Aya Ueto .... Azumi
Oguri Shun .... Nachi
Narimiya Hiroki .... Ukiha
Kohashi Kenji .... Hyuga
Kaneko Takatoshi .... Amagi
Ishigaki Yuma .... Nagara
Nagayama Eita .... Hiei
Endo Kenichi .... Sajiki Isshin
Odagiri Joe .... Bijomaru Mogami
Ueto Aya as Azumi
Ishigaki Yuma as Nagara
Kuriyama Chiaki as Kozue
Oguri Shun as Ginkaku / Nachi
Kitamura Kazuki as Kanbee Inoue
Endo Kenichi as Kinkaku
Orphaned as a little girl, Azumi (Aya Ueto) is raised in the forest with a group of ten children by their master (Yoshio Harada), who trains them to be peerless assassins. Azumi and Nachi (Shun Oguri) are the strongest of the fighters. When the group comes of age, the master gives them one final test. He tells them to team up with the person to whom they feel closest. Then he tells them to kill that person, explaining that an assassin never gets to choose whom to kill. The teens reluctantly fight to the death. Then the survivors are brought out of the woods to begin their work, assassinating the corrupt warlords who are preventing peace in the land. The assassins, particularly Azumi, perform their missions with flair, but complications arise. One of the teens (Takatoshi Kaneko) is poisoned by a ninja's blade, one (Kenji Kohashi) falls in love with a circus performer (Aya Okamoto), and Azumi begins to question her desire to live the violent life of an assassin. Meanwhile, one warlord (Naoto Takenaka) cleverly escapes their blades, and together with his bodyguard Kenbei (Kazuki Kitamura) and a "monkey-faced" ninja, Saru (Minoru Matsumoto), they find Bijomaru (Jô Odagiri from Bright Future), a violent madman, release him from prison, and unleash him upon the young team of assassins. Azumi, based on the manga by Yu Koyama, is the first of cult director Ryuhei Kitamura's (Versus) films to be made within the Japanese studio system. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide
Aaaagh! I was going to review this last night but I watched both Azumi's back-to-back and it was late. Plus, I was not in the right mind to post this review. OMG! This movie, especially the first one, was AWESOME. What movie can make you cry in the first 10 minutes? This one did and I cried throughout this one and the second one. Why? Why? Why did the have to kill Nachi at the very beginning? It wasn't fair. And Eita? He is one of Japan's most popular actors! Did he even have a line. Killed right before Nachi! They killed off 2 of Japan's finest in less than 0 minutes. Sheesh!
The suffering Azumi went through. Uuuugh! No girl, woman, whatever should have to lose the man she loves...TWICE!! I was wanting a freakin' happy ending when I realized Oguri Shun was back in the second movie. Whyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!! So for almost 4 hours straight I was a blubbering idiot. Oh don't get me wrong the action was awesome. I started out watching these two movies all alone and gradually a member of my family would start asking questions or sitting next to me about what they heard or had seen. Next thing you know, I have both my sons and my husband sitting next to me. And I, of course, am the only one bawling like a baby.
My only complaint with the movie was the second one. I felt the second one was put together toooooo fast to accomodate the first movie and Azumi fans. The quality wasn't as good and the script seemed rushed to fit what they needed into a 2 hour movie. Hell, there should have been more depth in Azumi's and Ginkaku's relationship. And why was Nagara in the second movie? He didn't do anything except get killed and make me cry even more. That was my only complaint. If you don't want to see Oguri Shun get killed again, don't watch the second one. Don't torture yourself like I did. The first Azumi movie was the best anyway. But if you feel you need some kind of completion then go ahead and watch the second one.
I have to make this comment about Joe. Damn! He is such a versatile actor. I'm looking forward to watching Mushi-shi! He can play good guys, bad guys, whatever-kind-of guys well. If you have to see him at his full potential then watch Shinobi. I saw the anime so I couldn't watch the movie only because well....I know the ending. LOL!