Aoyagi’s own performance doesn’t stretch really far in some instances while he does seem to illuminate in some scenes more palpably, and as equally needed in the few poignant moments he shares with Ishii. It’s exemplary of Nishikori’s handling of a film of this scale and sizes, offering a well-balanced period drama with a vast, epic scope that maintains its focus on character given the existential developments that accumulate along the way. You don’t immediately learn much from the subplot about how it all adds up, but you do get a sense of what is happening going into the second act. Actress Tabata Tomoko is instrumental here in the role of Okyo who appears seldom in the film, and mostly where it counts as the film seuges onward in its delivery in both compelling drama and cohesive storytelling.
Gosuke, born in Tatara Village (famous for its steel), has spent his youth being groomed to become the next Murage (Master Blacksmith). After vicious raids on his village, Gosuke leaves his home behind to become a samurai instead. On the way, Gosuke meets Yohei, who invites him to join the honored Oda Army. Gosuke, terrified during his first real battle, deserts the army and returns home.
Writer and director Nishikori Yoshinari’s latest, Tatara Samurai, has had a stellar run in the past year throughout the festival circuit. The film’s course most recently sought several screenings in the U.K. and in the U.S. with a number of wins in Tiburon and Irvine in California, and Cinema On The Bayou in Louisiana before just wrapping up at Ozark Foothills Film Fest in Arkansas in April.
At long last though, a new trailer has already begun making the rounds with a theatrical May 20 release in tow, and with a story set in the Warring States period where an embattled village known for its steel becomes ground zero for a young Blacksmith’s choice in lieu of arms proliferation to either become a soldier, or embrace his samurai spirit. Leading the cast is J-Pop star, actor Aoyagi Sho in reunion with Nishikori’s previous helmer, Konshin; Aoyagi is joined by fellow Exile Tribe members, fellow HiGH&LOW franchise co-star Akira and debut actor Kobayashi Naoki.
Check out the trailer below, as well as the teaser from last year just beneath for added measure.