Kamui Gaiden DVD Review

In 1964 Sanpei Shirato’s manga The Legend of Kamui began its 7 year run in Japan. The series would prove popular enough to produce a pair of spin off series, a 26 episode TV series and this 2009 movie. Long time manga readers will also recognize The Legend of Kamui as one of Viz’s first English translated manga. The film plays as an attempt to play to a larger audience while still giving the long time fans a film they can enjoy in the frame work of the series. Kamui was born in 17th century Japan to the lowest caste. He fled that existence and entered the world of the Shinobi only to discover that that world was as oppressive as the one he had escaped. In the world of the Shinobi it is unforgivable to try to leave that world and any attempt is met harshly as the rest of the group of Shinobi will dedicate themselves to hunting down and exterminating those who try. As a youth Kamui helped in such a hunt of the female ninja Sugaru who falls off a cliff while fighting with all her might for her life. Fourteen years later the scene has done a 180 and the hunted will be Kamui as he has grown to resent the life of a Shinobi. As the film flashes forward Kamui is shown confront a group that has come for him and demonstrates an amazing level of skill that allows him to dispatch his pursuers with what looks to be almost ease. This chase will have him in the same area as the Lord Gunbei Mizunoya who is hunting astride his prized horse Ichijiro. Kamui comes across a man (Hanbei) ambushing the horse as it is being washed and watches as Hanbei cuts off the horse’s right front leg which is pure white. On a whim Kamui follows Hanbei and helps save him from the Lord’s pursuers. In return the Hanbei allows Kamui on his small boat but as the weather turns severe Hanbei pushes Kamui into the ocean with only a board to cling to.

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