Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo – 1970
In Zatoichi vs. Yojimbo, the blind swordsman Zatoichi has to battle Yojimbo (Toshiro Mifune), the title character from Akira Kurosawa’s famous film. At the beginning of the film, Zatoichi is planning on retiring, yet his village is besieged by outlaws; eventually he fights, then befriends Yojimbo on his way to securing his village. The movie is a light-hearted parody of samurai films and a comic take on the genre, boasting a wonderfully funny performance from Mifune.
With a price on his head, Ichi seeks tranquillity in a favorite village. Since his last visit, it has fallen prey to Boss Masagoro, the son of a
merchant rumored to have stolen gold from the shogunate. The boss has hired Yojimbo as his hard-drinking enforcer, but Yojimbo is both a spy for the shogunate, trying to find the gold, and in love with the merchant’s unwilling mistress, Umeno. Ichi hires on as the merchant’s masseur and buys Umeno’s freedom with his employer’s own money. This embarrasses Yojimbo who withdraws from a pact with Ichi to stir up trouble between father and son and their gangs. As the two sides fight, Ichi finds the gold and sets up a final set of confrontations.