Path of Blood
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PATH OF BLOOD - An Animated Love Letter to the Gory Japanese Samurai Films, Done in the Unique Style of "South Park"
Japan, 1614. War is over. Samurai displaced through defeat or reform wander the countryside as Ronin, seeking work where they can find it. At the edge of a forgotten village lies a path leading deep into the mountains. It is rumored the brave few who make it down the path will be rewarded with a life of freedom and purpose. However, none who have entered the path have returned. When a lone samurai sets his course towards the Path of Blood, unknown danger and terror awaits. Will his great swordsmanship be enough to survive?
PATH OF BLOOD is the first animated film by Eric Power. Shot frame-by-frame in traditional paper stop motion (like the pilot episode of SOUTH PARK), the film boasts a unique visual style paired with a visceral tale of samurai, bandits, and deadly ninja. Many years in the making, this film is a love letter to the Japanese samurai genre, as well as a tribute to the ultra-violence of the LONE WOLF AND CUB series.
Making of PATH OF BLOOD Featurette.
PATH OF BLOOD - The Original Short Film.
Original Promotional Trailer.
"Video Game" Inspired Trailer.
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The story revolves around ancient samurai who were left to their own devices when the Shogun found no need for them any longer. Zazuo is one of those left behind, now a Ronin or samurai without a lord to command him. As he travels the countryside he makes a few friends and continues on until he learns of a place where warriors are needed, where he could once again serve a lord who would make use of his abilities.
But the path there is not for the meek or untrained. Along the journey he takes down the path he is confronted by various foes who will determine if he is worthy or not to reach the final destination. And that final destination involves a lord unwilling to make any compromise named Osamu. Will Zazuo’s sword skills be enough to earn him a place at Osamu’s side? Or will he even want that once he gets there?
The story here is a simple one but then there were a number of the classic samurai films in the past whose stories were simple. There was no need for convoluted tales when the ones being told fleshed out an entire film. The same holds true here as writer/director Eric Power uses the onscreen time (not to mention the pain staking laborious task of animating it all) to tell the story.
That someone could accomplish the animation this way is an amazing feat. While I’m sure SOUTH PARK has a team of animators working nonstop on each episode from all accounts Power was working alone to produce this film. That’s an amazing task and one done for love of what a person is doing. The enthusiasm he shows in the extras included here giving a behind the scenes look at what was involved prove this.
The end result is a movie that fans of samurai movies and animated films will be sure to enjoy. It isn’t the standard Friday night date movie, instead a film created for those who enjoy what is being offered. If you fall into that category then by all means make a point of picking this up and adding it to your collection.
Do yourself a favor a pick up this unique film. There's a good reason a label like Synapse felt the need to unleash it upon the world.