Shura Yukihime (Princess Blade, 2001, Japan)

I am not very familiar with Japanese martial art films genre, but I am aware that it exists, is popular and huge. But I could not place Princess Blade within that framework, so I have to analyze the movie through the lenses I have.

I liked:

  • The fact that the hero was a woman. More specifically a young princess. Played by Yumiko Shaku, who was apparently already a pop star, when she shot this movie, her first.
  • The fights were well enough choreographed. But I have seen some better ones too. They were enjoyable with just a tiny bit more gore than I like.
  • Some of the mise-en-scene was composed eloquently. There were at least 5 images in the movie I would like to look at as large scale paintings, because I think they would provide more aesthetic pleasure that way. One of them is the heroine standing at the edge of the water at the very end of the movie.

I was confused about:

  • The ethical aspects of the movie were confusing. There was a lot of betrayal involved and I could not exactly figure out the reasons behind them. What’s the message, if any?
  • I was also upset to see those good characters to die, who would not have been killed in an American version of the same story. Looks like I got conditioned by Hollywood too much.
  • The protagonist sword fight was not top-notch. She could handle the blades in slow and practically still shots and it even looked good in her hand. Having a movie titled Princess Blade, where the princess is depicted as the best swordsperson ever, while she was clearly not is confusing

Did not like

  • The post-apocalyptic era and scenery was mostly hinted at and not shown enough. This was the main reason I watched the movie and was disappointed in this regard.
  • The music. You may ask what music. Exactly: there were long stretches of uncomfortable silence. I can appreciate silence when it has a dramatic role. Here it was simple missing, I considered it a mistake.