Samurai Assassin (1965) - full transcript

February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled Japan for 300 years. They suspect a traitor in their midst, and their suspicions fall on Niiro, an impoverished ronin who dreams of samurai status, and Kurihara, an aristocratic samurai who befriends Niiro. Niiro longs to identify his father, knowing he is a high-ranking official who will disclose himself only if Niiro achieves samurai status. With American ships in Japan's harbors, cynicism among the assassins, and change in the air, Niiro resolves to reach ends that may prove ephemeral.

The Toho Co., Ltd. presents

A Toho / Mifune Productions

There are a total of thirty-six
gates into Edo Castle.

Eighteen of these cross
the Outer Moat.

The other eighteen cross
the Inner Moat.

In essence, they are the bottlenecks
that control access to the Castle.

The Daimyo enter the Castle
through one of the gates...

...usually the one closest
to their Edo mansions.

Thus, each Daimyo has chosen
one entrance as his favorite.

The Lord of the Hikone Domain, and
Great Elder of the Shogunate...

...Li "Kamonnokami"

...always enters through
the Sakurada Gate.

A hemp symbol
in a circle...?

That's Sir Satake Izuminokami
from Nihonmatsu in Ooshuu.

Sir Satake of Nihonmatsu in
Ooshuu? I see. I see...

Well, it's almost 8:30... The entourages
using the Sakurada Gate should...

Yes, sir. That's about
it for now.

Here you go, sir.

Here you go, sir.
Thank you.

Thank you.

It's cold this morning.
Thank you.

Well, Edo Castle blanketed
in snow is a sight to see.

Besides, for unemployed
Ronin like us...

...the opportunity to witness the Daimyo
processions is a true delight.

I hope that your wish to become
an officer will come true soon.

Today, Li Naosuke did not
arrive at the Castle

By command of Commander
Hoshino Kenmotsu...

...we retreat from the Sakurada
Gate for the time being.

It is the morning of February 17th,
1860... Nine in the morning.

The 32 men who retreated
from the Sakurada Gate...

...gather at Sagamiya,
in Shinagawa.

Sagamiya is a large teahouse
suitable for meetings...

...and is listed in the "Edo Illustrated
Map of Famous Places."

Today is February 17th.

It's our understanding that the Shogun's
household and the high officials...

...will be holding a "Ongusoku
Iwai no Gi" armor ceremony...

...before Shogun Iemochi's excursion
to the countryside.

Great Elder Li Naosuke had no reason
not to show up at the Castle!

Our plan was...

...elaborately developed, with the utmost
care, so that it would be top secret.

As such... it is unthinkable that there
was an accidental disclosure...

...that would allow the House of
Li to learn of our intentions!

There must be a traitor
among us.

It's the only explanation
that I can think of.

We have been infiltrated by someone
working for the House of Li.

"Samurai Assassin"

Produced by
Tanaka Tomoyuki

Screenplay: Hashimoto Shinobu
Based on the book "Samurai Nippon"
by Gunji Jiromasa

Photography: Murai Hiroshi * Art Design: Akune Iwao
Sound: Nishikawa Yoshio * Lighting: Nishikawa Tsuruzo
Music: Sato Masaru * Mixing: Shimonaga Hisashi

Asst. Director: Yamamoto Yuzuuo * Effects: Izumi Minoru.
Editing: Kuroiwa Yoshitami * Line Producer: Suzuki Masao
Developing: Kinuta Labs * Fight Choreography: Kuze Ryu


Mifune Toshiro

Kobayashi Keiju Aratama Michiyo
Ito Yunosuke

Ebara Tatsuyoshi
Tono Eijiro
Nakamaru Tadao
Yachigusa Kaoru

Tamura Nami
Sugimura Haruko
Otsuji Shiro inaba Yoshio
Hirata Akihiko

Amamoto Hideyo * Sawamura Ikio * Togin Chotaro
Ogawa Yasuzo * Nihei Masaya * Kurosawa Toshio
Tajima Yoshifumi * Ichikawa Koraizo

Kirino Hiro-o * Yamamoto Yasushi * Mukai Jun-ichiro
Iwamoto Koji * Kusakawa Naoya * Tsutsumi Yasuhisa
Hidaka Yurie * Tokita Fujio * Hasegawa Hiroshi

Terashima Mitsugu * Shimura Takashi
Fujita Susumu * Nakamura Shikaku
Ichikawa Chusha * Kita Nagama * Housei Kan

Matsumoto Koshiro

Directed by
Okamoto Kihachi

It is 11 in the

The meeting at Sagamiya ends.
Three men choose to remain.

So, it seems that... there's
a traitor in our midst.

Don't worry. It's nothing but the
Chief's absurd speculation.

Don't you worry. I
have faith in us.

I have more faith in your Jigen-Ichi
Style, Sir Tsuru...

...than I do in our leader's

Right... Without any solid evidence, he's
already talking about a "traitor!"

We're supposed to be comrades, our
lives all pledged to the same cause.

Thank you very much.
Come back again!

Thank you very much.

Thank you very much.
Please come again.

Please come again.

Sir, the baggage... Here you go, sir.
Please come again.

What's wrong? Huh?

I apologize for the
disarray, sir...

I'm sorry to barge in like this...

I'm sorry to barge in like this...


May I ask who you are?

May I ask who you are?

May I ask who you are?
Sir, I may not look like it, but...

...thanks to our generous patrons,
I am the manager of Sagamiya.

What do they call you?

What do they call you?


Your name.

Your name.

Your name.
Sir, my name is Okiku.


There's no doubt that he's a Ronin,
originally from Bishuu?

Well, at least that's what he claims.
Nobody has confirmed it yet.

So, he lives in a mud hut by
the Kamakura riverbed... as a bouncer... a hired body-
guard... and extorts and blackmails?

He's a ruffian, indeed!

He's a ruffian, indeed!
Yes, sir.

Perhaps I got carried away about
increasing our manpower.

Seems I've hired someone
we ought to suspect.

Niiro isn't the only man we ought to
watch. There's another suspect.

Nobody important. One
Kurihara Einosuke.

He used to work for Matsudaira Sahyo-
nosuke, the Yada Clan Chief in Joshu.

I see... Matsudaira Sahyonosuke
and Li Naosuke are...

...very close friends. That's
a very obvious connection.

Besides, it's... unusual that
he's friends with Niiro.

Sir Hoshino... Why not eliminate these
two from our group, right now?

No, wait... We can't
possibly do that.

These two...

...have become well acquainted
with our other men...

...and many are undoubtedly
loyal to them.

It would be different, if they chose
to leave on their own...

...but if we discharge them, it might send
the wrong message to the men.

Besides, these two... are
no average swordsmen.

So, they'll be very useful
to us, if the need arises.

But, if we don't do something...

But, if we don't do something...

Go check their homes and backgrounds.
Report on their activities in detail.

And, if either turns out to be
an infiltrator working for Li...

...or, if there's any reason
for us to suspect them...

...then we'll slay them
without mercy!

The sooner we find
out, the better.

If we've been infiltrated
by li's agents...

...who knows how he'll strike
against us, and when.

We're dealing with the one they call
the "Demon of Hikone," after all.

He who instigated the vicious
and merciless Ansei Purge.

Well? So, what next?

Well? So, what next?

When will we attempt to carry
out our mission again?

As the saying goes, "Walls have
ears, doors have eyes."


It's not that I suspect
you as well.

But, only I should know
the actual date for now.


But, for the time being,
let me tell you this...

We won't be waiting
for long.

The date of the next attack
has been decided upon.

However, aside from Chief Hoshino
Kenmotsu, nobody knows when...

...except that it will be in
the very near future.

So, you're telling
me that...

...the suspects were gathered
near the Inner Moat?

Correct, sir. I estimate there were about
thirty Ronin, mostly of Mito origin.

How were you able to determine
that they were from Mito?

Someone close to
them must have...

...allowed an "exchange of
information" to occur.

That's the only plausible

If we continue to let these
rebels have their way...

...who knows what undesirable
consequences await us?

We should strike at them now.

We should strike at them now.



The Ansei Purge... was a
bit harsh, in hindsight.

That being the case, wouldn't
we be repeating that error...

...if we attack them, based
only on a suspicion?

No, sir, it's not just
a suspicion.

Until they've actually done something,
it's no more than a suspicion, isn't it?

In that case, your processions must
be more heavily guarded!

The foundations of the Tokugawa
Shogunate... aren't that weak!

I didn't cancel my trip to the Castle
today because of your concerns.

I did it so I could meet the messenger
who arrived this morning...

...and hear from him the current
situation in Kyoto and Osaka.

The Great Elder, assaulted by
Ronin, in broad daylight?

How in the world could such
a absurd thing happen?

For 300 years, the authority and spirit
of the Tokugawa have endured.

It will never be so weak as to succumb
to something as ludicrous as that!

It sure feels like
spring today!

Sure does. It's already February 20th.
So the good weather is no surprise.

There must be a lot of visitors
coming to Edo.

We've a lot to be
thankful for.

By the way... have you found
an appointment yet, or...?

Well... nothing ever goes
as one would hope.

That must be Elder
Li, right?

Yes. It's time for him
to leave the Castle.

Anytime you see him, he looks
like a man full of vigor.

Surely. He's the strong right hand
of the Shogun, after all.

If it weren't for him, our business
wouldn't be prospering as it is.

I have much to
thank him for.

As always, leading the procession
of men are...

...Nishikawa Chuuzaemon and
about thirty of his aides.

With their guards, they totaled
approximately sixty in all.

The procession, and the number
of men, hasn't changed.

It is said that there's a
spy among the men...

...but, could it really
be true?

Mito Mansion
...but, could it really be true?

To investigate Niiro Tsuruchiyo's
abode, a meeting is held...

...between Inada Juzo and two other
men. It is February 21st.

His home is a disheveled and
bare hut built out of mud... the Kanda-Kamakura riverbed,
in a little-traveled area.

What does he do to earn
his three meals a day?


What does he do for living?

Sir, from what I can gather, he
doesn't have a steady job.

If one could call it
an occupation...

...he bodyguards for Bizenya Tatsukichi,
an employment agent in Fujimi Village.

We know that a monster like
you is working here!

We'd like to save face... but,
no, not for this pittance!

So, it's a pittance. What're
you gonna do about it?

This is what
I'll do!

Go back where you came
from, you pest!

Or we'll break your
arm right off!

So, he's quite

And seems to be an extremely
dangerous bodyguard at that.

Surely, sir.

Still, I doubt he can afford to eat three
times a day on what Bizenya pays.

Certainly, he couldn't afford
the booze that he loves.

So, he referees matches, and raids
gambling houses and dojo.

He's more or less
a blackmailer.

He'll do anything but steal and murder,
so he can indulge in wine and women.

What about family ties?

Sir, there was his mother... but she
passed away five years ago.

Mother died five years ago, eh?

Mother died five years ago, eh?
Yes, sir.

So... how did this monster
become one of us?

Sir... what happened was...

May you rest in peace...

May you rest in peace...
Your deaths won't be forgotten!

Your deaths won't be forgotten!

We swear we'll behead "Red Devil" Li!
Your deaths won't be forgotten!

Run for it! Follow me!

You're all with the House of Mito, right?

You're all with the House of Mito, right?
Yes, sir.

"1 koku:" enough rice to feed a famiiy for a year.
A foot-soldier; 10-koku and 3 retainers.

An aide to the Commissioner of
Shrines; 3-ryo and 2 retainers.

An aide to a District Commissioner;
7-koku and 2 retainers.

You're nothing but a bunch
of superfluous lackeys.

I was hoping that at least one
of you was an Elder's son...

...or the son of a
troop leader...

...I guess I was wrong.

...I guess I was wrong.

So the reason Tsuruchiyo helped
them was because...

...if one of them turned out
to be an important figure...

...he could extort a large
sum of money?

No... that wasn't it...

"Built with utmost care..." but the Ecchuu
Loincloth, upon completion, falls apart.


Well, you see... If one of you were
somebody significant, then...

...I could've asked for a
reward for saving you.

I could've used that chance
to obtain a position, but...

The Ecchuu Loincloth
must've fallen apart!

Well... as we are of low rank, we really
don't have any way to thank you.

No matter how much searching
you do around Edo...'s impossible to stumble upon
a truly sweet opportunity.

So you see, from
now on...

...if you aren't a high-ranking officer
somewhere... you're doomed.

But... you're such a swordsman that
any Daimyo house would want you.

Don't be ridiculous. You're all men
with meager positions in life...

...but you still don't know the
hardships of being a Ronin.

You have no idea to what extremes I've
sunk... I've done everything I can.

Skills alone won't get
you anywhere.

I wonder if what you're saying is true.

I wonder if what you're saying is true.
By the way, fellows... were saying some rather serious
things back there in Nihonbashi.

About beheading Elder Li, or
something to that effect.

But, you know... that's
pretty interesting.

Certainly interesting, if you're
really serious about doing it.

Sir, what you're saying
is very odd.

Still, you wouldn't
have saved us...

...if you didn't resent Elder
li's arbitrary conduct.

I've got nothing to do with him,
no connections whatsoever!

I hold no grudge against him,
nor am I indebted to him.

He's a complete stranger to me.

He's a complete stranger to me.
No, that can't be so!

Otherwise, why help? If you got caught,
you'd be in prison along with us!

You bunch of

Sure, Li Naosuke is indeed
the "Red Devil..."

...from your viewpoint
as men of Mito.

But it's different, for someone like me,
who's got no connection to him.

The reason there's been a lot of political
crap these last few years... because the Tokugawa and
their allies are scheming...

...about who'll be the next Shogun,
that is. Isn't that so?

The House of Mito wants Nariaki's son,
Yoshinobu, to be the next Shogun.

And, you want Nariaki to live in the
Castle's Nishinomaru Quarters... that he can rule the nation. that he can rule the nation.
B... But...

Listen to me until
I'm done!

Everything seemed to be set, then he
stepped forward to oppose you.

That was Li Naosuke,
the Lord of Hikone.

He used his post as the Great
Elder to bring to...

...Edo Castle a 13-year old, one Yoshi-
tomi, from the House of Kii...

...and basically made him the
14th Shogun, Iemochi.

The infuriated, uncalmable
Mito faction allied with...

...clans from Satsuma and Choshuu who
shared the same feelings of outrage...

...and won the support
of officials in Kyoto...

...who then brought the matter to
the attention of the Emperor.

Once the Emperor learned of
this... he declared that...

...the Shogunate, that is, Li Naosuke's
achievement, was far from desirable.

And so, it was Li Naosuke's turn
to be most imperially enraged.

He discharged the officials that
worked for the Emperor...

...and arrested men from
Mito and Satsuma...

...sent them to prison, beheaded
them, and so forth.

This was the so-called
"Ansei Purge."

Well? Did I get any
of it wrong?

Indeed. There's truth in
what you've said, sir.

But, there's something important
that you've overlooked.

Say what?!

Consider Shogun Iemochi, only 14-years
old, of the House of Kii.

The question is, can He save Japan
from the crisis it faces?!

From the North comes Russia,
from the East, America.

From the West come England
and France.

Should He make one little error,
what'll happen to Japan then?!

We must destroy Li Naosuke,
the Devil, immediately...

...and make the Glorious Hitotsubashi
Yoshinobu Shogun.

We must rebuild the Shogunate
as quickly as possible, or...

...we'll be allowing the Emperor
to be disgraced as well!

We aren't just concerned about
who will be the next Shogun...

That's enough.

Imperialists, Anti-Shogunate
or whatever... does me no good to listen
to lame arguments like these.

What matters is whether... you
truly intend to kill Naosuke...

...or are you
just all talk?

If you're planning to do
it, then count me in.

Li Naosuke's head is easily
worth a thousand ryo.

I'll do my best, demonstrate my skill...
and then I'll have his head!

That way, Mito, Satsuma, or
Choshuu... one of them...

...will want to engage
me, at a high price.

That much is true,
without a doubt!

So... sir, what is
your name?


Niiro Tsuruchiyo. Formerly of
Bishuu clan, now a Ronin.

So, he joined us

...he wants to become a legitimate
samurai... Just that?

Correct, sir. During our mission, he
will do his best for the cause...

...and after we succeed, he'll request
that the Mito, or another clan...

...grant him a position.

That is his only
motivation, sir.

At sunset that day, Hagiiwara
Matasaburo reports on...

...the living conditions of Kurihara
Einosuke, the other suspect.

Thank you for your
hard work.

Sir, Kurihara Einosuke's
home is situated in...

...Honjo-Koume, where liege vassals and
rich merchants maintain second homes.

Oh? Honjo-Koume?

Kurihara was once a retainer
in the employ of...

...Matsudaira Sahyonosuke, the chief
of the Yada clan in Joshu...

...and his stipend was
more than 300-koku.

300-koku? He must've been
an important man.

As close to his Clan Lord
as Kurihara was... important
as he was...

...why did he leave his clan, become
a Ronin, and join us?

That, sir, we don't
know for sure...

...but according to Yamamoto,
a close confidante of his...

...Kurihara is an exceptional,
avid scholar, who... well-read in Western philosophy. well-read in Western philosophy.

Based on his studies, he
strongly believes that...

...unless Elder Li is destroyed, Japan
will not see the dawn of a new era.


His scholarly studies lead him to believe
that the death of Li is imperative?

That, sir, is what Yamamoto
has told me.


By the way, this Kurihara... he is no longer an
aide to his Clan Lord..., then, can he afford to live
in such a noteworthy mansion?

Sir, as for that...

...his wife, Mitsu, happens to be
the daughter of Kagaya Seibei...

...a shipping agent in Shinmachi,
near Shiba Shiodome Bridge.

The mansion is Seibei's
second home.

Thus, Kurihara's leisurely
lifestyle in the mansion... not, I believe, grounds
to suspect anything.

And so, Kurihara Einosuke can spend
his days focusing his mind...

...on scholarship... and

I can well appreciate that he's
absorbed in his studies...

...but, "swordmanship?"

Yes, sir. In Okachi Village, in Shitaya,
one Tachibana Isshinsai runs...

...a dojo, specializing
in the Nen Style.

Now, this Kurihara Einosuke,
and Niiro Tsuruchiyo...

...I hear that the two are
on very good terms.

Yes, that's correct, sir.

Their personalities and lifestyles
make them complete opposites.

How could they possibly get
along so well...? How?

Well, I wondered about
that myself, sir.

A comrade named Kojima Kaname
ought to know the answer... he's especially close
to Niiro Tsuruchiyo.

You should definitely hear what
Kojima has to say, sir.

In December of last year, eh?

In December of last year, eh?
Yes, sir.

It was close to
the New Year.

Having become uneasy about
the advent of the New Year...

...Niiro headed to Tachibana Isshinsai's
dojo in Okachi Village in Shitaya...

...after discussions with
his fellow rogue Ronin.

For what purpose?

For what purpose?
Sir... it was for Dojo-harassment.

Not good...

Not good...

That will be all.


We've accommodated enough outside
styles for today. Please leave.


Here I stand.

I believe that... I've clearly demonstrated
our strengths to your four friends.

If you want to brag, you ought to wait
until you've finished dueling with me.

It seems I have no choice. Very well
then, please prepare yourself.

I'm ready right now!

I'm ready right now!

'Twas... a long duel... that left us
speechless with admiration...

...but, in the end...

Their skills were perfectly
matched, so...

...if they continued, the result would
have been a simultaneous strike...

...and both would have suffered
grievous injuries.

So, the match was

If I may so ask... that is Jigen-
Ichi-Style, isn't it?

That is correct.

Your Nen Style... seems
rather useful.

I haven't had this good of
a workout in a while.

After that, the two rapidly
became close friends.

Occasionally, Niiro would visit Kurihara's
mansion in Honjo-Koume.

Actually, I personally accompanied
him once or twice.

He laughed!
He laughed!

The son of Kurihara Einosuke...
Eiichiro, eh?

What a fine name it is!
A fine name, indeed!

Eiichiro... You're so lucky to have
such wonderful parents!

Sir Niiro, do you have
children yet?

Huh? I may not look like it,
but I'm very much blessed!


Pun: "Juu-ni:" Twelve. "Ni-Juu:" Twenty.
Sir? Twelve sons, twelve girls...

Pun: "Juu-ni:" Twelve. "Ni-Juu:" Twenty.

Pun: "Juu-ni:" Twelve. "Ni-Juu:" Twenty.
Twenty, in all!

Pun: "Juu-ni:" Twelve. "Ni-Juu:" Twenty.
Twenty, in all! Surely you're joking!

Well, not only don't I have kids,
but I don't even have a wife.

I didn't realize...
I am sorry.

How about your parents?
Are they alive?

I did have a mother, but she left
this world five years ago.

I'm so sorry.

That old fool... I constantly gave her
a hard time when she was alive.


You see, I have no idea
who my father is.

He doesn't know his father?

He doesn't know his father?
Correct, sir.

By the way, Kojima...

How could such a fatherless fellow...
be a Bishuu Ronin? Do you know?

Sir Hoshino... I do not mean to
be disrespectful to you, sir...

...but Niiro is not a spy
for the House of Li.

That... I, Kojima Kaname,
personally attest!

If you can't determine the answer, then
we'll have someone else find out.

But, Sir Sumida...

You were, after all, assigned the
duty of watching the others...

...yet, you've not once passed
on anything concerning Niiro!

What exactly have you been
doing every day?!

Just what's Niiro been up to,
since our last meeting?!

Sir, the truth
is that...

...well... lately...

...since the February 17th
plan was called off... our comrades congregated
at Sagamiya in Shinagawa...

...where we had an official meeting.

...where we had an official meeting.
We know that already!

Ever since then... Niiro has been
staying at Sagamiya...

...and refuses to leave,
no matter what we do!

"Botamochi:" a traditionai sweet.
"Botamochi during the Bon Festival...

"Udon-noodles during
the day..."

Get Okiku! Okiku,
I said!

Here, now! Have
some sake!

I'm not staying here so I can look
at your ugly gourd of a face!

Get your boss!
Get Okiku!

Madam! How many days do we
have to put up with him?!

We gotta get him to go! I'm going
to call in the Constabulary!

But you know...

...if the Constabulary comes around,
business will suffer.

"Botamochi during
the Bon Festival...

"Udon-noodles during
the day...

"Have rice
at night...

My... my... if it isn't the arrival
of the Ocean Princess!

Sir Niiro...

Sir Niiro...
What is it?

What is it?

You've been here far too long, sir.
What is it?

Your family must be
worried about you.

Mind your own business!

Mind your own business!
I must say this; forgive my rudeness...

I must say this; forgive my rudeness...

Say what?!
I must say this; forgive my rudeness...

Because you arrived with my long-time
patrons, the gentlemen of Mito...

...I realized that I couldn't possibly
be impolite to you, until today.

But... I ask that you settle your
account for the time being... financial matters need
to be taken care of.

So what if you need to take
care of financial matters?!

I'd like you to pay what
you owe us, and...

...kindly ask that you return
home for the time being.

If our Sagamiya is to
your liking, then...

...please come back again
at a later date.

Since you demand it
of me, I will leave.

But, let me tell you, lady...
I've got no money!

But... if you tell
me that...'ll be in trouble
if I don't pay...

...then I guarantee that
I'll get the money...

...after I leave, that is.

Please don't be concerned
about the bill, sir.

I merely ask that
you leave.

You're so aloof...

You're so aloof...
Oh! Wh... What are you doing...?

So aloof...

Listen you, sooner or later...
I will become...

...a full-fledged, two-sword retainer with
four or five-hundred koku in income!

When that happens, Okiku... I will
come here, to make you my wife!

Enough kidding around!

If you don't stop, I will be forced
to call in the Constables!

Lady... how much
do I owe ya?

I don't care
about that!

However, I ask that you never
come here again!

As long as I pay,
I'm a customer.

No... perhaps it is you who
owe me money, lady.

Listen, Okiku... I've become like this...
like a stray dog... because of you.


Tell your boss, Masagoro.
He'll understand.

Tell him that Tsuruchiyo
is here.

"Sir Tsuruchiyo?"

That's Niiro Tsuruchiyo!

It's been five years, hasn't it?
Since the last time I saw you.

You look healthy, at least
from what I can see.

Isn't that obvious?

Isn't that obvious?
But, it's so disgraceful...

Your mother would be so saddened,
if she were still alive.

Stop talking about
my mother!

I've come here to discuss money!

I've come here to discuss money!
No, it cannot be.

Kisoya... you and my mother were two
of a kind. Don't try acting otherwise.

Indeed, two of a kind... that
was your mother and I.

We sacrificed everything to help you
become an honorable samurai.

We encouraged you to excel in swords-
manship... and academics...

My... And, look what

But, these five years that I've had
to live alone... I've learned a lot.

I left the path of the
samurai once...

...but it made me realize how
cold society can be.

Anyway, these days, you either become a
merchant like you and save money, or...

...become a respectable samurai
and strut around!

That is, if you've got any desire
to live like a human being.

But, I can't imagine being
a merchant or craftsman.

Of course not! Not you!

Of course not! Not you!
There you go again, just like mother did!

If there's really samurai blood in
me, as you've always said...

...then why can't you tell
me who my father is?!

I'm not a kid anymore... It's
no use trying to hide it!

But, let me
say this...

...I've had it... with living
like a lone wolf!

I'll... I'll become...

...a real, spear-carrying samurai.

...a real, spear-carrying samurai.

I'll become more important than
you or my mother ever was.

I'm about to get involved in
a fateful undertaking...

...not just that... it's a once-
in-a-lifetime opportunity!

I'll keep on top of this

...and I'll never let go of it, even
if lightning strikes me!

Sir Tsuruchiyo... what exactly
are you referring to?!

Forget it. Forget it...

I'll tell you about it someday... when I
return with four or five vassals in tow.

Today's topic
is money!


I must object, sir.

I must object, sir.

You say you've suffered greatly... but
you don't know what suffering is!

The reason you've become this way,
Sir Tsuruchiyo, is because...

...we always pampered you,
perhaps too much!

Kisoya... so you're not going
to give me money...?

If that's not to your liking, then
force open my safe yourself!

You've not been to this
mansion in five years...

...yet as soon as you do,
look what happens!

On top of it, you come up with
some fantastic story...

"If I go to Kisoya's, I can get
money, no matter what."

You always behaved like a spoiled
brat! You haven't changed a bit!

I, Kisoya Masagoro, refuse
to give you a single mon!

If you're not going to pay... then I'll just
have to ask my creditor to come here.

I must say that what I saw
today was splendid.

Shichidayu Dances... Always
a delight to see.

When people say something is "out of
this world," this is what they mean.

They've all dedicated their
lives to their craft.

'Tis the excellence achieved only by
those devoted to a single thing.



Why did you choose an evocative
piece as the "Kurozuka?"

Well, as I would be watching the play
with you, Sir Sahyonosuke...

...I thought that we ought to watch
something joyous and gorgeous...

...but, 'tis disheartening that you see
it only as an evocatory piece!

If you put it that way, I must not
say what I was about to say.

No need for such formality.
Please speak your mind.

A unit of Mito's Tengu Faction
has assembled...

...and they've filtered
into our district.

Yes, I'm aware
of that.

They pose as Mito vassals, and can use
the Mito Mansion in Koishikawa.

From this base, they've contacted
Satsuma and Choshuu vassals...

...and together, they've been
hatching various plots.

I am aware of that, too.

I am aware of that, too.
Things look to be coming to a head.

Things look to be coming to a head.

And, if so?
Things look to be coming to a head.

And, if so?

And, if so?
What if... your life were in danger?

That's totally ludicrous!

That's totally ludicrous!
But... what if it were so?

No, it will not happen.

No, it will not happen.
Why not?

Why not?

Do you expect me to put it in words?
Why not?

Do you expect me to put it in words?

Do you expect me to put it in words?
Tell me. Today, tell me everything.

Our Fourteenth Shogun, Iemochi...
is how old as of this year?

Fourteen years old.

I am the Lord of Hikone, a Tokugawa-
affiliated domain.

I am the Li Family's 15th descendant:
"Kamonnokami" Naosuke.

And, to top it off, I'm the Great
Elder of the Shogunate.

It is no exaggeration
to say...

...that the Tokugawa government
cannot run without me.

So, why would the men
of Mito seek my life?

At a time when we're faced with
many national dilemmas...

...the Mito... one of the three Great
Houses, wants me dead?

It's ridiculous!

If I were to die now, the Shogunate
would crumble into dust!

We are living in
unstable times.

Reforming the government
by killing me?!

'Tis nothing but a bad story,
fabricated by fools!

Should anybody dare
to destroy me...

...the 300-year old Tokugawa
government would fall.

And that would

...that the age of the samurai
would be over!

Concerning Niiro Tsuruchiyo's

...even though his real father's
identity is unknown...

...the fact is, Niiro Soan, a Bishuu clan
physician, acted as his father.

So, this Niiro Soan, a physician
to the Bishuu...

...with a fief of 10-koku, and two
lackeys, is his adoptive father?

That means... he's considered
to be a Bishuu Ronin?

Certainly, sir.

Ah, so he must've tried to get a position
in Edo somewhere, but failed... that explains why he's
living like an outcast.

Yes. I believe that's a plausible
explanation, sir.

Although I did suspect him, I don't
think Niiro is the culprit anymore.

What's the matter?!

What's the matter?!
Allow me to report to you, sirs...

We've unmasked the betrayers...
spies associated with the Li!


What?! It went to the mansion
of Matsudaira Sahyonosuke?!

Yes, sir. From the Akasaka
Gate, to the right, then...

...further up Ushinaki Hill via
Omote-Denma Village...

...then, down Yagen Hill... past
the Shogunate Sentries' office.

No doubt about it, sir.

Matsudaira Sahyonosuke, the head of
Joshu-Yada, has a mansion there.

As it seemed rather peculiar,
we investigated further.

The woman in the palanquin was Lady
Ochiyo, Matsudaira's concubine.

Why would Matsudaira's concubine
visit Kurihara?!

Mitsu, Kurihara's wife, and this
Lady Ochiyo happen to be...

...sisters, blood

To check, we went to Shiodome, and
checked with some shipping agents.

One Kagaya Seibei had two daughters.
The older is the Lady Ochiyo...

...concubine to Matsudaira Sahyonosuke,
head of the Yada clan in Joshu.

Her sister is the wife of Kurihara Eino-
suke, a close aide to Matsudaira!

We have verified
all of this, sirs!

Our secrets have spread from Kurihara
to Matsudaira Sahyonosuke.

And, from Sahyonosuke to
Li the "Kamonnokami?!"

So that's how it is.

Really... one can never tell
about some people.

Well, I for one have always
believed that... was rather odd that
Kurihara joined us!

So... how shall we
deal with this?



What's up?

What's up?
What do you mean, "what's up?!"

I heard from Kojima Kaname that
you're here all the time... I became worried.

Come on, Niiro.
Let's go home.

Don't worry about the bill...
I've taken care of it.

What did you say?!

What did you say?!
I've taken care of it, the whole thing.

It's none of your concern.

Madam Okiku took the money
from you, then?

No, I didn't see
the Madam.

I was told that she was visiting a lumber-
yard in Fuyuki Village, in Fukagawa.

This struck me as somewhat strange,
but... I paid the head clerk.

Like I told you, you should've
minded your own business!

You don't pay
the clerk!

But, the fact that she went to the Fuka-
gawa lumberyard is interesting...

...the fact that Okiku
did that...

Now, that makes
me laugh!

I am Okiku, the Madam
of Sagamiya.

Niiro requested that I
send my clerk here...

...but the matter isn't settled yet,
so I've come here in person.

I'm sorry to interrupt
your busy schedule.

So, miss, you're the... You're
from Sagamiya?

Yes, sir. I am she who is
called Madam Okiku.

My goodness...

Really... it's remarkable how there
can be look-alikes in this world.

When they say "be as alike as two
split melons," they mean this!

"Two melons?"

"Two melons?"
No wonder Sir Niiro did what he did...

No wonder... he couldn't
have helped himself!

Pardon me, but... what do
you mean by that, sir?

When I first met Sir Niiro,
he also had...

...a surprised look on his
face, like yours, sir...

...and wouldn't stop
staring at me.

I'm curious as
to why...

No... as long as I can collect what
he owes, that's all it matters.

But... something about
this does bother me.

If you don't mind, sir,
please tell me.

I'm sure that there must be
a reason not to tell me...

...but, if I don't ask...
then I'll regret it.

No... if I may be blunt... it does
feel somewhat ominous.

If I may...

...if I may so ask,
Mr. Kisoya...

Well, sooner or later, I
would've had to tell..., of all people, at least., of all people, at least.
Excuse me?

There is too much of a resemblance...
too much for mere strangers.

As this may involve you in the future,
please allow me to explain.

But, remember... I am telling you this
because you seem trustworthy.

Please, never tell anyone.
Not even Sir Niiro.

Do you understand?

Yes, sir. I'm not Okiku of Sagamiya
for nothing... I know that much.

The blood of a samurai family
runs in Sir Niiro's veins.

I cannot reveal their name, but they are
of exceptional legacy and status.


But, he is the son of a concubine...

...or rather, I should say, adolescent
mistakes resulted in his birth.

The woman... gave birth to him
back in her home town.

There was a reason
for that.

It was not possible for the son to
be recognized by the father.

It so happens that the woman's father
and I were very close friends..., recognizing how sad
the situation was...

...I chose to take young Niiro
and his mother with me...

...and we proceeded
to a certain place.

It was the house of a physician, who
worked for a major Daimyo.

We went there so that the
child could be adopted.

Instead of growing up in a merchant's
house like mine, it would be better...

...for him to be raised in the house of a
physician with samurai connections.

That was what we... the child's
mother and I... concluded.

But, when young Niiro turned
13, the physician was...

...transferred to a country fief
within his Lord's domain...

...where, later, he contracted
an illness and died.

That happened when
Sir Niiro was 22.

However, he had no desire to succeed
his physician "father."

Together with his mother, he
left for Edo, in search of me.

He said that he had no intention
of becoming a physician...

...but instead wanted to become
a samurai of rank.

I myself believe that nothing is
impossible, at least in spirit..., after discussing
it with his mother...

...we let him study at a dojo
in Ichigaya Yarai, under...

...Sir Todo Tatewaki, a master
of the Jigen-Ichi Style.

As for academics, we sent him to
Sir Miura Ansai's seminary... Yanaka-Oiwakekata

For the next seven

...Sir Niiro was a young
man, full of hope...

...who immersed himself in the worlds
of academics and swordsmanship.

His mother and I both looked
forward to his success...

...and bright future, with
pride in our hearts.

This anticipation was not at all
a dream... It was no fantasy.

I knew that Sir Niiro's real father, an
important Shogunate official...

...also took an interest
in his future.

When the time came, when Sir
Niiro could live on his own...

...on the day when he became a
respectable, deserving man...

...we had secretly arranged for
a very special event to occur.

But... like they say, "Nothing
ever goes as planned."

An unexpected incident
took place... that drastically changed
Sir Niiro's life.

It was about a month before he was to
receive what he had worked for...

...a Commendation for Completion
of Studies at the Todo Dojo.

In anticipation of this most
commemorative event... pray for his life-long blessing
in swordsmanship...

...we visited Kashima Shrine, in Hitachi,
where the Gods of War are sanctified.

On the way back, we enjoyed
a boat-ride in Itako.

It's nothing but rice fields,
every which way!

"Oh, if only the Irises were in bloom!"
Captain, we're bored to death!

Hey! Take us somewhere!

Excuse me, but seeing as we're traveling
together, how about pouring me a drink?

Both the lady and I are a bit seasick,
not feeling all that well.

I am sorry but we cannot
serve you.

It must be fate that has brought
us together. Pour me a drink.

It wouldn't be all that enjoyable if an old
woman like me were to serve you.

I believe that it's best if you drink such
valuable sake amongst yourselves.

You're too soft, fellow.
Let me handle this!

C'mon, just one drink!
Pour me some!

As I just told you...

I'm not asking you, old Mushroom!
I'm asking this wench, over here!

Don't be so conceited!
I ask you, just a drink!

How dare you! Shit!

Sir! Y...You're being unreasonable!

Sir! Y...You're being unreasonable!
Shut up!

You young punk!

Kill him!

You bastard!

Come back here!

Just who was the lady
that you speak of?

She was of the House of
Takatsukasa in Kyoto...

...the daughter of Sir Ichijo Narihisa,
the 3rd-ranking General.

Such an important person!

On top of that, this "princess"
was named "Kiku-hime."

Oh, my... Even our names
are the same!

Indeed... Strange things can
happen in this world.

So... what happened
after that?

You may fool others... but you cannot
deceive the eyes of this samurai!

Who do you wait for... at Kanda Myojin
Shrine, after the day's lessons?!

You are still in training... yet
you're lusting after women!

How dare you let your mind
stray from the sword?!

Further carelessness
won't be tolerated!

Kiku-hime was to wed the eldest
son of Miyamori Betto...

...a distinguished Shinto priest known
throughout the Kanto region.

As Sir Kii's auxiliary mansion was
in Edo, near the Akasaka Gates...

...she often traveled there with her father,
Sir Narihisa, all the way from Kyoto.

Kiku-hime would leave the Kii Mansion
just about every day... visit Matsunaga Wafu's residence,
to study Nagauta singing.

For a lady of a famous family,
she's rather spirited.

Instead of requesting that the instructor
visit her, she'd travel so she could...

...take lessons in the company
of regular girls.

It seems that you're visiting the Kanda
Myojin Shrine all the time, Miss Ichijo.

Offering special prayers, perhaps?

Offering special prayers, perhaps?
No... I don't believe in gods or buddhas.

Then, perhaps you're meeting
someone special there?

Yes... Someone special
is waiting for me.

If you'll excuse me...

The relationship between the two
grew stronger every day...

...but there was no way that such
a thing could last for long.

Soon, Sir Ichijo Narihisa
came up with ways to...

...prevent Kiku-hime from leaving the
Kii Mansion even for a minute.

Then... nobody knows how Kiku-hime
managed to do it...

...she somehow eluded her guards...
and escaped from the mansion!


You've run away,
just to be here?!

Yes... my father wishes me
to marry... against my will.

I had to be here, even
if I had to run away!

I care not for

I thought that, if this is what Kiku-
hime really wants, then...

...I'd offer to talk to Sir Ichijo, in hopes
that the matter might be resolved... offering him a solution
to his problem.

Why force apart two
people in love?

What if it causes them
to plan to elope?

Who knows what kind of nightmare
it could become?

So I imposed upon a merchant who
frequented the Kii Mansion...

...and after much

...we were able to arrange a meeting
with Sir Ichijo Narihisa...

...who was staying in the West
Quarters of the Mansion.

Kisoya... haven't you
ever heard...

...people say that "lanterns and
bells can never go together?"

But, Sir Ichijo...

Listen to me, Kisoya.

The owner of this mansion,
Sir Kii Yorihisa...

...happens to be the 3rd-ranking
Provincial General.

But, 3rd-ranking means... that they're
at the same level as my House.

That means, Kisoya...

...that unless he's the noble son
of a Daimyo or something...

...discussing his marriage to a princess
is just absurd, isn't it?

"Unless he's the noble son of
a Daimyo or something...?"

That's right.

That's right.
T... The truth is that...

What is it?

No... It's nothing.

"Unless he's the noble son of
a Daimyo or something..."

Considering the situation, I considered
revealing Tsuruchiyo's lineage...

...but I just couldn't, not
without asking you.

Of course not.

Even if marriage negotiations
were entered into...

...who knows what problems of
social standing might arise?

Besides, until he becomes
a worthy warrior...

...until he's mastered swordmanship,
and we can be proud of him...

...until then, the truth must
not be revealed.

That was the promise we and His
Highness made to each other.

We're nowhere
near that time!

In the meantime...

...the marriage negotiations concerning
Kiku-hime and Miyamori Betto's...

...eldest son continued
to progress.

But, Tsuruchiyo could not wrest
Kiku-hime from his heart.

Eventually, he marched straight
into Sir Kii's mansion.


What?! What you've just told me, and
the manner in which you said it...

...I for one believe it's
a bit impudent.

But, sir, Kiku-hime clearly objects to
marrying the son of Sir Miyamori.

Whom my daughter will marry...
is none of your concern.

Of course, it is my daughter's
life we're talking about... I cannot say that I have
not considered you.

But, having done so, I have concerns,
and so I simply cannot consent to it.

Niiro Soan, the Bishuu clan physician,
was merely a father figure to you.

Actually, he's not
your real father.

That means you're but the
son of some concubine...

...a man who doesn't know
who his father is.

How can I possibly give my precious
daughter to someone so lowly?

But, what if I return with my
parents? What then?!

That depends on what happens...
when your parents and I talk.

Kisoya... why won't you tell
me the name of my father?!

Hey! Why won't you tell
me who my father is?!

Why won't you
tell me?!

Why do you say that keeping it
a secret is for own my good?!

If you're doing it for my sake, then
tell me! Tell me who my father is!

Tell me! Mother!
Tell me!

Next! Next! Who's next?!

You friggin' brat!
Brat! Twerp!

You womanizing, drunken
crazy bastard!

Forget about your

As of today, we're no longer teacher
and student... you're expelled!

You are to never step into
this dojo ever again!

"To become a samurai is to master the
sword?!" To hell with it!

"To become a samurai is to master the
sword?!" To hell with it! What?!

"As of today, we're no longer teacher
and student?!" That's for me to say!

This world never works the
way you want it to anyway!

I, Niiro Tsuruchiyo, will live
my life my own way!

As of that day, Sir Tsuruchiyo...
left this house as well.

Oh, my... from that day
on, he became... a rolling stone, tumbling
down a steep hill.

Does that mean, Sir
Tsuruchiyo is...

...dead, as far as we're

That's correct, sir.

He's no longer living
in this world.

Sir Nozaka...

...even if you should meet someone that
resembles Tsuruchiyo in every way...

...he's no longer...
Niiro Tsuruchiyo.

What happened to Sir Tsuruchiyo
over the next five years...?

Well, you know very well
just what happened...

I understand now.

Actually, I understand
very well now.

But, I'm not the Princess
Kiku that you speak of.

I cannot possibly do anything
for Sir Niiro.

No, you should not
be so concerned.

Still, no matter what foolish
deeds he's done...

...if it can be repaid with money,
then I, Kisoya, will...

And, then... well,

If you ever get
a chance to...

...I know he can be like a
wolf sometimes, but...

...please say something kind once
in a while, a "hello" would do.

Yes, of course.

One, two...
One, two...


Thank you for your

Here you go, ma'am!

Here you go, ma'am!
Welcome back, ma'am!

Welcome back, ma'am!

Is Sir Niiro in the "Paulownia Room?"
Welcome back, ma'am!

Is Sir Niiro in the "Paulownia Room?"

Is Sir Niiro in the "Paulownia Room?"
Oh! He's gone home, ma'am!

"Gone home?"

Madame, no more.
No more, I'm fine.

It's just ordinary home cooking,
but did you like it?

Very good! Very
good indeed!

Somehow... I feel at ease only
when I'm at your place.

It's intriguing.

Well, how could someone like you
be so out of control at Sagamiya?

Well, don't worry about that.

Well, don't worry about that.
Sir Niiro, would you like more sake?

Sir Niiro, would you like more sake?

No, I've had plenty already.
Sir Niiro, would you like more sake?

But, you know...

Well... I just can't understand

What is it?

What is it?
Something about you.

What don't you understand
about me?

Your life... It seems to me
to be peacefulness itself.

Why then... have you
joined the cause?

It should be obvious to you. My
reason is the same as yours.

No. You shouldn't
joke about it.

I'm different from you.

If I don't do something, I'll either
starve like a stray dog...

...or have to live
like a bandit.

"In order to stay dry, you've got to cross
bridges, no matter how dangerous."

On the other hand... your situation
is completely different.

You resigned from a comfortable 300-
koku post as a Shogunate aide!

My principles, you see... are contained
in the books you see there.

The world is fast changing
around us.

The 300-year old feudal govern-
ment of the Shogunate... doomed, thanks to the arrival of the
American Black Ships at Shimoda.

The world is moving
in a new direction...

...and I want to help push it
forward with all my might.

My feelings are the same as yours.

My feelings are the same as yours.
No, it's different. I...

No, it's different. I...

Well, listen!
No, it's different. I...

You're deliberately blinding yourself
to what's really essential...

...and putting the blame
on something else.

We are both at the center of a vortex
of revolutionary change.

We're trapped in an unstoppable,
enormous whirlpool...

And, everyone is thinking...
"I've got to do something."

No, I'm not like that.

For me, this is the surest, quickest
way of becoming a noble samurai.

In other words... I want to live more
like a human being... And that's all.

What's the matter?

What's the matter?
"Like a human being," you said?

"Like a human being," you said?

Why, is that crazy?
"Like a human being," you said?

Why, is that crazy?

Why, is that crazy?
No, it's not crazy.

In essence, I feel the
same way you do.

However, what I am doing... I'm
not doing just for myself...

...but, for the whole
human race... that everyone can live like human
beings. That's all that I wish for.

I don't understand...

I don't understand
it at all.

There's only one thing
that I understand...


...that you, Kurihara Einosuke,
are a good man. That's all.

Oh, Ma'am, please
don't mind me.

By the way, where's young Eiichiro?

By the way, where's young Eiichiro?
Oh, he's sound asleep.

Ah, "Strong becomes a child that
sleeps often," like they say, eh?

Well, I'd better get
going myself.

Give yourself a break, Sir Niiro. Why
don't you stay here tonight?

No, I cannot
do that.

It might be a disheveled hut, but for
me, it's my one and only castle.

By going home to my castle, I
can sleep the way I want to...

...with my knees
in my arms!

Please excuse us for coming
in while you were away.

We would like to make a formal
request of you, Niiro.

A request?

A request?

We'd like you to assassinate
the traitor in our midst.

A traitor?!
Who is it?

A former Yada clansman from
Joshu, Kurihara Einosuke.


It can't be true!

Besides, what evidence
do you have?!

As they say, "Before accusing,
question seven times!"

Actually, Niiro... to be honest,
we suspected you too at first.

But, we found that there were
no grounds to suspect you...

...and that Kurihara Einosuke is the
traitor. We apologize for this.

Why do you say that Kurihara Einosuke
is the traitor?! Explain!

Are you familiar
with his wife?

Yes, I am. She is an admirable,
wonderful wife.

What about her older sister?

What about her older sister?
Her sister? No, I don't know her.

The sister of Kurihara's wife is named
Chiyo... She is the Lady Ochiyo...

...a concubine of Matsudaira Sahyono-
suke, Lord of the Yada clan in Joshu!


Upon learning this, we too were stunned.

No... We were being
too trusting.

Niiro... Matsudaira Sahyonosuke
and Kurihara could be...

...considered to be

Lady Ochiyo has often visited Kurihara's
mansion in Honjo-Koume.

Thus, anything could... No... everything
will, via Sahyonosuke... relayed to Li Naosuke,
the devil himself!


...that alone does not prove that
Kurihara acted on li's behalf!


...are you saying, then, that you've never
suspected Kurihara of anything, ever?

He's not of Mito, Satsuma
or Choshuu provinces.

And... I don't mean to insult you... he's
not an opportunist like you either.

Matsudaira's close affiliation with the
Shogun means they're close to Li, too.

Besides, Kurihara was a trusted aide of
Matsudaira, the head of the Yada clan.

So why did he join us?

So why did he join us?
Well, that's because... It's because...

Niiro... our decisive moment
is just over the horizon.

When we decide on the date,
and carry out our mission...

...what will happen to us if
li's men are forewarned?

We'll be arrested
for sure!

And then we'll all be hung
from the tops of trees!

Anyone suspicious must be eliminated
as fast as possible, no matter what.

I refuse to do it...
I cannot do it!

Then, who will?

Kurihara has mastered the
secrets of the Nen Style...

Even two or three of our comrades
wouldn't stand a chance.

Indeed, he'd cut them all
down in an instant.

And, if we send many men, it'll stir
up a lot of trouble and attention.

You, Niiro... You're the only one
who can destroy Kurihara!

Here's the plan. Kojima will tell him
that, even though it's late... emergency meeting will be held at
Yamazakiya, by the Nihonbashi Bridge.

You'll be waiting for Kurihara by the river-
side, where people won't be around.

There, you will slay
him in one stroke.


Fine. Well, that's too bad.

There's not much more we can
do to try and convince you.

Niiro... effective immediately,
you are to...

...leave our Elder Assassination

What did you say?!

We were hoping that you were with us,
and that we could count on you.

But, if you can't be convinced, then...
there's nothing to be done. Farewell.


I pledge that... I'll serve you, and
that I will destroy Li Naosuke!

But, Kurihara Einosuke must
be destroyed first.

We can't possibly proceed
with our plans, if...

...we have a viper at our
breast! Farewell!


Niiro... Then, will you...
take care of Kurihara?

Well, you'd prefer not
to act alone, I'm sure.

Don't worry. You'll have some help.
Three good swordsmen, in fact.

No, they'd only be a hindrance!
I will kill him by myself!

Who's there?!

Why... it's you,

You heard about the meeting
at Yamazakiya, right?

Don't give me the
wrong idea...

Standing there like that, one might think
you want to test your sword on flesh.

Come on. Let's
get going.

But... how did you know that
I was coming this way?

Niiro... what's wrong? You don't seem
like your usual self tonight...

Niiro! Why?!
Why, Niiro?!

Why?! Why?!

Why?! Tell
me why!

Why! Why! Why?!



Why me...?


"'Tis worthless to leave behind
valuable things.

"What's worth leaving behind is what's
not valuable... Mother's...

"...memories, imperceptible,

"That is the reality of this
ever-changing world."

Oh? You're not
having any?

Sir Niiro, how about
a drink of hot sake?

Sir Niiro?

Sir Niiro?


But, you shouldn't drink so much.

Be quiet!

Then, perhaps you should
make that your last.

"The stomach is a part of the body also,"
as they say... You should be careful.

This is crazy! You

Ma'am, step outside! Excuse us.
Please excuse us for a moment!

Niiro, something's come up! Something
horribly unexpected!

What is it? Is our
mission starting?

No, that's not it! Well, Niiro... we've
found out who the real traitor was!

K... Kurihara Einosuke was innocent!

K... Kurihara Einosuke was innocent!


It was all an awful mistake!

Kurihara didn't
betray us.

The conspirator who
spied for Li was...

...without a doubt, Masui
Sobei, the Staff Officer.

Sir Kenmotsu is conducting an
inquiry back at the mansion!

Explain it!

Masui Sobei, a former
Mito clansman...

...who had been a warehouse clerk,
of 80-koku income. 35 years old.

In early February, this year,
the said individual...

...covertly maintained a second residence
in the hills of Kaminegishi...

...into which, he installed
a mistress.

The source of his funds
came under suspicion.

Sir Kenmotsu ordered Seki Tetsunosuke
to conduct an investigation...

...and Masui was observed meeting with
a samurai near the Nihonbashi Bridge... the tea parlor "Hatsune"
in Yanagi Village.

When Seki Tetsunosuke
followed them...

...he saw them enter a warehouse
owned by Li Naosuke...

...near Nihonbashi's southern,
eighth district.

After obtaining the samurai's
name from the gate guard... was revealed that he was Takigawa
Genba, an assistant to a Jr. Elder.

After interrogating Masui about his
connection to Takigawa Genba... was found that Genba worked
for li's vassal, Nagano Shuzen...

...and he has been secretly talking
to Masui for a long time.

On January 31st, he received 20-ryo,
and a further 30 on February 21st...

...totalling 50-ryo. Masui Sobei received
these funds from Takigawa Genba.

He confessed to conspiring
against us.

Thus, he is hereby sentenced
to death.

Then... Kurihara Einosuke had...
nothing to do with it?!

Niiro... You're such a simple-
minded fellow.


You take things too seriously.
You're too frank.

If you don't become a little
more dispassionate... can't possibly
destroy Elder Li!

That has nothing
to do with this!

Kurihara Einosuke was
one of our comrades!

Also... he had a wife, and
even an innocent child.

The blood of
Elder Li...

...and the blood of Kurihara Einosuke...
what's the difference?

Sympathy has no
place here!

From the start, this has been
the nature of our mission.

We can't allow our enemies to
wound us without reprisal.

Our hands must get dirty
with blood, too.

Listen to me, Niiro!

You must become a little
more cold-blooded.

By the 3rd of March, for certain!

By the 3rd of March, for certain!

On March 3rd, in the center
atrium of Edo Castle...

...a Joumi Day Celebration, important to
the Shogun's family, will take place.

In other words, the so-called
"Peach Observance."

Without a doubt, Elder
Li Naosuke will attend.

One traitor... and one suspected
of being a traitor...

...a total of two comrades
have been eliminated.

Finally, our mission
can commence!

Get rid of him.

Get rid of him.
Yes, sir!


Yes, sir.

Erase every single record concerning
Kurihara Einosuke and Masui Sobei.

We must go down in history
as devout men of principle.

There's absolutely no need to record
anything about traitors.

The mission... was
set for March 3rd.

March 3rd of the First Year of Man'en
(1860). The "Peach Observance."

Tomorrow is the "Peach

Since I've come to Yokoyama Village, I
thought I'd buy these while I'm here...

An Emperor Doll and
an Empress Doll...

...they look so peaceful

They're timelessly splendid whenever
you look at them.


...many things happen along
the road of life, don't they?

They certainly do.

How 'bout it... If I become a noble samurai
with 2- or 300-koku in income...

...why don't you become
my wife?

But, I cannot possibly be
apart from Sagamiya.

Even better,
Sir Niiro...

...why not say farewell to your dream
of becoming some stuffy samurai?

Why not come live with me?

Why not come live with me?
No, I cannot do that.

But... you can't go on chasing
a dream forever.

No, it's not a dream... It
will soon be reality.

You can't live like that
forever, Sir Niiro.

It may be a dream...

No, let's say it is a dream. At
least, until it does come true.

But, Sir Nosaka...
It can't be!

Well, I too think that
it's impossible.

But, Kisoya...

You must be familiar with the Tengu
Faction of the Mito clan?


A part of their group is in Edo, and...

...we know for a fact that they're planning
on carrying out an unfavorable scheme.


Well, I'd like to believe
otherwise, but...

...what if what we fear
does happen?

You see, the Lord seems to be
concerned about the matter.

Although Tsuruchiyo's "death"
was officially recorded...

...the Lord has recently been asking
about him... most emphatically.

The fearless Lord Himself...
asking three times!

Now that we've come this far, he
can't claim his official lineage.

If... even if it were only a glance...
If our Lord could...

Yet, we cannot not let Sir Tsuruchiyo
know anything.

This is such a shameful way of doing
things... but we have no choice.

The feelings of the one and the
only His Highness, Lord Li...

...and your consideration and
concerns, Sir Nosaka...

...are completely understood, sir! Allow
me, Kisoya, to see what can be done!


One, two...
One, two...


Oh! Thanks again for the other day.

Is he here, by any chance?

Is he here, by any chance?
You mean Sir Niiro?

You mean Sir Niiro?

You mean Sir Niiro?


No, sir.

No, sir.

That's odd...
No, sir.

I went looking for him along the banks
of the Kamakura, but he wasn't there.

So I assumed he'd be here.

So I assumed he'd be here.
Oh, I see.

I did the same thing when I happened
to be in Yokoyama this morning...

And, what happened?

And, what happened?
Well, he was in then.

I bothered him for a little while
before coming home.

I see... I wonder where
he could be...?

Is this... an urgent matter, sir?

Is this... an urgent matter, sir?
Well, it may be, it may not be...

Well, it may be, it may not be...

Well, then, please come in! Come in!
Well, it may be, it may not be...

Well, then, please come in! Come in!

Well, then, please come in! Come in!
Yes! Thank you.

At times, he can be like a detached kite
drifting away! Such a troublemaker!

It'd be nice if he'd walk in
here while we're talking.

Oh, Sir Kisoya... didn't you say
that it's an urgent matter?

Well, it's not exactly
that urgent, but...

You see, a ship carrying some lumber
will be arriving tonight from Kiso.

By evening, I must get going
to take care of that... I thought it'd be nice if I could see
him during the day, just for a moment.

I see. In that case, I will send my clerks
to a place where he might be found.

Though, I cannot guarantee
that he'll be there.

Oh, if I could impose
on you to do that!

And... where might that
be, if I may so ask?

The Mito Mansion
in Koishigawa.

"The Mito?!"

"The Mito?!" The first time that he came here
he was with Mito people, amongst others.

Since then, men from Mito are always
coming here asking for Sir Niiro.

So, that's the only place
that I can think of.

Sir Tsuruchiyo has been... associating
with Mito men?!

Yes. They all seem to be on rather
good terms with each other.

Well, at any rate, in that case, he
might be back by now, so...

...I shall head over to the
Kamakura riverside now.

Besides, using a palanquin, I could
be at the Mito Mansion in no time!

Oh? Why, it's you, Okiku.

Oh? Why, it's you, Okiku.
Sir Niiro hasn't been back yet?

Sir Niiro hasn't been back yet?

It doesn't seem so...
Sir Niiro hasn't been back yet?

It doesn't seem so...

It doesn't seem so...
What about the Mito Mansion?

It's not important enough to
get me to go all that way.

Okiku... what brings
you here?

Sir Kisoya...

Sir Kisoya...

I... Okiku of Sagamiya... feel
a bit of resentment!


I sense that there is something about
him that you're not telling me.

Even if you can't tell anyone else...
I ask that you tell me, of all people!

I know it's rude for me... Okiku of
Sagamiya... to say this, but... feels like you're not
being frank with me.

Why, it's not whether or
not I'm being frank...

It's just that, if I may be blunt...
I have something on my mind.

But it's something that only
I can be concerned about.

I don't know if it'll actually
be a problem or not.

What is it... that you're
concerned about?

You said that Sir Tsuruchiyo was quite
friendly with the men of Mito.

When I heard that,
I panicked.

Is there a problem with him
associating with the Mito?

Okiku... you do know about
the Tengu Faction of Mito?

Yes, well... that they caused a great
commotion. I know that much.

Unscrupulous members of the faction
have been sneaking into Edo.

That's the rumor that's
going around.

Okiku... about the men Sir
Tsuruchiyo was with...

Are they new
to Edo?

Now that you mention it...

...I've seen some new faces... who,
I'm told, were recently posted here.

"New faces?!"

Yes. Among my many
Mito customers...

...are new faces with
Satsuma accents... well as some who seem
to be from Choshuu.

Okiku, listen... About
Sir Tsuruchiyo...

Have you noticed anything unusual
about him recently?

No... Nothing

The other day... Well, when he came
to visit me for the first time... five years, he told me
something quite puzzling.

He said he'd soon become a noble
samurai... or words to that effect.

Oh, he told me that, too!

Oh, he told me that, too!


It was just this morning, in fact.

I thought that he must
be dreaming, but...

...he said that he would soon
become a noble samurai.

Okiku... I'm afraid
that he'll...


Forgive me, Kurihara...


I'll do it...

Finally, tomorrow

For both of us, I shall
strive to do my best!

If I may ask, Sir

...what did you mean when you said you
were concerned about something?

Sir Kisoya...

No, it's just my imagination!
It can't possibly be for real!

I just... cannot make
any sense of it all.

Just exactly what are
you talking about?

Okiku, it's just
a rumor.

Understand? It's just some
rumor floating around.

A group, led by Mito men, along with
Satsuma and Choshuu Ronin...

...plans to assassinate Honorable
Elder Li... or something.

That is ridiculous! It can't
possibly be true!

With the world in a
state of turmoil...

...unfounded rumors are bound to
appear and be spread around.

But, if we paid attention to them
all, we'd all die from worry.

Very true! I agree with you.
I hope that's the case here.

But, what if...

Just, what if...

Just, what if...
I understand.

Sir Kisoya, your concern is that...
what if Sir Tsuruchiyo...

...becomes one of
the conspirators.

These days, those wanting to become
a samurai can do so by...

...being of service to the clans of Mito,
Satsuma, or even Choshuu.

Y... Yes... that's right.

But, what's so wrong
with that, then?


Sir Kisoya, I too cannot believe...

...that such a thing could possibly
happen right here in Edo.

But, if it were to happen, it wouldn't
mean the end of the Tokugawa.

And if it happened, Sir Niiro would
become an honorable figure.

It's so courageous...
It's so like him... depend on nobody but himself.
It's a goal worth pursuing.

No! It can't be allowed! Y... You
can't be serious! It's ridiculous!

Nowhere in this world does the child
kill the parent... It's absurd!

Okiku... the truth
is that...

...Sir Tsuruchiyo's
real father is...

...the Lord of Hikone,

So, anyway, Kojima...

...Niiro is not aware
of this yet?

Correct, sir.

As I informed you earlier, sir, in
preparation for tomorrow...

...I went to the Kamakura riverside
to confirm our plans with him.

However, Niiro was nowhere
to be found.

Just then, Kisoya Masagoro entered
from the front, a bit hesitantly.

I immediately sought
a place to hide.

A while ago, I reported that
there seemed to be...

...a mystery regarding the close relation-
ship between Niiro and Kisoya.

I became somewhat curious
about that, sir.

Before long, Okiku of
Sagamiya arrived...

...and they discussed the incredible
story which I've just reported!

I knew that I had to report here
as soon as possible, sir, but...

...I couldn't move until after
the two of them had left!

Also, the way they
were talking...

...leads me to believe they'll visit Niiro
tomorrow, to tell him the truth.

Take care of it by tonight...

Who shall we send?

Who shall we send?
We need our own men for tomorrow.

So, Sir Hoshino, perhaps you ought
to contact our friends in the clan...

...and ask them to dispatch people
unrelated to tomorrow's events.


But, if many men are running around
in the middle of the night...

...the suspicions of the gate guards
will surely be aroused.

Better to do it early
in the morning...

...using ten or so strong

Please make the necessary
arrangements at once, sir!

"Sir Niiro"

"This is a matter of
great urgency.

"When you wake up in the morning...
please come to Fukagawa.

"Please be sure
to come."

It cannot
be done.

Because, tomorrow, finally... will
deliver the chance of a lifetime...

...a major event, the outcome
of which only heaven knows.

Oh? I'd expected that
it would get chilly...

...but this is really cold for
the "Peach Observance."

If you're thieves, you must've
had too much to drink!

Reveal your

Oh? You're all unfamiliar faces...

Which House are you from?
State your names!

Damn you!

As scheduled, at 5 a.m., the eighteen
comrades gathered... front of Atago Shrine
at the top of Mt. Atago.

Then, they went to the Sakuradamon
Gates, and made themselves ready.

Sir Hoshino Kenmotsu, along with
one man, assumed the vanguard.

They stationed themselves
inside a nearby tea parlor.

Hagiwara Matasaburo and the six men
of the First Unit, on the right...

...took positions by a trench
near the checkpoint.

The Main Unit, on the left, waited in front
of Matsudaira Osuminokami's Mansion.

It consisted of Sir Sumida Keijiro,
the Sub-Leader, and six others.

To the rear of the Main Unit were three
men lead by Kadowaki Shozaemon.

They stationed themselves at
the side of Uesugi Mansion.

The snow, which started falling the night
before, showed no signs of abating.

Would the heavens bring us
fortune... or misfortune?

It usually doesn't snow this
much in the morning.

It's certainly rare during an occasion
like the "Peach Observance."

It sure is. By the way... have you
become an officer yet, or...?

No... Things don't seem
to go my way.

But, soon my dreams
will come true.

That's excellent, sir! I hope
it happens soon!


Yes, sir.

Yes, sir.

The entourage will come now?
Yes, sir.

The entourage will come now?

The entourage will come now?
Yes, sir.

As today is March 3rd, the procession
celebrates the "Peach Observance."


But, with all this snow... the Daimyo
must be having a hard time.

Lady... I'll leave the money here.

Lady... I'll leave the money here.
Yes, thank you, sir.

Arrow ends and a
circle means...

...Sir Mori, Lord
of Ecchuu.


I'm glad I made
it in time!

No... I'm sorry that I couldn't
get here sooner.

I was assaulted this morning by nine
assassins, hence the delay.

I'm afraid they might
have been li's men.

Are the other comrades
all right?

So far so good.


...all the Choshuu men... and, except
for Arimura Jizaemon...

...all the Satsuma men...
failed to show up.

As a result... we're slightly

...and so I've been impatiently
waiting for you to arrive.

My apologies.

Where should I
place myself?

Just like we planned, you're with
the First Unit, on the right.

To the right of the


I expect you to
do your best.

Sir Kenmotsu... the assassins
that I fought earlier...

...they weren't sent
by you, were they?

Don't be ridiculous.

A true Ronin, a starving dog...

...nobody can predict
what he might do.

Besides... should the Mito fail
to distinguish themselves...

...certainly, you wouldn't
want the world to know.

Might as well play it
safe and kill him.

Now, that's a plan that Sir Hoshino, the
cold-blooded one, might consider.

Here we are, critically

Niiro, how dare you accuse
me! It's ridiculous!

Wait! Even if you try to leave
me out, I won't let you!

I've long waited for this chance to gain
renown, here at the Sakurada Gates!

With strength paramount... I'll take
li's head with my own hands!

I won't allow anyone to get in
my way... be he friend or foe!

With you in such a frame of mind,
we can all feel invincible.

Well, then... show me your prowess.
Go and behead Li!

Well, then...

Sir Niiro!

Sir Niiro!

Please, sirs! Sirs! I have
a complaint against you!

Insolent fool! Get out of the way!

Insolent fool! Get out of the way!
I've a complaint against you!

Receiving Sir Hoshino
Kenmotsu's signal...

...the First Unit attacks the
palanquin's vanguard.

Next, they engage
the rearguard.

The Main Troop storms Li "Kamon-
nokami" Naosuke, head on.

Damn it!

Damn it!
Damn it!

Damn it!

Damn it!

No, you fools!

Fools! The fools!

Fools! Idiots!

Let go!

Damn you!


Open the gate!
Open the gate!

Open the gate!
Open the gate!

Fools! This means that Japan holds
no future for the samurai!

Niiro Tsuruchiyo,
a Bishuu Ronin...

...beheaded Elder Li Naosuke, not
knowing that Li was his father.

However, by order
of Sir Hoshino...

...all records concerning Niiro
were purged the night before.

Thus, Niiro Tsuruchiyo was never
a member of our conspiracy.

However, the fact remains... that the
one who took the head of Elder Li...

...was, without a doubt, his own son...
Niiro Tsuruchiyo, himself.


I won't let this head go for
less than 200-koku!

No... even 300 would
be a bargain!


Here's today's paramount

Elder li's head is in
the hands of...

...a Bishuu Ronin,
Niiro Tsuruchiyo!

It was March 3rd, the
first year of Man'en.

On the day we celebrate the "Peach
Observance," it was unusual... see Edo cloaked
in unrelenting snow.

Such were the events that transpired
at the Sakurada Gates.

"The End"