Indie

Nioh 2 & Finding The Supernatural In 5 Samurai Movies

Nioh 2 is a brand-new experience for me. I’ve never had the chance to write about this game before. Sure I’ve written about samurai movies before. You can read about my samurai movie selection here. However, this is a special sub-category that garnered my attention. Supernatural samurai movies.

So, according to the title, supernatural samurai movies are just that. A cinematic attempt to marry the supernatural with a jidaigeki setting. Hollywood and even Asian cinema are not always successful in their attempts to combine these two elements. But when they do succeed, it’s actually glorious to witness.

We’re here about those successful moments in cinema history. Five of them actually. But first, let’s have a quick reminder about the game itself is in order. What’s Nioh 2 all about?

Nioh 2: The 101 On The Cool Game

In its essence, Nioh 2 (The Complete Edition) is an action RPG for the samurai in you. You can create your own playable character in it. A yōkai spirit if you will. You also get a variety of weapons to choose from. Such as odachi and kusarigama. And earn new skills and special abilities as they progress in the game.

Also, Nioh 2 is set in Japan during the late 1500s. Most of Nioh’s 2 storyline chapters are a prequel to Nioh. While the end chapters of the story take place after the first game’s last storyline following the Siege of Osaka.

You get to experience the thrill of taking on hordes of fearsome yokai in a battle to the death in this brutal masocore Action RPG. You’ll create your own original protagonist. And embark on an adventure that will take you through devastated locales across Japan during the Sengoku period.

Much like the previous title which garnered much praise from fans and critics alike, Nioh 2 contains an original profound story surrounding military commanders from the Sengoku period. However, Nioh 2 goes above and beyond its predecessor by including the new Yokai Shift ability which allows the protagonist to utilize new powerful forms to defeat even the most formidable yokai in battle. New to Nioh 2, your enemies can now create a Dark Realm which raises the stakes of battle. And at the same time, it creates new challenges for your protagonist to overcome.

Nioh 2 The Complete Edition is available for purchase here.

And What’s The Word On Nioh 2?

Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition “A Hallmark of Excellence” 9/10 – Destructoid“Nioh 2’s Combat is Phenomenal” 9/10 – IGN“The sequel is even tougher than the original, and you’ll get on its level or happily die trying”- GameSpot

Solid game. It’s a little gritty, and some mechanics are not explained all that well early. But the gameplay is exceptional. Combat is very good. The story is captivating. This is one of the best Souls-like games I’ve tried. – says SyrupyLamp in his Steam comment.

RPG and Dark Soul Dan’s wet dream. – adds Bluends on Steam.

And Which Supernatural Samurai Movies Go Well With It?

Well, we have a great selection of 5 very different and yet fun movies. All of them have a supernatural aspect to them. And (almost) all have samurai warriors in them too. Which ones made the cut? Scroll down to find out.

Throne of Blood

Let’s start the list with the one and only Akira Kurosawa. Headed by a captivating Toshiro Mifune as MacBeth stand-in Washizu, Throne of Blood is a wonderful example of both a nonstandard adaptation. And a nonstandard samurai film too. But the truth is, Kurosawa was a fan of the play. And he intended to make his own adaptation for several years, delaying it after learning of Orson Welles’ Macbeth (1948). However, since its release, Throne of Blood is often considered one of the better film adaptations of the play. The movie has received much critical praise as well. It has an eerie and phantasmagoric tone, and we just had to include it here.

Fun fact: Michael Fassbender, who played Macbeth in Macbeth (2015), stated that ‘Throne of Blood’ is his favorite Macbeth adaptation.

Kwaidan

Kwaidan is actually a fantastic Japanese anthology horror film from Masaki Kobayashi. It’s also based on stories from Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of Japanese folk tales. Mainly Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904), for which it is named. At the same time, the film consists of four separate and unrelated stories. Four tales of phantoms and spirits as they torment various denizens of feudal Japan. A low-level samurai, a woodcutter, a monk and finally a prideful man begin seeing an ominous figure in a cup of tea. Furthermore, the four vignettes are there to represent the four seasons of the year. It’s a must-watch.

Fun fact: The word Kaidan can be translated in English to either “spooky tale” or “ghost story”.

Onibaba

Here’s the catch with Onibaba. Technically, the two main characters in Kaneto Shindô’s Onibaba aren’t samurai. Rather, they’re some of the common folk brushed aside to society’s periphery during the era of bushido. Set in the 14th century, Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko Yoshimura play two women who kill soldiers to steal their possessions. While Kei Satō plays the man who ultimately comes between them. Onibaba is a grim and heard-to-watch slow-burner of a movie, but a great one nonetheless.

Fun fact: The demon mask used in the movie inspired William Friedkin to use a similar design for the makeup in subliminal shots of a white-faced demon in The Exorcist (1973).

Kuroneko

Kuroneko (or Black Cat) takes place in the estates and manors of samurai nobility. However, the bleakness and disturbing nature of the premise allows you to feel all the feels. Kuroneko is an adaptation of a supernatural folktale and is set during a civil war in feudal Japan. However, the movie deals with vengeful spirits or onryō. Two spirits of a woman and her daughter-in-law, who died at the hands of a band of samurai. Endowed with the cat’s supernatural strength, uncanny powers, the two begin a campaign of brutal revenge on all samurai that cross their path. This is a ghost story that’s more eerie than unnerving but it’s a great movie too.

Fun fact: The first dialogue occurs 10:22 into the film.

47 Ronin

Probably the most recent movie on the list (and the only one that’s from the 21st century too). 47 Ronin is also distinctive by the fact that it has a true Hollywood mega-star in the lead role. Keanu Reeves. Now, my love for Keanu has been well established and documented here at IndieGala. But the directorial debut movie of Carl Rinsch is a totally different beast. And if you look back at my previous Keanu article, you’ll notice I didn’t mention 47 Ronin.

However, it deserves a place on this list because it has supernatural elements in the plot. And it has samurai as well. 47 Ronin is in fact, a fictionalized account of the forty-seven rōnin. A real-life group of masterless samurai under daimyō Asano Naganori in 18th-century Japan. They avenged Naganori’s death by confronting his rival Kira Yoshinaka “in a world of witches and giants“ no less. It’s not the best movie on this list, but it will have to do.

Fun fact: This is the seventh cinematic adaptation of the 47 Ronin incident. But at the same time, it’s the first Hollywood cinematic adaptation.

Are You A Fan Of Nioh 2?

Let us know in the comment section if you are. And also feel free to share some of your favorite samurai movies with us. We’d love to know all about them.

Suzana lazarevska

Ciao! Suzana here. Journalist by trade and by passion. Wife to a hard core gamer, and owner of the blog Filmsane. I’m a film buff, TV junkie and die-hard Juventus fan. Yes, i’m the son my father never had, and i love it. Nice to meet you.

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