Kamui Gaiden is the story of a rogue ninja, Kamui, and his journeys as he is relentlessly hunted by the assassin clan he deserted.
I am embarrassed to say that I thought I was first introduced to Kamui through the anime feature, The Dagger of Kamui. The Dagger of Kamui, in fact, has absolutely NOTHING to do with Kamui Gaiden, which was actually based on the original manga series, called Kamui Den (and later The Legend of Kamui series). Forget that both main characters are ninjas and they are both wearing the same outfit and are both being hunted by other more bizarre ninjas. How could I have POSSIBLY gotten these characters confused?!
However, I have no real excuse as I have also previously read the smidgen available of the manga, The Legend of Kamui, released in the U.S. by Viz Media. The movie, Kamui Gaiden, is a very close adaptation of the first two books.
In the story, the run-away ninja Kamui comes across and helps a fisherman who is being sought for a crime. The fisherman, Hanbei, eventually accepts him along with the whole fishing village. However, Hanbei’s wife has a secret of her own. She too is a rogue ninja who has long been hunted for her betrayal and now fearful that Kamui has brought too much attention to her peaceful way of life.
This is essentially a story of finding one’s path and the lesson of trust. It’s a lesson that doesn’t pay out though as things typically turn messy. The movie starts out strong and quickly begins to lag. It also feels like it doesn’t come to a satisfying ending. I really really wanted to enjoy this more than I did. However, it’s not bad and worth a watch with some cool ninja battles.
I know it is off topic but the anime, The Dagger of Kamui, was fantastic if not also a little slow. Watch this trailer too. In fact, if you are going to watch one of these movies, watch this one.