Yuki's desire to avenge her mother's rape and her family's destruction lends Lady Snowblood a focus that's lost in the less successful sequel, Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance, which replaces single-minded filial fury with a more nebulous consideration of political corruption. Yuki is too simple a character to shoulder the more complicated questions of right and wrong that the first film freely ignores.
The sequel lacks the original’s simple, non-stop pacing – hacking from one revenge killing to the next... It often feels like Snowblood is a supporting character in her own feature, as the battle between the Tokunagas and the government dominates. And they are far less compelling characters than Snowblood’s enigmatic killing machine. So while it doesn’t live up to the original, it still makes for satisfying viewing, especially for those interested in imaginative killings.
Love Song of Vengeance distills Japan’s aggressive modernization into a crisis narrative whose sympathies are again with displaced peasants. It feels more hemmed in—trying to recapitulate the incredible highs of the first film and yet deviate from the template at the same time. It’s the more piecemeal of the two, but nonetheless a captivatingly schizophrenic, startlingly weird movie in its own right.