In this month’s 47 Ronin, Keanu Reeves stars as Kai, an outsider in an ethereal 1800s Japan, a world of intense brutality and undeniable beauty, a time when history and fantasy meet. When his forbidden love is stolen from him, he is left broken and lost. Navigating a breathtaking landscape populated with seductive witches with nightmarish powers, mythic beasts and a deadly secret society of demon monks, Kai must join a brotherhood of outsiders on their shared mission of revenge.
And since this ancient world is going to be seen in an entirely different light, let’s get to know some of the characters who are a part of it!
Kai (Keanu Reeves) is an orphan who grew up in the village of Ako, where he was rejected for being a half-blood. Trained as a child by supernatural creatures called the Tengu, Kai fled when he realized that he did not want to become like them. Rescued from the forest by Lord Asano, he is an agile fighter who is secretly in love with Asano’s daughter, Mika. When his master is tricked into an early death, Kai joins Oishi and the Ronin (masterless samurai) to seek vengeance upon the treacherous Lord Kira. Little do they know that their new leader fights with the power of a demon and holds secrets that will change their destinies.
Lord Asano (MIN TANAKA) is a feudal lord who rules the Ako province with a strong-yet-fair fist. He and his samurai came upon 13-year-old Kai in the forest and took Kai in when the half-blood was but a child. Asano has witnessed the growing attraction between his daughter and Kai, but tradition dictates that this union shall never be allowed in this lifetime.
Mika (Ko Shibasaki) is Lord Asano’s daughter and has been in love with Kai ever since they met as children. She will do anything to protect the stranger shunned by almost everyone in her village, even if it means being forced to marry Lord Kira to save Kai’s life.
Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) is Lord Asano’s top-ranking samurai officiant. When Asano is forced to commit ritual suicide—after he is falsely accused of attacking fellow feudal Lord Kira—Oishi and his fellow samurai are forced to live as Ronin. Traveling the countryside for several years, Oishi gathers the Ronin to help avenge their master’s death. As he realizes what he must do, Oishi sees that the last person he wants to join their ranks is the very warrior who he needs most: Kai.
Lord Kira’s (Tadanobu Asano) ancestors sacrificed their lives to put the Shogun’s family on the throne. While Kira has a place by the Shogun’s side, he is feverishly jealous that his master has chosen to honor Lord Asano’s province of Ako. With the help of the Witch, Kira plots to bring down Asano, marry Asano’s daughter, Mika, and take control of Ako province…watching his ill-begotten empire grow piece by piece.
The Witch (Rinko Kikuchi) is an evil, shape-shifting ancient creature who does Lord Kira’s bidding and uses reality as her plaything. Kira commands the seductive siren to use her powers to transform into other people and creatures to help him bring down the house of Lord Asano and achieve his goal to dominate the country. Her gleaming blue eye remains in any form that she takes.
Chikara (JIN AKANISHI) is Oishi’s 16-year-old son, a young man who yearns to be an honorable samurai like his father. Kai secretly trains Chikara in the ways of the Tengu and teaches him unconventional fighting techniques that will one day save him. Young Chikara accompanies his father to help the Ronin avenge their master’s death.
Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA) is the lord of the provinces and master of all Japan. Lord Asano welcomes the Shogun, along with the other daimyos (feudal lords), to Ako and hosts a gathering to display solidarity between the clans. In honor of the Shogun’s visit, Asano holds a tournament between the clans’ best fighters. Yet, disgrace will come soon enough to Asano, and a price must be paid.
The armored giant Brute (NEIL FINGLETON) who fights for Lord Kira is clad in battle gear inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s most horrific delirium. This virtually indestructible warrior stands almost eight-feet tall in his armor, rides a monstrous warhorse and wields his black sword with lightning speed. It’s thought that no one of this Earth can possibly stop him…not even Kai.
Commanded by the Tengu Lord (TOGO IGAWA), the Tengu monks are supernatural creatures that live in the Tengu Forest, also known as the “sea of trees.” They raised Kai after his mother abandoned him as a baby and taught him how to fight at the speed of light. When the Ronin seek revenge for their master’s death, the Tengu are the creatures to whom they come for the only weapons that could possibly take down Kira’s massive, unstoppable army.
The tortured Ogre (Neil Fingleton) makes his home on a man-made Dutch island, which is comprised of European vessels and hosts a trading post that is a labyrinth of vice and iniquity. This devil-like demon has a huge red body and fights helpless prisoners in an arena on the island. Next up on his fight-card list? Kai.
Foreman (RICK GENEST) is the master of the fantasy freak show whose entire body is illustrated with gothic body art. A subversive outlaw who runs a fight den that pits man against monster for sheer entertainment, he gets more than he bargained for when Kai enters the ring against the Ogre.
47 Ronin opens in cinemas 19 Dec 2013
Images courtesy of United International Pictures Singapore
© POPCulture Online 2013, All Rights Reserved