Ichi (2008 film)
|Directed by||Fumihiko Sori|
by Kan Shimozawa
|Music by||Lisa Gerrard|
|Running time||120 minutes|
She is befriended by a travelling samurai Toma Fujihira, who told her that he rescued her from bandits (in fact, it was Ichi who saved them both by killing them). They travel to a town run by the Shirakawa, a Yakuza family. They are plagued by the Banki-to, a group of mercenaries. This group is led by Banki, an evil man who is excellent in sword fighting but who has a deformed face. Ichi is befriended by Kotaro, a boy who lives with his drunkard father.
After helping Toma win money from Chō-han, they are followed by five Bankito who threaten to take their money. After Toma refuses, he was challenged to a fight but he is unable to draw his sword. Ichi slays the gang. The Shirakawa leader's son, Toraji, assumes that it was Toma who slew the men and makes him his personal bodyguard. Ichi is convinced by Kotaro and his father to stay in the hope of the famed blind swordmaster, Zatoichi, passing through. Toma confesses that although he has fighting skills he is unable to draw his sword because of guilt for blinding his mother in an accident.
The Bankito plan their revenge. They kill the head of the Shirakawa. Toma is unable to defend anyone and is left unconscious. Ichi admits that it was she who killed the earlier men and after displaying her skills, the second-in-command is convinced and takes her to the mountains to meet their leader, Banki. After she slayed two members who doubted her skills, Banki attacked her, injured her, and stated that he had met her father. She was thrown into a locked ditch and left to die. We then see Ichi's backstory. She was born blind. As an infant, Zatoichi rescued her and left her in the care of a group of goze, visiting her and secretly teaching her the fighting techniques Zatoichi had mastered. Ichi grew up to be a musically talented and beautiful woman. After one of her goze group's performances, she was raped by one of the patrons. Goze were strictly forbidden to marry and required to be celibate so she was later exiled, even if it broke the other members' hearts. She pleaded to the man who had raped her to talk to the leader of the goze so she can go back to the group, but instead he mocked her and tried to attack her again. She was able to draw the sword she kept hidden in her cane and killed him. Ichi then travelled Japan to look for Zatoichi, who she believed was her father, and this was where she met Toma.
Toma was attacked by the members of the Yakuza clan because of his deceit, but Toraji told him that they still need his help to defeat the Bankito. He went with Kotaro's reformed father to the Bankito hideout and was able to save Ichi. Banki swore revenge. While recovering, Ichi explained that she's searching for Zatoichi because she wanted to see him one last time before she commits suicide. Toma is able to convince her to give up the idea. Later, while she slept, Toma left her to go help the Shirakawa fight the Bankito. When Ichi woke up Kotaro told her about the fight that's going on in the town.
The Bankito outnumber the Shirakawa by 2 to 1. Still, Toma was unable to draw his sword. But when Banki demanded Toma to step forward and fight him, Toma was willing. He overcame his guilt and was able to draw his sword. The two men fight and Toma showed everyone that he is indeed an adept swordsman. Toma was able to give a fatal strike to Banki but Banki gave him a fatal strike in return as well. Toma dies in Ichi's arms and tells her not to lose hope. Banki tried to charge on Ichi but she was able to draw her sword again and finally killed the clan leader, whose horribly scarred face was later revealed. Fearing for their lives, the few remaining members if the Bankito fled.
Later we see Toraji rebuilding his town and assuming the leadership of his Yakuza clan. Ichi plays Toma's favorite song one last time, and is seen at his grave with Kotaro. Intending to bring Toma's katana to his mother's grave, she bid her friend Kotaro farewell and gave him a little bell as a keepsake (the same gift that Zatoichi had given her when she was young). She said that Kotaro was right all along, that she needed light for her journey, and then departs.
- Haruka Ayase (綾瀬はるか?) as Ichi (市?)
- Shido Nakamura (中村獅童?) as Banki (万鬼?)
- Yosuke Kubozuka (窪塚洋介?) as Toraji Shirakawa (白河組?)
- Takao Osawa (大沢たかお?) as Toma Fujihira (藤平十馬?)
- Tetta Sugimoto (杉本哲太?) as Blind man (盲目の男?)
- Megumi Yokoyama (横山めぐみ?) as Toma's mother (藤平十馬の母?)
- Eri Watanabe (渡辺えり?) as Ohama (お浜?)
- Ryousuke Shima (島綾佑?) as Kotaro (小太郎?)
- Yukina Kashiwa (柏幸奈?) as Ichi, as a girl (市（少女期）?)
- Jessica Sattell of Ibuki Magazine said "Beauty is found at every turn in this bewitching tale", while James Mudge of BeyondHollywood.com found the plot 'very basic and predictable'.
- Ichi at Funimation
- ICHI at Warner Bros. Japan
- Ichi at the Internet Movie Database
- Ichi at Rotten Tomatoes