35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2005
Zatoichi#9 The Adventures of Zatoichi has the blind masseur once again trying to do someone a favor and facing unexpected problems. By delivering a note to a young woman who works at the inn where he is going to greet the new year, Master Ichi becomes involved in the plots of Jinbei, the local Yakuza crime boss. He meets Miss Sen, whose brother was betrayed by Jinbei, and Miss Saki, daughter of a village headman last seen in the nearby area. The two women's stories are intertwined as Zatoichi attempts to help them both.
The Japan shown in the Zatoichi movies is not the Japan of Kurosawa and Mifuni.
It is rural Japan made up of small villages controlled by easily corrupted Yakuza bosses. The code of Bushido doesn't apply: any Samurai are usually masterless ronin devoid of any high standards. Crime is common; peasants and bandits survived as well as they could. Life was often miserable.
Zatoichi is a Japanese movie icon because of the acting of Shintaro Katsu. Master Ichi is unique because of his personal code of honor- be kind to those who deserve it, but beware to those who would take advantage of a homeless blind man. He hopes never to have to draw the razor-sharp sword hidden in his cane, but usually has no choice. The sword-fighting scenes are superbly choreographed, realistic, and full speed with no slow-motion slice-and-dice shots.
Watch for the interactions between Ichi and the children he encounters. He respects innocence in any form. Also pay heed to his treatment of the elderly alcoholic beggar called `Gramps' in the subtitles.
Viewers would expect a homeless blindman to be deeply cynical, soured by the misery and evil surrounding him. Zatoichi believes in justice, no matter what life brings him. All the Zatoichi movies are available at Amazon. They are well worth watching. I recommend them highly.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2003
I just caught this one during the weekend on IFC (Independent Film Channel) here in the good ole USA. And a feeling of joy came over me, as I realized the people at HVE, (Home Vision Entertainment, who are also the distributors of the famed Criterion Collection dvd's) in conjuction with Janus Films, must be coming out with series 9, 10, and 11, in the next series of "Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman". My first thought was to come over here on Amazon, and to see if it was indeed true that they were coming out with these next 3, and to my delightful surprize, they are, on August 19th, 2003. They are all numbered, just like their famed Criterion's that they put out. But the numbers of these, are also in conjuction with how the order of the series ran. They've been showing the first 8 on IFC for so long now, and when I saw this one, I knew they must finally be putting the next 3 out. That's how they been doing them over at HVE, is putting them out by 3's. There's 26 total in the Zatoichi series, and it looks like they're going to keep going for now with them until they get them all? Hopefully, this is the case? These series of Zatoichi are so much fun to watch. I just happened one day to catch one on IFC, and I had to learn more about this man they call Zatoichi, played by the loveable Shintaro Katsu, in a very convincing role. You'd swear he was born with that cane sword in his hand, he uses it with such ease & style.These series mix adventure, with comedy as well, as Zatoichi meets foes in every town he happens upon. Helping out the weak, and needy. You can't help but love the guy.In this one titled, "The Adventures Of A Blind-Man", he happens to go to a town for the celebration of the New Year, and meets a woman who believes her father is either dead, or just missing. And another woman, who's brother was double-crossed by a gang of Yakuza's after murdering a man who the bosses wanted murdered because he knew too much. In the process the Yakuza bosses set this woman's brother up, to cover their own little scheme of corruption among the people in this town. So he's been on the run ever since and wants to go into Exile, but not before gettin these people who double-crossed him. Because the man who they double-crossed also knows too much, and they want to silence him forever. It's a game of cat & mouse. Zatoichi, being the man that he is, wants to help these two young ladies out, but also doesn't want to make anymore enemies, as that's all he pretty much has. He does what he's good at, and Zatoichi once again goes into battle to help these woman out, but not everything goes as planned, and Masseur Ichi must face one foe who believes he can take the blind-man in battle. A very exciting movie, as they usually are with the Zatoichi series.I for one, cannot wait until they come out on dvd, but will continue to watch, hopefully, the next two in the series if they continue to show them on IFC on their "Samurai Saturday's". I own all the series so far that they put out, and they are the prize of my Samurai collection that I have. Zatoichi is an overlooked folk hero of sorts, in my opinion, because he's overshadowed by the likes of Akira Kurosawa, and Tishiro Mifune. But Zatoichi holds his own, and does it with such grace & style. He is most certainly a legend in Japanese Cinema, and a well beloved, respected man in his life as an actor. Shintaro Katsu pasted away a few years back, but his memory lives on in these "Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman" series. They are a must have for any Samurai fan, and a great addition to collector's collection's everywhere, in my opinion. Rest In Peace my friend, and thanks for the memory's
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2001
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
Zatoichi at it again. The humble massuer stumbles into to a town or person and brings the corrupt and wicked to justice with his fast and furious swordwork. This film is another great installment of the Zatoichi series. These movies are all highly entertaining and a joy to own and watch. These films were all made in the 60's but are of a really high quality. What I like most about these films is that they deal more with the common people of that era of Japan rather than just dwelling on the Samurai cast. Highly recommended.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
The Zato Ichi Series features blind adventurer, expert swordsman who is protector of the weak. With all the vices including drinking and gambling, Ichi is surprisingly believeable in this improbable sounding film. Action packed and compasionate, this film shows a rarely seen aspect of the Japanese consciousness. This, like many of the Ichi films, includes unexpected twists and turns in the plot that make for an enjoyable evening of intertainment.
I recommend this film without reservations to young and old alike.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2006
This review is for Zatoichi No.9 and No.10 below. The amazon system has errors and will not post the #10 review [sends it to Zatoichi #10 & #13].
This 9th entry of Zatoichi "ADVENTURES OF ZATOICHI" has some of the most splendid cinematography around. Amazing that these episodes are so beautiful to watch. This 9th entry of Ichi, finds the protagonist asked to deliver a letter to Sen [Eiko Taki] And once again Zatoichi finds himself battling the villians. Villagers, entertainers and merchants are told that the New Years business tax has been upped to 40%. More than twice the previous amount. It appears that the new intendant Gorota Kajima [Akitake Kono] is trying to profit at the townspeople's expense.
Meanwhile Boss Jinbei [Kichijiro Ueda] has been installed as the enforcer to the new intendant. Caught in the middle of all this is Zatoichi, being the good-guy that he is, he takes on the band of ruffians, and in this predictable Ichi episode, the blind masseur manages once again to get rid of the "bad-guys" Even if he doesn't get the girl. Recommend [Stars: 3]
ZATOICHI NO. 10 "ZATOICHI'S REVENGE"
"I don't know who sent you, but you only get one life," says Zatoichi looking down upon the bodies of 3 assassins he has just dispatched with his cane-sword. And so begins the 10th entry of the long running Zatoichi series. It has been 10 years since Ichi was last in the village of Azabu. Looking for a dear friend, he is saddened to hear that Hikonichi, his friend has been felled by a skilled swordsman.
Enter Tatsugoro, the new boss of the town. And not a very nice person to boot. He has a thriving brothel business, courtesy of young women forced into prostitution on false charges of debts owed to them by husbands and fathers. Miss Sayo is the daughter of Hikonichi--and Ichi is upset to learn that she now works at the brothel. Tatsugoro and his henchmen have devised a system they think is foolproof for income. Kill the men, and take their women. Open up shop and everything will be just fine. Right? Wrong! What they don't expect is a blind, cane-sword wielding masseur by the name of Zatoichi.
This is a very good episode. One "bad-guy" samurai in particular who just can't wait to challenge Zatoichi is Koheta Kadokura. He gets his chance by the way: And he won't be reprising his role in episode #11, or any other after Ichi get's through with him. Or the rest of the evil villians in this episode--which is quite a few "bad-guys." As Ichi commences to depopulate the male population while freeing the enslaved women, all returns to normal in the village of Azabu. Highly recommend. [stars: 4]
on February 4, 2011
Zatoichi is a nice guy and agrees to delivery a note to a girl in the inn, an inn which happens to be in the direction he is going. You see, he plans to visit a mountain during the New Year's celebration to enjoy the first rays of the sun on a fresh, delightful, everything will be happy ever after, New Year. Well, as you can guess, as with most of the movies, he will be very disappointed. First off, a corrupt boss decides to take more than his fair share of the profits from the businesses and performers who come to help celebrate the coming of the New Year. Then the letter goes to the girl, turning out to be from her brother, who is wanted for a crime he DID do - but swears he was tricked into doing. Well, I could explain the rest of the plot but you already know it. And the daughter of the man he killed is in town...well, you get the idea.
The point is, even with the feeling that this is the same plots just put in a blender, the movie is still wonderful to watch. Lots of comedy, drama, and tragic events. One of the sub-plots is the fact that the town drunk got split off from his son at the same time that Zatoichi was separated from his father. For awhile there we think there may be a somewhat happy ending.
The festival is a good excuse for many of the actors to be dressed in wonderful, colorful outfits and many of the kimonos worn by the women are also a delight to see. And Zatoichi still has problems getting much of the rice into his mouth. Shinaro Katsu truly has wonderful timing when it comes to anything he does. And he gives this impression that he ENJOYS the part too.
There are also the gangsters which means there is lots of gambling, drinking, and fighting! A movie for the whole family!