Aaron’s review published on Letterboxd:
More than anything before or after, this is a movie. There are short films that feel longer than this. The sheer scope of it is unthinkable for such a small village but I feel like we got to know each of the principle characters so thoroughly that the final battle scene (the last 90 minutes!) felt all the richer for how invested we were in each character. All that's great, but actually the best scene of the movie (in my opinion) is before the intermission, when Kikuchiyo shames the others for judging the farmers for hunting down other samurai — citing their responsibility (as a class) for the hardships of the farmers lives including forced labor, the pain and suffering of war, etc. — thus revealing his origins as the son of a farmer himself. It's such a raw, emotional scene, and really one of the best single-scene acting performances I've ever seen. No wonder it's the header for the film on here.
I've owned this for more than a year and am just now finally, FINALLY, getting around to it and I'm so glad I did.
“In the end, we lost this battle too.”