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The Final Episode of the Battles Without Honor and Humanity series brought a new, more contemporary mood to the film and its characters. The yakuza may be starting to resemble a legitimate business, but director Kinji Fukasaku, working with new screenwriter Koji Takada, never lets the audience forget their violent origins, and their tried-and-true methods of accomplishing their business.
1966. After a police crackdown, the gangs of Hiroshima and Kure have formed a massive, multi-family political and economic coalition called the Tensei Group, seeking a way forward into the 1970 s as part of Japan s economic bubble. Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara) finds himself increasingly alienated from this semi-legitimate form of corruption, particularly as acting Tensei Group chairman Matsumura (Kinya Kitaoji) tries to put the gangs on a new, more business-like path. But old habits die hard, and when rivalries surface once again, they bring with them the promise of more bloodshed.
The long-awaited conclusion to the epic series is an elegy for the bad guy, with the harsh realization that Japan s economic growth came about only through the sacrifice of the blood of its young men, victims of twenty long years of Battles Without Honor and Humanity.