Manji is a samurai on the run after following his superior’s order to kill a corrupt lord and his followers. Manji was deceived as it was his superior who is corrupt and it turned out that one of the followers Manji killed was the husband of his sister, Machi. As a result of her husband’s death at the hands of her brother, Machi lost her mind from grief. Rather than commit ritual suicide as honor dictates, Manji chose to care for his now insane sister. While on the run, Manji encounters an 800-year-old nun named Yaobikuni who questions him about his decisions distracting him from his sister who runs off. Machi is found being held hostage by a large group of rōnin out for the bounty on Manji’s head. The rōnin’s leader demands Manji disarm himself, implying that he would kill Machi if he did not. When Manji does comply with the rōnin’s demands, the rōnin proceeds to kill Machi anyway. In retaliation Manji kills every member of the group, but is mortally wounded. As there was nothing left to live for, he accepts his death, but Yaobikuni implants “sacred bloodworms” into his body, which heal him.
Fifty-two years later, now an ageless immortal, Manji is approached by Rin Asano who requests his aid as a bodyguard to help avenge the death of her father, Kurose, at the hands of Kagehisa Anotsu and the Ittō-ryū, a society of samurai assassins whom he leads. While Manji initially refuses, he reconsiders when Rin is attacked by the Ittō-ryū member Sabato Kuroi who had the severed head of Rin’s mother mounted on his left shoulder. Word of Sabato’s death reaches Kagehisa after setting up the Ittō-ryū’s contract with Kagimura Habaki for a place in the shogunate, sending Taito Magatsu to deal with Rin and her bodyguard. Magatsu is defeated, but is spared as he reveals Manji’s immortality to the other Ittō-ryū members. Manji later encounters the Ittō-ryū member Eiku Shizuma, who reveals to have also had bloodworms placed in his body by Yaobikuni while nearly killing Manji with a rare poison that disrupts the bloodworms. However, after 200 years of immortality, he is tired of being alive, so he lets Manji kill him with a poisoned sword without fighting back.
Manji and Rin later arrive in Fukagawa where they encounter Kagehisa’s loyal follower Makie Otono-Tachibana. While Makie had the upper hand, she could not bring herself to kill Manji. She reveals that she has been wondering if she is fighting for the right cause and that she has thought of leaving the group. Rin intervenes, telling her that she seeks revenge because of the death of his parents whom she loved and Makie leaves them quietly. The duo later encounter the Mugai-ryū, learning that Kagehisa is going to Mt. Takeo to recruit a dojo master. But things go south when the Mugai-ryū’s sadistic member Shira attacks Rin after she intervened in his attempt to rape a prostitute that the Ittō-ryū hired to pose as Kagehisa. Just as he is about to kill her, Manji chops his hand, but lets him run away. Following Rin’s encounter with the real Kagehisa, learning that Kagehisa’s actions were influenced by the history between their grandfathers Takayoshi Asano and Saburō Anotsu, Rin leaves Manji to continue her hunt alone while he tries to find her.
But when Kagehisa arrives at Mt. Takao he is betrayed by Habaki who has set up an ambush. Separately, Manji and Makie arrive soon after, resulting in an epic all-out battle as Makie sacrifices herself against gunfire from samurai in order to protect Kagehisa. Meanwhile, after killing hundreds on another part of the same battlefield while Kegehisa is being betrayed, Manji runs off after Shira as he abducts Rin to revenge Mangi’s previously chopping off his hand. Shira demands that Manji disarm himself, but Manji is mindful of Shira’s duplicity he uses a small concealed dart to cut through the rope with which Rin is tied. They engage in a fist fight and Manji sends Shira spiraling to his death off a cliff. Although weakened and bloodied, Kagehisa kills Habaki, and then he encounters Manji who in the end defeats him. Rin is offered to deliver the killing blow of vengeance, while Kagehisa warns Manji that his sons will come after him. Heavily wounded and full of blood, Manji collapses on the ground. As Rin starts to cry over him, he whispers barely audibly that he is still alive.
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