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WHEN THE LAST SWORD
IS DRAWN aka MIBU GISHI DEN
UK: Tartan Films
Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Koichi Sato, Yui Natsukawa, Takehiro Murata, Miki Nakatani, Yuji Miyake, Ayumu Saito
Director: Yojiro Takita
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
UK: 137 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong violence
UK Release Date: 17 December 2004
WHEN THE LAST SWORD IS DRAWN is a film based on the bestseller novel by Naoki Prize winning writer Asada Jiro. Asada Jiro has written many novels, including Love Letter, Poppoya, Tengoku Made no Hyaku Mairu, Prison Hotel,which were made into films, dramas, plays, and Kinpika, Tenkirimatsu Yamigatari and others made into comics.
At the close of the Edo period in Kyoto, Japan, WHEN THE LAST SWORD IS DRAWN centres around the main character, Kanichiro Yoshimura, an obscure member of the celebrated Shinsengumi, which is widely known as a group of patriotic samurai whose duty was to guard and defend Kyoto, the capital of Japan at that time.
Kanichiro is the "gladiator" of the group, who is by far the best swordsman among its members, but is also attached to money so much that his fellow samurai call him a moneygrubber. He accepts jobs despised by others, takes the money and saves it. His behaviour is far removed from the usual image of a samurai. His true purpose, however, lies in supporting his family left behind in his hometown, a far off northern province, and he struggles to the end to survive and provide for his family. The sense of purpose is what keeps him going, and he stakes everything on his motto "Not to die, but to live."
At that time in the imperial capital, the Shinsengumi is making a name for itself as a group of brave swordsmen, but their organization is crumbling from the inside. Hajime Saito, one of the leading figures of the group watches this situation with a cynical eye...