Drama Marathon: Miyamoto Musashi (2014)

It has been a long time that I’ve gotten to see Kimura Takuya in a drama or movie. I think the last drama I watched was Hero (2001) which I still haven’t finished. Prior to that it was one of his earlier works of A Sleeping Forrest (1998). I think I have an affinity with the earlier KimuTaku than the modern…that is until now! Miyamoto Musashi is the first period drama of Kimura Takuya that I have ever seen! Something told me that I would like KimuTaku in period clothing and flowing, long mane. Yes, I wasn’t disappointed!!
**MDL refers to mydramalist.com

Kimura Takuya as Miyamoto Musashi/Shinmen Takezo
Sawamura Ikki as Sasaki Kojiro
Maki Yoko as Otsu
Yusuke Santamaria as Honiden Matahachi
Kagawa Teruyuki as Takuan
Matsuda Shota as Yoshioka Seijuro
Aoki Munetaka as Yoshioka Denshichiro
Baisho Mitsuko as Osugi
Nakatani Miki as Yoshino Dayu
Takeda Tetsuya as Yagyuu Sekishusai Muneyoshi
Yachigusa Kaoru as Myoshuni
Nishida Toshiyuki as Jujibi-kun
Kaho as Akemi
Takaoka Saki as Oko
Suzuki Fuku as Iori

It is the year 1600. a young man, Shinmen Takezo, from the village of Miyamoto in Yoshino district, signed up to fight in the Battle of Sekigahara. He was but a lowly foot soldier with an aspiration of making a name for himself. Together with his childhood friend, Honiden Matahachi, he joined the Army of the West. However, in a battle involving over 180,000 men, where so many lost their lives, Takezo was captivated by the beautiful swordplay of a lone soldier from the Army of the East; Sasaki Kojiro, a man that Takezo deemed as worthy of being his lifelong rival.

After the Army of the West suffered a crushing defeat in the Battle of Sekigahara, Takezo and Motohachi broke free from jail to hurry back to Miyamoto village so that they could reassure Motohachi’s mother, Osugi, of their survival. Matahachi is engaged to Otsu, yet enroute to home, he was so bewitched by a voluptuous woman named Oko and her daughter, Akemi, that he ran away with them instead if heading home.

While in pursuit, Takezo chanced upon Otsu and had rescued her. Unfortunately, while running away from their pursuers, Otsu had fallen into the river and fell sick. To save her, Takezo decided to head to Himeji Castle to seek help. Once there, he was promptly jailed.

After 4 years of incarceration, Takezo was freed and the lord of the castle, Ikeda Terumasa, together with Takuan, gave him a new name, Miyamoto Musashi, as he embarked on a journey to improve his sword skills.

My Thoughts A review in one word: FANTASTIC!! This mini-drama that consisted of 2 episodes of approximately 2 hours each was simply amazing! This was the first time that I had seen Kimura Takuya in a period drama. I was duly impressed with not only his acting but the stunt work that was obviously all him! From bamboo, knives, hand to hand, martial arts to finally katana swords, KimuTaku was simply stunning. The man definitely worked hard to prepare for this role. Of the many dramas I’d seen of his before (now 12 of them), this was the most exciting role I’d seen him do. No, I haven’t seen the original but this definitely made me curious to continue gaining my knowledge of this historical figure in Japanese history.

Even my handsome Matsuda Shota was totally a surprise as the handsome and charismatic Seijuro. Every time he was on the screen, like all the women surrounding him, even I had to pause and soak in the beauty. DEEP SIGH! I loved watching him as well as his use of swords in many scenes. Again, you won’t forget my Shota! Perfect casting I might say!

The romance between Miyamoto and Otsu, while it wasn’t forefront in the drama special, it was cute in its own way as Otsu declared her undying love for Miyamoto and followed him all over Japan in search of him for 5 long years. Now that is some kind of love!

Now Sawamura Ikki as Sasaki Kojiro was beyond impressive! This was the first time I’ve ever seen him in anything but my PTW list is LOADED with his dramas which might shoot up the list to watch. As Kojiro, the ultimate samurai, his stunt work and sword play was amazing! His fight with the bandits was simply artwork! I think I played that scene twice because it was so awesome in its execution and display!

The final battle scene between Kojiro and Musashi on the beach was well staged. Even I had to watch closely because I couldn’t believe that KimuTaku had actually done most of the stunts and wire scenes. The finale left me in awe. However, my only complaint would be the abruptness of the ending. It was almost as if the editor ran out of time and dropped the ending. It really felt like it was cut prematurely. Overall, I don’t think you can go wrong with 4 hours, 12 minutes of all Kimura Takuya. I was rarely bored and I was ready to re-watch again. Unfortunately, this might be hard to find as I haven’t seen it on any website. Hopefully one day it will be made available because it really is a great movie/drama. I hope to see KimuTaku take on more roles like this because he truly excelled! TRULY!

MDL Rating: 10++ because it wasn’t just because of Kimura Takuya; it really was a great drama!

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