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Kibakichi (JAPAN 2003)

Director : Tomo-O Haraguchi
Cast : Ryuji Harada, Miki Tanaka, Mubu Nakayama and Masara Ibu

A lone samurai walks the countryside. His name is Kibakichi and his mouth hides sharp fangs. When he reaches a desolate village he fins a geisha who turn into giant carnivorous spiders and man-eating demons disguised as humans. Their hunt for human flesh was in fact a contract with the town crime boss. What is the boss’s plan? When the secret is revealed, Kibakichi goes into a rage and his body starts to mutate. Limbs will fly and head will roll in a final showdown between good and evil.

by Edward Tang

“Kibakichi” is an interesting film, because on paper it looks really stupid. A werewolf defends a town of monsters against humans. Don’t you think that would be the other way around? Never mind that question, let us get into the film. After watching “Samurai Resurrection” which came out the same year as this, I didn’t really have much faith in the Samurai-horror genre. But this film is much better, because I took it for what it was. The film had some very entertaining parts, some laughs and everything in between. I’m sure people will be turned off against the film, the effects aren’t that great, and the story lags forever. The story is a little stupid as well, you get the main idea, but some of the smaller facts are just lost.

Kibakichi is a half werewolf and samurai, who travels the world after his people were destroyed by humans. He meets up with some thieves and takes care of them in an instant. After searching, he comes across a small town, whom he soon realizes is full of Yokai (monsters who live peacefully with humans). The Yokai use gambling and such to lead bad humans into their clutches and they kill them. Kibakichi learns that the boss of the town, Ozino tells him that he has joined together with another boss in hopes to have a “paradise”. Soon after this, we learn of Yamaji-San, who has taken control of his respective clan and wants to take to power. Getting all loads of big bitch guns, he takes them to the town of the monsters to try them out and kill the small problem that is arising. Kibakichi goes berserk, turns into a werewolf and takes out the bad guys.

Now to most of you out there, you’d probably give this film a few minutes and turn it off. I don’t know why you would, but it’d probably have something to do with the look of the monsters in general. I admit that this film doesn’t have the best effects on the planet, but trust me, it can be passed off to have an enjoyable Samurai-Western-Horror film. Yeah I brought up western because it has that distinctive feel. Once it began I called it a mix between an Eastwood western and a Zatoichi flick. It had that distinct look and feel to it. The story matches this as well, a wanderer comes into a town and defends against those who want the town people dead. Your basic western story, with monsters. There’s another scene that reminds me of Zatoichi, the beginning, as a bunch of losers try and take on Kibakichi, they get taken out easily. He wipes the blade and then continues to walk in his endless search for a direction.

The action is pretty good, there are only a few scenes that can actually be considered as such, but will be remembered for the most part. The ending especially just shows that Kibakichi comes in and destroys every motherfucker in his way. The villain falls to a pretty good death as well, gets his head punched off. You’ve got to love the duel between two monsters basically throwing each other through buildings and punching holes through walls. The effects are basically covered in dust and smoke to make everything seem more worthy. The makeup looked okay, I thought the werewolf get up for Kibakichi was actually pretty damn cool. Then you had your one-eyed douchebag, a bunch of ugly monsters who looked like Kermit the Frog feces.

For the most part, the quintessential art for the lone samurai is to have a very quiet hero who does what he needs to do when it needs to be done. The main character of Kibakichi is played by Ryuji Harada, who does a pretty good job. He has that certain look to him that makes him a willing good guy who really doesn’t have much personality. The rest of the cast is okay, nobody stood out to give a performance that was worthy of mention.

For me, I enjoyed the hell out of this film. Going in a direction with an iffy plot and weird characters could have been horrible. But the direction was crisp, the action was there, and after I felt like I got my money’s worth. Others probably won’t like it because of what it is, but if you can take it for a fun film, most likely you’ll find some enjoyment out of it. One more thing, my favorite scene had to belong to a guy getting his arm hacked off, then he looks around, and looks down at his arm. It’s missing! Then he begins to cry, and it almost seems like the blood effect was just waiting for him to notice it, as it spurts out as he begins to act out in pain. The best Samurai-Western-Horror-Werewolf flick I’ve seen in a while.

Plot : 3/5
Acting : 3/5
Entertainment : 4/5
Overall : 3/5

Notable Scenes
- the first duel between thieves and Kibakichi
- the finale showdown between Kibakichi and the bad guys

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Kibakichi

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