Childhood friends Saki and Yoshi discover the last teacher of the dangerous Ashi-ryu and clash over their new master's daughter.
The story:

Set in a plain and monotonous 1970's japan environment, two adolescents have Imagined becoming warriors since their childhood. In Hamato Yoshi's poor suburban neighborhood or Oroku Saki's small farm, their little lives affect no one.

Yoshi spends aimless days avoiding his overly-demanding father, Saki works alongside his unambitious father in their field. Both escape into their primary interest: the martial arts.

The two friends undertake the search for the best martial art their native japan has to offer. Each, disillusioned with the post-Meiji period unarmed combat styles, seek for a “jutsu” (art) rather than a “do” (sport). They happen upon The last teacher of "Ashi-ryu," a Dangerous and hidden lineage of martial art.

They win over their new teacher by a series of interactions, planning and hoping to convince him of their sincerity. After a series of failed attempts, their new teacher suddenly changes his mind and lets them in on his secrets. Yoshi and Saki discover the mind-blowing reality of mythical techniques behind the Ashi-ryu, such as light-bending camouflage and targeted noise cancelation.

Their experiments with the techniques begin innocently. However, While Yoshi begins to question the source of these teachings, and the ethics and intentions of their teacher Tang, Saki begins to obsess over becoming the favorite student.

Tang Sensei reveals more about the mysticism and black magic behind the Ashi-ryu, insisting on more questionable behavior to test his New students (but not his last students).

Tang Sensei convinces Saki to organize a gang - the Ashi. Saki tries to persuade Yoshi that this is only a dojo, making students feel special and needed, and that they are "privileged" because it is abnormal for such an ancient artform to be passed down to people outside of the family line.

Yoshi notices parallels between his father’s manipulative, borderline abusive, relationship with his mother, and the controlling relationship Tang Sensei has with his own daughter, Tang Shen. 

Yoshi’s compassion prevails upon Shen. When Yoshi catches her eye, their new Sensei's daughter, Saki becomes jealous, assuming Yoshi is trying to inherit the art and its scrolls by becoming part of the family. Saki is angered that he planted the idea in Yoshi's mind about familial lineage and begins to superficially pursue Shen. The ethics held by both boys begins to diverge and become clear.

Shen reveals that her father has been claiming to receive "transmissions" guiding him to form a secret Clan of esoteric terrorists. When Yoshi tells Saki that their teacher is not only mad but a fanatic, he doesn't believe Shen's story and takes it as Yoshi's strategy to overturn his standing as the favorite student. Yoshi and Saki clash in violence. to escape, Yoshi performs techniques that Saki hadn't yet mastered.

Yoshi proposes to run away with Shen to America. Shen hesitates and oscillates because of her relationship with her father. When Yoshi confesses his love to save Shen from the abusive, manipulative hold Tang Sensei has on her, she agrees to go with him. A wild Saki, as if having stepped out of time or out of one of their imagined childhood dramas, intercepts and confronts them both. Yoshi readies for the onslaught, but Saki kills Shen, planning to blame Yoshi for her death and secure his place as future soke (grandmaster and inheritor) of Ashi-ryu.

Yoshi escapes the country, having lost all - except the scrolls.

Saki returns and relays the events with his spin on the story to an indifferent Tang Sensei. The old teacher then reveals to Saki that he had turned an ancient technique of communicating with animals skyward, and the result was that he was indeed receiving otherworldly transmissions guiding him to cause disruptions at a societal level. Mad with jealousy toward his own teacher, Saki does whatever it takes to learn this last technique, and then slay Tang Sensei.

Meanwhile, Yoshi, illegally immigrated to NYC, stays in hiding underground to avoid the Ashi Clan. With a new plan to study the scrolls in order to defy Tang Sensei and honor Shen, Yoshi dedicates his life to turn the radical teachings into a method for good, to preserve life and defend the innocent.

Genres, Style + Structure:

Neither vibrant or high in contrast, This is a warm non-urban, farm-centric palette, of greens, browns, reds and whites that make you feel the earth and dust. It transitions to a matured, cool city tone as the horizon of the characters' future expands.




Yoshi & Saki

Tang Shen

Tang Sensei

Love affair

Era Reference

Sizzle Reel:

The investment:
Travel, casting, props and wardrobe would constitute the majority of the necessities of a budget.

✧  4 primary actors
✧  10+ extras
✧  1970's clothing
✧  70's bicycles
✧  Japanese farm/neighborhood (not city)
✧ Homes/Dojo/neighborhood

✧  underground hideout

Audience consists of martial arts, anime, japan and foreign fantasy enthusiasts.
The film will have a sense of superhero genre mixed with down-to-earth reality. A similar picture that remains a cult classic is "Unbreakable" starring Bruce Willis.
Taking the audience from a visceral sense of normalcy - to a believable rabbit-hole where myth subtly meets reality. relationships blossom and are broken. Dealing with the ethics of temptation and the use of power, the story explores themes of facing fanaticism and the internal moral compass.