Shinobi: Heart Under Blade
|Shinobi – Heart Under Blade or Kouga Ninpouchou Basilisk – The Live-Action is a 2005 Japanese romantic drama film directed by Ten Shimoyama and written by Kenya Hirata. The story is an adaptation of Futaro Yamada’s novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, which depicts the clash between two ninja clans, Iga and Kouga, and the fated love between Gennosuke (Kouga) and Oboro (Iga). The theme song of this movie was “HEAVEN” by Ayumi Hamasaki.
On February 6, 2007, Funimation Entertainment released the film in the United States. The contents of the DVD is a 2-Disc Set with the main movie available in Japanese and a new dub from Funimation themselves. The 2nd Disc contains Special Features and making-ofs. All of the films are subtitled in English.
A manga and an anime called Basilisk are based on the same novel and bear the same character names as in the novel and the movie. Although their characters in the film are highly altered from both the original novel and the manga/anime series.
Set immediately after the Japanese Sengoku period, Iga and Kouga, two mercenary clans that have been waging a vendetta against each other over hundreds of years. Around 1614, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the ruler of Japan and the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, perceives the threat posed by the two clans. Attempting to consolidate his reign, he deliberately stirs up their feud by inviting the clans to choose their five best warriors to fight to the death. Designated as the leaders of the two clans respectively, Kouga Gennosuke (Joe Odagiri) and Oboro (Yukie Nakama), who have secretly married, are unwillingly embroiled in the political plot. Hence, they have to make a difficult decision.
Initially, being peaceful and knowing the preciousness of life, they try their utmost to prevent this meaningless and brutal fight by questioning the shogunate’s motives. After the deaths of all their comrades, however, they gradually accept their fate. In the last fight, Kouga Gennosuke chooses not to defend himself and allows his lover Oboro to kill him, thus letting the clan of Iga “win”. Meanwhile, Ieyasu sends his armies to exterminate the ninja villages. To accomplish Gennosuke’s hope of saving them, Oboro implores Tokugawa Ieyasu not to destroy the villages and, as a show of her sincerity, blinds herself, thereby destroying her most powerful weapons, her eyes (which possess a deadly technique called “Piercing Eyes” (破幻之瞳 “Hagen no Dō” lit. “the pupil of annihilation”?). Moved profoundly by Oboro, Ieyasu withdraws his armies and issues an injunction to protect the ninja villages. For generations hence, the villages live peacefully.