Based on the graphic novel Samurai Shiro, the Brazilian film Yakuza Princess offers nothing distinctive. It is the same old tale of vengeance woven around the Japanese Mafia (Yakuza). The film flaunts mesmerizing visuals, but the lack of a substantial story plagues everything.
Yakuza Princess is directed by Vicente Amorim, and it marks the screen debut of singer Masumi, who plays the lead protagonist. The film was majorly shot in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and interestingly depicts the largest Japanese community in the world.
The screen opens in Osaka, Japan, and chronicles the murderous shooting of a Japanese Yakuza family. Amidst the chaos, the narrative focuses on a family heirloom, a Muramasa blade (Katana). 20 years later, an unknown man, Shiro (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), wakes up from a nightmare in a hospital in São Paulo. He fails to recall his identity, and the doctor curiously investigates his case.
As the drama moves forward, it establishes another titular character, Akemi. She lives in the Japanese neighborhood of Sao Paulo and works in a store to support herself. Akemi came to Brazil with her grandfather, Daisuke. However, recently, Daisuke was murdered in an armed robbery, and since then, Akemi has been living alone. At night, she trains Kenjutsu with a sensei, Chiba, who prepares Akemi for an upcoming threat.
In Osaka, Japan, a hitman, Takeshi, interrogates a clan member and finds a secret that shakes his peace. Takeshi kills the bounded man and his own clan men, believing that they might have heard the secret. Soon after, Takeshi smuggles a gun and travels to Sao Paulo to finish an unfinished business.
At the hospital, the doctors inform a lost Shiro about a blade, Muramasa, that he was holding when his body was recovered by the police. Shiro doesn’t recall any notable events but steals the sword from the hospital and sneaks away. Soon, the lives of Takeshi, Shiro, and Akemi intersect, which unwinds a mystery about Akemi’s past and her lineage.
‘Yakuza Princess’ Ending Explained
While strolling the streets of Sao Paulo and investigating Muramasa Katana, an antique seller informed Shiro about a Japanese man, Daisuke. Daisuke came to the antique shop to inquire about a specialist to get the katana sharpened. The plump shopkeeper gave an address to Shiro to explore further.
When Shiro arrived at the apartment, he witnessed some goons attacking Akemi. He plunged into combat and saved Akemi’s life heroically, but his victory was short-lived. Takeshi arrived at the scene and attacked Shiro and Akemi. They ran away from the apartment, saving their lives from a Japanese Yakuza, Takeshi.
On their hunt for the answers, Shiro and Akemi came across a Japanese settlement outside the town. At the location, Akemi discovered her grandfather’s grave and his real name i.e., Ren Oshima. Ren’s grave had some hidden paper cuttings covering the Osaka Massacre depicted at the beginning of the film. Before she could fathom the revelations, a few Yakuza attacked Akemi, and her life was saved by Takeshi.
Finally, it was revealed that Takeshi wasn’t an adversary but a salient ally. Takeshi told Akemi that Ren Oshima, or Daisuke, wasn’t her actual grandfather but was a protector hired by Takeshi after the Osaka Massacre. A gang chief called Oyabun Ken’ichi brutally slaughtered Akemi’s father, Akira Takikawa, and his family at the massacre. Akira was the leader of the Takikawa clan and was the most feared man in Osaka. Hence, it is unlikely that he had his share of enemies. On Akemi’s first birthday, Oyabun conspired against the Takikawa clan and butchered the whole family, but fortunately, Akemi survived the tragedy. To save her from an untimely death, a loyal Takeshi hired Ren to take Akemi and ran away, while Takeshi discreetly joined Oyabun’s clan and protected Akemi from the inside.
Akemi and Ren lived a peaceful life in hiding, but Oyabun’s hitman, Shiro, found them. He killed Ren in his job, and that was why he gained Katana scars on his body, which would probably have been inflicted by Ren. However, Shiro lost his memory due to the tragedy and struggled to recall his last contract job. For this reason, Shiro, who was hired to kill Akemi, started escorting her on her voyage to find her identity and the truth about Muramasa Katana.
While Akemi soaked in the imposed information, Takeshi requested that she leave Sao Paulo for Japan and reunite with her lost Takikawa clan. They tried to leave the city through the airways. But he got cornered by Takeshi’s adversary and Oyabun’s loyal chief, Kojiro, near a helipad. Kojiro captured Shiro and killed Takeshi. In revenge, Akemi challenged Kojiro to sword combat and killed Kojiro in the bout. In the end, she looked at bleeding Shiro and ordered him to join her in the war against Oyabun Ken’ichi. After losing all her loved ones, Akemi probably decided to take revenge on Oyabun for all the deaths and tragedy in her life. Finally, the helicopter arrived, and Akemi would board the transport with Shiro to continue the battle in Japan.
The closing sequence depicted Oyabun Ken’ichi in his clan house with a traditional ninja armor box in class in the background. The scabbard is empty because Akemi seized her family sword, Muramasa. She is coming for vengeance and to take over her rightful throne. A sequel to Yakuza Princes will follow the lead.
Yakuza Princess is a 2021 Drama Thriller directed by Vicente Amorim. The film is based on the graphic novel Samurai Shiro, created by Danilo Beyruth.