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‘The Legend & Butterfly’: A political romance gets a fresh spin

Keishi Otomo’s “The Legend & Butterfly,” which was made to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Toei studio, looks like the sort of big-budget Japanese period drama that too often calls up adjectives like “dull” and “turgid.”

Based on a script by Ryota Kosawa, however, the film scraps the usual explanatory narration that brings back memories of soporific history classes — a daring choice for a mass-audience epic that clips through three decades in the complex lives of its two protagonists: warlord Oda Nobunaga (Takuya Kimura) and his wife, Nohime (Haruka Ayase).

Instead, it focuses on the pair’s relationship while brushing past much of what transpires around them, from clan wars to Nobunaga’s children by his various concubines. (Nohime was childless, though the film mentions a miscarriage.)

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