Against the Law
"It takes a madman to know a madman. And you're the leader of the pack."
In 1865, three years before the Meiji Restoration would end the feudal system and restore Japanese imperialism, the Shinsengumi samurai (an elite samurai police group) are recruiting men proficient, fast and focused enough to join their elite ranks.
Teenager Sozaburo Kano emerges as one of the very few who possess the skill to enter this lethal world but there is a problem which potentially makes him more dangerous than his ability with a blade. He is bishounen ('pretty boy') whose feminine looks ignite distrust in his fellow warriors.
The elders question whether he's as delicate as his appearance would suggest. To assuage the doubts of superiors he is ordered to execute a samurai who has broken their strict laws, and when Kano decapitates the man with smooth efficiency, he begins to get ahead.
But his appearance makes many in the strictly male group - both students and superiors - attracted to him, creating tension within the group of people vying for Kano's attention, blocking Kano's path to realising his ambition.
Based on Shiba Ryotaro's novellas, With a Lock of Hair Over His Forehead
and The Revolt of the Mountain
Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano - Captain Toshizo Hijikata
Ryuhei Matsuda - Samurai Sozaburo Kano
Shinji Takeda - Lieutenant Soji Okita
Tadanobu Asano - Samurai Hyozo Tashiro
Koji Matoba - Samurai Heibei Sugano
Masa Tommies - Inspector Jo Yamazaki
Masatô Ibu - Officer Koshitaro Ito
Uno Kanda - The Geisha Nishikigi-Dayû
Kazuko Yoshiyuki - The Servant Omatsu
Tomorowo Taguchi - Samurai Tojiro Yuzawa
Yoichi Sai - Commander Isami Kondo
Jiro Sakagami - Lieutenant Genzaburo Inoue
Zakoba Katsura - Wachigaiya
Kei Sato - The Narrator (voice)