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Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai (宮本武蔵-双剣に馳せる夢, Miyamoto Musashi - Soken ni Haseru Yume) is a full-length animated film released in Japanese theaters in June 13, 2009. it is directed by Mizuho Nishikubo in collaboration with Production I.G, which was also responsible for Patlabor: The Movie (1989), Patlabor: The Movie 2 (1993), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Innocence (2004) and The Sky Crawlers (2008).

Not to be mistaken as a film adaptation of the manga series Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue(based loosely on Eiji Yoshikawa's novel Musashi), this film based on legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (1584–1645) was conceptualized by filmmaker Mamoru Oshii to be a more historically accurate and realistic re-telling of the enigmatic swordsman, based on Oshii's reading of The Book of Five Rings, a master treatise on military strategy penned by Musashi himself as a means of seeking "the way" to enlighten his spirit and cultivate his mind. It is presented in a semi-documentary manner, with 3 different forms of media. 2D animation was used for the fighting scenes involving Musashi, 3D CG for the narrator characters and visual exposition on the military tactics and background information and live video footage of current locations where the purported action took place, whereby monuments have been erected.

Character design was by Kazuto Nakazawa, who was also responsible for 'Samurai Champloo' and who was the director for the animation segment in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003).[1]


"Samurai of Ikku Kuni, Harima, name of Shinmen Musashi[2] Mori Fujiwara Harunobu, age about 60. I studied by heart the way of the art of war in my youth in days past. I had my first taste of fighting at the age of only 13... Set off for the Capital at the age of 21, fought with many practitioners of war strategies, news of the resulting victories did not spread. Thereafter whichever place I go, I cross swords with practitioners of the myriad schools as much as 60 odd times, and never once lost ~ The Book of Five Rings" [3]

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  1. This article is summarized from the English version of Production I.G's Musashi Website.
  2. Although the name 武蔵 can be also read as Takezou, in this film the narration followed the "Shinmen Musashi" reading.
  3. Translated from Official Website