Towards the end of World War Two Lt. Sugawa is flying to Tokyo with top secret blueprints when his plane is shot out of the sky over the Pacific Seas. He is plucked from the ocean onto a freighter. The ship cargo? Twelve women kidnapped to be sold as slaves in Shanghai.
In the seminal tragedy of a love story, which is shot in a documentary style, a young and inexperienced man falls for a nude and desirable model and the consequences are painful. The hot spots of downtown Tokyo are magical while it lasts however.
In Osaka’s slum, youth without futures engage in pilfering, assault and robbery, prostitution, and the buying and selling of identity cards and of blood. Alliances constantly shift. Tatsu and Takeshi, friends since boyhood, reluctantly join Shin’s gang. Shin’s an upstart and moves his gang often to avoid the local kingpin. Hanoko is a young woman with ambitions: first she’s in the blood business with her father, then she joins forces with Shin. She soon breaks off that partnership, even though she’s taken the sensitive Takeshi under her wing. Double crosses multiply. Those with the closest bonds become each others’ murderers.
A young girl from a small parochial country village is raped and ravaged at the hands of local roughnecks, escapes to a new life in the big city of Tokyo, and finds a pretty similar fate awaiting her there.
The night before Osaka castle falls, foreseeing defeat, Sanada Yukimura makes 5 female ninjas of Shinano (O-Kyo, O-Mayu, O-Yo, O-Yui, and O-Nami) conceive Hideyori’s child in order to keep the Toyotomi bloodline alive. Sen-hime disguises these female ninjas as servants to take them out of Osaka castle. Ieyasu, however, upon learning this orders Shinano female ninjas to be assassinated by 5 female Iga ninjas (Tsuzumi Hayato, Shichito Sutebe, Hannyaji Fuuhaku, Amamaki Ittensai, and Usuzumi Tomoyasu).
Masumura’s 44th film capitalizes on the student unrest of the late sixties as background for a story about a ‘liberated’ woman. Cruelly nymphomaniac, Michi is described as an ‘independent child of the times’, with no family obligations, no taste for housekeeping, and no need of a man to support her.