and then pushes golden
Gemma into the water that Jubei has finally succeeded in defeating him ...
A violent martial arts/fantasy epic that, despite its convoluted and a
tad silly storyline, is just great: The script shows a great love for
bizarre characters, which are adequately brought to the screen, the action
is superbly animated, and the direction shows proes a great feel for
atmosphere while treating the more outrageous script ideas with the
necessary seriousness to make them work.