Soon, Azumi (Aya Ueto) and Nagara fall in with a Robin Hood-style bandit, Ginkaku (Shun Oguri), who happens to be the spitting image of Nachi, the beloved friend that Azumi was ordered to kill as the final part of her training (this is because Nachi and Ginkaku are played by the same actor).
Also joining their little gang is a zealous neophyte ninja, Kozue, played by the instantly recognisable Chiaki Kuriyama (from the awesome double bill of Kill Bill Volume 1 and Battle Royale).
Azumi's final mission proves to be her toughest as the last warlord, Masayuki Sanada (Toshiya Nagasawa) has gotten into bed - literally - with the head of a ruthless, and warmongering, ninja clan, a superhumanly fast harridan called Kunyo (Reiko Takahashi).
On one level Azumi 2 is more of the same as Azumi, although the blood-letting is considerably more restrained in this second film, but it still delivers a smart plot looking at honour, friendship, blind obedience, betrayal and the lengths some people will go to to see their mission fulfilled.
As before there are numerous glorious set-pieces, beautifully choreographed and shot, with the "poison spider web" in the bamboo forest being the most inventive.
While Chiaki's performance is, as usual, both memorable and menacing, the film - as with the first one - belongs to Aya Ueto, whose Azumi is one tough cookie who could give Buffy a run for her money any day.
However, the two volumes of Azumi films share certain characteristics with the structure of Quentin Tarantino's two Kill Bill films; both have their largest and most gruesome fights at the climax of the first volume and their heroines have to carve their way through a number of sub-bosses before facing off against the final Big Bad at the end of volume two.
This final confrontation stands out not so much for the actual conflict but for the position Azumi is put in by her own side, when Sanada suggests he would be willing to withdraw his troops from the impending war if Azumi is left to face him in single combat.
Azumi 2: Death Or Love doesn't quite touch the giddy heights of the first movie, but is still a more satisfying conclusion to the tale than Kill Bill Volume 2 was to Kill Bill Volume 1.