Sanjuro is the righteous sequel to Yojimbo, but unfortunately, not as popular- probably because it was never copied to become a western. Mifune is as smart as he was in Yojimbo. In-fact, he has improved! He has developed leadership skills and is more polished. Has has respect for women!
Although there are many noticeable differences as well. Yojimbo retains its indebtedness to the sword with heavy doses of ruthless action. There is certainly action in Sanjuro, but it rarely gets truly ruthless- another symbol of maturity in Sanjuro’s character. If Kurosawa wanted, he could have included action and made the film more commercial. Instead, he did what was the right thing to do. He had his protagonist claim in the end- “I am just like him (the dead antagonist), he was like a sword that should have a sheath”
Yojimbo and Sanjuro are both essentially comedies, but they evoke different senses of humor. The black comedy of Yojimbo is nowhere in evidence here. Sanjuro is more or less slapstick humor. Unlike most Kurosawa films, this film is mostly indoor. Nature comes into play only in the final scene of the film, which the audience knows, is justified once they watch the film!
I’ll give it 8.5/10