The Legend of Goemon

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German title The Legend of Goemon;
Goemon: The Legend of the Ninja Warrior
Original title GOEMON
Country of production Japan
original language Japanese
Publishing year 2009
length 128 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Kazuaki Kiriya
script Kazuaki Kiriya, Tetsurō Takita
production Kazuaki Kiriya, Takashige Ichise
music Akihiko Matsumoto
camera Kazuaki Kiriya
cut Chisako Yokoyama , Kazuaki Kiriya

The Legend of Goemon or Goemon: The Legend of the Ninja Warrior (TV title) is a Japanese movie by director Kazuaki Kiriya from 2009, which tells the partly fictional story of the master thief and former ninja Ishikawa against the historical background of the unification of Japan under Tokugawa Ieyasu Goemons tells. The main role was taken by Yosuke Eguchi.


In the Sengoku era in 1563, Goemon Ishikawa was still a young boy when he witnessed the violent death of his parents. When he and his wet nurse are attacked by muggers , Prince Oda Nobunaga rescues him and takes him into his care together with another boy, Kirigakure Saizō . Oda soon realizes the extraordinary talents of the two boys and lets his samurai Hanzo train them to become ninjas . As an adolescent, Goemon was given the challenge of protecting Chacha, the prince's little niece, for a certain period of time, saving the girl more than once from death and later making friends with Chacha. When the time is up, she gives him a fan as a memento, Prince Oda turns him into a ninja and gives him a precious double-bladed sword in recognition.

A short time later, war breaks out and Nobunaga Oda is murdered. On the day of his funeral, Goemon decides to give up his job and choose a life of freedom. He splits his sword so that one double-bladed sword can be made into two normal swords and gives his friend Saizo one half.

After Prince Oda's death, his confidante Toyotomi Hideyoshi takes over the rule. Goemon becomes a wanted man after he also begins stealing from the country's rich men and distributing their money generously. He is supported as a servant by Sarutobi Sasuke , a former bounty hunter who was originally assigned to Goemon, but then began to help him due to better conditions.

The film begins on a night in 1582. The city of Kyoto celebrates a party while Goemon goes on a raid through the castle of a famous samurai and clears out its treasury. In doing so, he comes across a small, empty box, which he also puts into his pocket.

Moments after leaving the chamber, Toyotomi's confidante Ishida Mitsunari arrives to confiscate the property, but is late, whereupon he orders his ninja to kill everyone in the house and Goemon, who left his mark , to find. As it turns out, this ninja is Saizō.

Goemon's retreat from the palace is noticed by the guards, but Goemon smashes them and is able to escape them, then climbs a roof on the market square and gives away his booty to the cheering crowd. The empty box falls into the hands of a little boy who, as a pickpocket, had previously relieved officials and nobles from their purses in order to be able to take care of his seriously ill mother.

Goemon spends the rest of the night in a geisha house and learns the next morning from his assistant, Sasuke, that Ishida Mitsunari had searched the whole city for a small, blue box. Goemon becomes interested in the story and sets out to find the box again. In a crumbling slum, he comes across government officials murdering the little boy's mother and is able to intervene. Suddenly, however, Saizō also comes and demands the box, whereupon a fight between the former friends begins and ends in the open field in front of the city, when an unknown Saizō calls back.

Goemon examines the box and discovers a card in the bottom. Sasuke, who has meanwhile taken the little boy in tow, accompanies him as they follow the path marked on the map and finally arrive at a hiding place where they find a secret document. Goemon learns that the murderer of his patron and foster father Oda Nobunaga had made common cause with the current ruler Toyotomi.

Shortly afterwards he meets Hanzo, who offers him a contract and gold on Toyotomi's death on behalf of the famous samurai and prince Tokugawa . Goemon accepts. Goemon sets out that night to avenge Prince Oda and penetrates Toyotomi's palace. Instead of killing the prince, however, he ignorantly murdered his doppelganger. On the run, he meets his childhood friend Chacha, who has been in the palace for some time and is being harassed by Toyotomi, but can hardly speak to her and as a sign of hope leaves her the fan she had given him many years ago. Immediately afterwards Goemon realizes that his victim was not Toyotomi and flees, but is first seriously wounded by the palace guards. The next morning he wakes up in a house in the mountains, which Saizō, who saved him, lives with his wife and child and meets Sasuke and the boy there.

Hanzo gets Goemon to meet Chacha, who has agreed to become Toyotomi's concubine so that she can kill him. The renewed assassination is said to take place when she is introduced as a concubine on a large fleet. Prince Tokugawa, who fears for Chacha, commissions Goemon with Toyotomi's death. At the same time, Prince Ishida is planning the murder of Toyotomi for the same ceremony, and persuades Saizō to commit the assassination by promising him to make him a samurai afterwards.

On the day of the attack, everything went according to plan for Tokugawa, Goemon and Chacha as well as Ishida and Saizō. The ninja and his people begin to blow up the ships of the fleet, and the main ship on which the ceremony takes place also catches fire. At the last moment, however, Goemon changes his mind and leaves the plan unfinished. Saizō uses his best practice method to overpower and kill Toyotomi, whereupon Ishida shoots him to get rid of him as the only witness to their contract. However, Toyotomi survives and calls on Ishida, whom he still trusts, to find the person who initiated the attack. Ishida threatens the wounded Saizō to kill his family if he betrays him.

In the meantime, Goemon tries to escape with Chacha, but Chacha decides to stay behind to finish her task. Meanwhile, Saizō is tortured by Toyotomi's men in order to reveal his name and that of his client, but he is silent to protect his family. A short time later, Goemon frees him, but Ishida takes revenge immediately and murders Saizō's wife. He takes his son into the palace and leaves a threat to kill him too if Saizō does not surrender voluntarily.

Saizō, beside himself with pain and thirst for revenge, immediately sets off on his way back to the city without Goemon being able to stop him. Prince Toyotomi holds a large ceremony in the largest square and in front of thousands of people, during which Saizō is again to be forced to reveal his identity. If he remains silent, he should be killed. In the audience there are also Prince Tokugawa, Hanzo, Sasuke and also Goemon, who is desperately trying to get closer to the stands. In order to protect his child and his friend, the tortured Saizō finally pretends to be Goemon Ishikawa and incites the people against Toyotomi in a haunting speech by proclaiming his deeds and condemning politics. Goemon, however, can do nothing; he has to watch in horror as Prince Toyotomi first has Saizō and then his little child executed in boiling oil.

Sasuke, shocked and disappointed, leaves Goemon shortly afterwards. This, however, also deprived of all joie de vivre, storms the castle with the help of Saizō's ninjas and finally penetrates alone into Toyotomi's apartments, where he kills the prince and steals the famous red armor of his deceased patron Oda Nobunaga. As a result, the country becomes unrest again. Prince Tokugawa and Prince Ishida each raise a large army to seize control of the land. Hanzo follows Tokugawa as general, Toyotomi's former allies follow Ishida.

Goemon, who has meanwhile brought Chacha to safety outside the city, decides, tired of war and suffering, to intervene in the raging battle. At first she wants to hold him back, but then gives him the fan that she had given him as a child when she parted. Goemon now rides towards Sekigahara and on the way meets the little boy who carries Saizō's sword and wants to go into battle with him. Instead, Goemon admonishes him to later become a stronger and better person than himself and, in exchange for the sword, gives him back the small box with which it all began.

Finally, Goemon rides into battle in Prince Oda's red armor, which causes confusion in the entire army, as many believe they recognize Oda's spirit when looking at him. He has connected his and Saizo's swords again to form a double-bladed sword, with which he fights his way through the ranks of the soldiers to Ishida and kills him. With swords separated again, he fights his way to Prince Tokugawa, but is stopped halfway by Hanzo, with whom he delivers a duel. Hanzo knocks both swords out of Goemon, but the latter can stop him with the broken sword and storms on to Tokugawa. When Goemon reaches him and holds the weapon to his neck, Sasuke mortally wounds him from the side to protect Tokugawa. But Goemon no longer had a weapon, nor did he intend to kill the prince, instead of a sword he holds Chacha's fan in his hands.

Hanzō intercepts the falling Goemon, whereupon Tokugawa demands to end the war and to ensure peace and justice. With the last of his strength Goemon makes his way to Chacha, but dies on the way.

useful information

  • The Legend of Goemon is Kiriya's second film after Casshern Kazuaki. Due to the similar visual style, which is based on an overloaded / daring Western / Asian experimental backdrop of fantastic and epic proportions, violent actions detached from natural laws and elaborate tracking shots, both productions are very often compared with each other.
  • The South Korean MMA fighter Choi Hong-man , who is considered to be the largest and heaviest professional martial artist in the world, made his debut as an actor in a small supporting role.
  • The critics received the film very differently. While some criticized the over-the-top optics, the unrealistic fights and the excessive, inadequate visual effects, others saw just these as innovative, imaginative and atmospheric for the film. Another, often mentioned point of criticism is the half-baked plot and the often very pathetic to kitschy staging. The acting performances and the interesting characterization were mostly received very positively.
  • At the Asian Film Awards 2010, the film received nominations for best costume design and best visual effects.

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