Synopsis by Rebecca Flint Marx
This satirical spin on the ninja genre from veteran director Masahiro Shinoda opens in 1581 with the invasion of Iga, a "hidden land," by Oda, a rampaging warlord. 50,000 troops sweep through Iga -- a province already developing as a center for ninja arts -- slaughtering everyone and everything in their path. Among the few to survive is a ninja by the name of Juzo (Kiichi Nakai). Ten years later, when a new warlord, Toyotomi (Mako Iwamatsu), has taken power, Juzo is sought out by his former master to kill the tyrant, who is busy making plans to invade Korea and Ming-dynasty China. As Juzo embarks on his mission, he enters into a game of mutual complicity with the enigmatic Kohagi (Mayu Tsuruta), a spy for Toyotomi who nearly kills and then seduces the ninja. When Juzo finally does arrive at Toyotomi's castle, he meets Kazama (Takaya Kamikawa), another Iga ninja, who wants to stop Juzo so that he can get enough credibility to become a legitimate samurai.