When Jokichi, a famed wandering yakuza soldier, tries to go straight, he quickly learns that you only leave the Underworld by getting sent to Hell!
You’re a terrible person, a total bastard.
So says a female character to the protagonist, Jokichi of Mikogami; and it’s a fair criticism. There are numerous times in the series where Jokichi stands by watches as a gang of thugs kills or tries to rape a woman.
Which is ironic given his back story. Jokichi was at one time a degenerate gang member/wanderer until he saved a woman from some other gang members. He married her and lived happily for some time, even having a son.
One day, he runs into the gang boss that he saved his wife from. The boss beats Jokichi up, and cuts off two of his fingers. This is bad enough, but by the time Jokichi gets home, he finds that the boss, along with two other bosses, have raped and murdered his family.
So, you’d think he’d have a little sympathy when a gang tries to do the same thing to someone else, but as was observed, he’s a bastard. It’s pretty common for the stars of samurai movies to be cold, and distance themselves; but in other movies you get the impression that it’s the product of a strict following of honor code, and not some abject disinterest in other people.
Anyways, Jokichi sets out on a quest for revenge, but that’s more of a ‘b’ story, as each of the three movies spend most of their run time on plots which involve Jokichi arriving in a town to find people in trouble with their local gangs, and getting caught up in the action.
There’s nothing new or original in the Mikogami trilogy. The plot lines, visual style, and characters are all identical to those found in other Toho samurai movies like ‘Lone Wolf and Cub,’ ‘Zatoichi,’ or ‘Lady Snowblood.’ So if you liked those, you’ll like these as well.
The video quality is nice. There is no print damage, and it is clear enough, though the colors are on the dull side. To be fair, these movies are from the early 70’s, so all things considered, this is about as good as they’ll ever look.
The set is currently on sale at Animeigo (the company that released it in North America) for $19.99.