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Sword for Truth
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 12/31/1999

Shuranosuke Sakaki is a masterless swordsman with unparalleled skill. When the Princess Mayu of the Nakura clan is kidnapped by the Seki Ninja, Shuranosuke is hired to rescue her. But the Seki Ninja wants the Nakura clan's antique Ginryu sword as a ransom -- and they have threatened to rape and kill the princess if their demands are not met. Shuranosuke must accomplish his mission before it's too late...

I had a hard time watching and trying to follow Sword for Truth. Things seem to happen in an isolated and disconnected fashion, thus there's a general lack of coherence throughout the entire film.

The story starts out with a huge white tiger that mauls almost everybody to death, until Shuranosuke slays it. A short time later, they discover that the tiger was a decoy to keep them all busy while the princess is abducted. Cut! Next sequence... Shuranosuke is walking through the busy streets of Edo, and a female pickpocket tries to rob him. Of course, she doesn't succeed because Shuranosuke is no ordinary guy. When Shuranosuke gets home (at least I think it's home), the pickpocket is waiting for him. She strips and they have sex. Afterwards, they get attacked. Shuranosuke is then hired to rescue the princess and we never see or hear from the pickpocket woman again. Suddenly, there's a lesbian love scene between the princess and one of the female Seki Ninja clan members. Opium's wafting through the room, and the Seki girl is brainwashing the princess in between throes of passion. "You will give us the sword," she says. The princess agrees like a good little girl and they continue their little tryst. This scene doesn't really have any effect on the movie because when Shuranosuke does get to the princess, she never makes any attempt to get the sword or betray anybody in the slightest.

All these things take place in the midst of very violent encounters. Shuranosuke would run into some thugs, and they'd fight to the death... fight, fight, fight. It's a bloodbath -- you'll see a lot of limbs flying and decapitated heads bouncing around. Yet Shuranosuke never, ever gets hit by any of his foes. He predictably cuts through all of them effortlessly, and it's not exactly the most exciting thing to watch. Just what this mish-mash of sex and violence is all about I'll never know. You never get to fully understand the story even when you reach the ending. There are just way too many plot holes and unanswered questions.

Visually speaking, SfT is okay at best. Some characters look a bit better than average, but the animation lacks smoothness and polish. The ending theme song sounds quite nice though. Quite obviously a "Ninja Scroll" wannabe, SfT is no more than a crackpot effort at a samurai / ninja anime feature.

If you want superior samurai or ninja stuff, go for "Ninja Scroll" or "Rurouni Kenshin" instead. Hell, even "Ninja Cadets" is better than Sword for Truth!

Sword for Truth
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Review Title:
Sword for Truth
Alternative Titles:
Shuranosuke Zanmaken: Shikamamon no Otoko
50 Minutes
General Rating:
1.5 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Historical, Samurai, Supernatural
Blue Seed
1. Blue Seed
2. Those Who Hunt Elves I
3. Tenchi Muyo! Movie 2: Daughter of Darkness
4. Colorful
5. Ninja Scroll