Once again our favourite blind swordfighter is sucked into a dangerous plot. He is asked by a man sentenced to death, to go to the two men that can clear his name. After that it becomes the first Zatoichi "buddy" flick, as he teams up with a comic relief conman. That's right, such formulas were being used over 40 years ago. The comedy is more broad in this outing but never overshadows the production. A few slight changes occur, such as Zatoichi's gambling not being focused around a dice game. This time it's archery and makes him an even more impressive character. It also shows Zatoichi's more reluctant side, as he debates whether to help the man or not. After 10 films even he has started to realise that he always gets involved in deadly situations. The final fight is great, because the villains also realise just how skilled Zatoichi is. Now they are resorting to spears and nets and ropes in an attempt to bring the man down. It's almost a very subtle postmodern Zatoichi film. It's still very predictable, from the narrative and pacing to the events that occur. These slight changes are enough to keep me involved for now. But there's still another 15 films in this series.