I'm not a cynic. I'm just a very angry optimist.
The sheer brutality and nihilism of Koike's writing doesn't really make the transition from manga to screen but enough of it bleeds through to give you this fresh sense of alien doom that is otherwise lacking in other chanbara before or since. I remember watching the New World Pictures mash-up as a kid feeling utterly disturbed by Itto Ogami's almost vile single-mindedness. At least in comparison to other samurai flicks I'd seen. Wakayama suffused his portrayal of Ogami with an…