Zatoichi and The Fugitives – 1968
On the road, Ichi (Shintaro Katsu) has a run-in with members of a band of fugitives on the run from the law. He kills two outright after being attacked and leaves an impression with Ogano Genpachiro (Kyosuke Mashida), their leader by slicing a falling snake in two. In a small village, Ichi has another tense meeting with the fugitives and Ogano arrives just in time to warn his impulsive crew to back down. Ichi hooks up with Junan, a local doctor played by the great dramatic actor Takashi Shimura, best known for many standout performances in Akira Kurosawa’s films. In the meantime, the fugitives force themselves onto the village’s local yakuza boss who agrees to hide them from authorities in exchange for killing a representative of the local merchants. The fugitives turn the killing of one man into a massacre as they wipe out the entire household. Things get worse when Ichi is ambushed by the fugitives and takes a bullet. Seriously wounded, he makes a narrow escape and begins to recover with the aid of the doctor and his daughter. But when the yakuza boss fails to find Ichi in order to finish him off, he kidnaps Junan and his daughter. Although still wounded, Ichi strikes back at the yakuza boss and the fugitives with an unearthly vengeance.