Swordplay movies can come with pretty high standards, and the kind of production that might have been forgiven with 50s and 60s epics have to be rethought as we approach modern treatments. Fact is, ICHI is a fairly traditional version of the Blind Swordsman, though Haruka Ayase has a one-two punch of strong acting and good lucks. Dressed in rags, glowering, and compelling, Ayase is entirely convincing. Takao Osawa has winning chemistry with co-star, playing the drifter who had accidentally blinder his mother years before.
The swordplay sequences are shot in mixed slow and regular motion, digital blood spurting everywhere. Despite the carnage, her blade is always clean, her fingernails perfectly manicured, and always looking breathtaking under the worst of situations. ICHI is not, however, about realism; it's an adventure-romance, and anyone looking for complete accuracy will be disappointed. The real problem comes with the villains - Riki Takeuchi, usually good with pulp roles, overdoes his role as baddie - a fault that's shared by other antagonists.
The most satisfying swordplay yarns have original writing along with thrilling fights, but ICHI only the second part of the formula. As a result, the story is agreeable albeit rather ordinary.