Review: Sword of the Stranger (Sutorenjia Mukōhadan, Stranger Mukō Hadan)

Or: From listening to a song to watching the movie.

There’s one song in my playlist (“Ihojin no Yaiba”) which gives me goosebumps each time I listen to it. It’s from the movie “Sword of the Stranger” and yesterday night I finally watched it.

What’s it about?
A young boy named Kotarou and his dog Tobimaru (a lovely Shiba Inu by the way) are hunted by Chinese warriors of the Ming dynasty as they need the boy (born once in a hundred years) for their ritual to obtain the essence of immortality. Among the group is a western fighter named Luo-Lang, whose desire for a worthy opponent is stronger than his desire to follow the Emperor’s orders. While Kotaro and Tobimaru are on the run they meet Nanashi, a nameless ronin who gets hired by Kotaro to guarantee the boy’s safety.
In the beginning both don’t trust each other and their bond is soon challenged due to the assaults of the Chinese warriors.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but I really liked the movie for all the Japanese and Chinese aspects and the well-balanced fighting scenes. Mostly in anime movies one side is over-powered until a miracle happens – not in this movie (or at least I didn’t felt it).
I also appreciated the main theme of the movie being repeated in various style through the whole movie at specifically chosen scenes – especially the last fight between Luo-Lang and Nanashi: “Ihojin no Yaiba”.

I’d recommend this movie to people who like fighting movies with influence of both Japanese and Chinese styles. Although some might find it boring at some parts, but it’s definitely worth watching.

Review: Sword of the StrangerDirected by: Masahiro Ando
Produced by: Masahiko Minami
Written by: Fumihito Takayama
Music by: Naoki Sato
Release: Sep 29, 2007
Running time: 102 minutes
Language: Japanese

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