Sword of desperation

Sword of desperation

DVD - 2012 | Japanese
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Expert swordsman Kanemi Sanzaemon is, first and foremost, a man of principle. In order to save his clan from the corrupting influence of his lord's favorite concubine, he publicly assassinates her, fully expecting it will result in his own death by seppuku. Instead, he is sentenced to solitary confinement for an entire year, then released under one inexplicable condition: he must now serve as the lord's bodyguard.
Publisher: [United States] : AnimEigo, [2012]
ISBN: 9781565675537
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (114 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 21, 2015

This is a Japanese period drama originally released in 2010, based on the novel (『必死剣鳥刺し』) by Shuhei Fujisawa (藤原周平).
Why did he kill his lord's favorite concubine?
Did he fall in love with her?
Did he kill her for a ceratin political reason?
How come he didn't face his death penalty?
You will have so many questions at the beginning.
Mind you that he is a talented swordsman.
At the end, you will know the real reason why he didn't receive a death sentence.
The mysterious thing is that he would die twice.
The's is the secret of his swordsmanship.
It is a gripping, thrilling and shocking drama of the complicated samurai world.

May 06, 2015

This really isn't a formal review of the traditional sorts, but I felt like adding my two cents in anyway. I'm not really sure why I even rented this movie to begin with, but I was in the mood for a good "samurai" sword slinging movie that wasn't all about crazy martial arts in jumping and flying around like circus performers (i.e. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-ish types of martial arts movies). I was looking for a good story, with a bit of sword play.

Well...this movie unfortunately dissapointed on both fronts. The storyline seemed interesting on the cover, but just got weirder and weirder in the actual movie. Simply put... a ranking samurai assasinates his lord's favorite concubine due to her obvious control / manipulation of him (the lord) and thus leading his domain towards financial / social ruin. The samurai is spared death, confined to a year of exile, then later appointed as his lord's head of security. There's a side-story to this about his niece...who has been his closest supporter and caretaker during his year of home confinement. Certain behaviors in interaction between these two characters lead me to think something odd about them, but I figured "Nah...no way. They wouldn't go there"... and of course I was proven wrong when the samurai and his niece end up boinking each other and yeah....it's just all downhill from there.

Also...the samurai's sense of morals and ethics seemed messed up in regards to his lord. There is an opposing family member who sought to kill the lord due to his uncaring ways of treating his domain and people... but it was the samurai's duty to protect his lord from that opposing family member. Ummm?... so basically, his duty is to kill the one guy who could save the domain and regain some prosperity to its people. Wasn't that the samurai's desire in the first place?.... to prevent the domain from crumbling?

Overall... this movie left me confused and unsatisfied. Would I recommend it?... most likely not.

Feb 05, 2015

Great depiction of feudal Japan's power structure and the underlying struggle of the serfs. One man comes to the defense of the poor and tries to regain family honor.

Jan 24, 2014

Viewers were given subtle hints on what conspired to a public assassination, a slow burning love affair and dirty/bloody samurai politics during the Edo period.

Apr 28, 2012

Very slow start. But the ending is great. It truly deserves the name "sword of desperation".


Add a Quote

Jan 25, 2014


The body of the fox became the Sessho-seki, (殺生石) or Killing Stone, which kills anyone that comes in contact with it. Tamamo-no-Mae’s spirit became Hoji and haunted the stone.

Jan 25, 2014

Noh dance 2 of 2: The two mediums donned their human apparel and with several tens of thousands of horsemen surrounded the plains of Nasumo. Pursued relentlessly by the hunters, the fox finally fell to an arrow, and lost its life in an instant ...

Jan 25, 2014

Noh dance 1 of 2: The two mediums, Kazusu and Miura, were instructed to go to the Nasumio plain and defeat the shape shifting fax, The fox resembles a dog, therefore to defeat the fox, practice with the dogs. Thus advised, they practiced shooting digs for a hundred days (special arrows were used to avoid injuring the dogs.) It is said that this was the birth of dog hunting ...

Jan 25, 2014

Opening Noh dance scene depicted two demons (mediums) went to dog hunting to catch the shape shifting fox. To catch the fox, one must kill all the dogs as the fox disguised among them.


Add Age Suitability

Jun 06, 2013

Atsuo thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SCCLD

To Top