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Tora-San: Collector's Set 1

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

TORA-SAN, a 48-film series, is by far the longest-running film series in Japanese history and the second-longest overall in the world. Typical story lines have Tora-san, a suitcase carrying, leisure-suit wearing, traveling salesman visiting different parts of Japan, where he meets a beautiful young woman, is smitten, and tells her if she ever needs help, she should come visit him in his hometown. After returning home to his family, which disapproves of his wandering lifestyle, the damsel in distress shows up, and Tora-san falls in love. Alas, his attempts to help her, and win her heart, invariably cause her to fall for someone else. Included in the set are the first four films of the series, “It's Tough being a Man”, “Tora-san's Cherished Mother”, “Tora-san, His Tender Love”, and “Tora-san's Grand Scheme”.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Kiyoshi Atsumi
  • Directors: Yoji Yamada
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: ANIMEIGO
  • DVD Release Date: November 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 365 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002LFPBGU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,912 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 24, 2009
Format: DVD
I always felt like a little bit of a fraud calling myself a fan of Japanese film and yet never having seen even one "Tora-san" ("Otoko wa Tsurai yo!" or "It's Tough Being a Man") flick. The 48-film series holds the Guinness book record for being the longest running film series staring the same actor, and is an integral part of Japanese film. Fortunately, with Animeigo's box set release of the first four films in the series, that gap has been remedied.

It is impossible to underestimate the importance of the "Tora san" film series. Released twice a year between 1969-1995, the films were a stable and perennial part of Japanese movie life. One new film in August, and one new film in December, the plots and characters of the films almost never varied, and had the same comfortable familiarity of a seasonal food. Mother's pumpkin pie recipe never changed, but you still looked forward to it every Thanksgiving. That's how it was with "Tora san."

Every book on Japanese film, from Donald Richie's seminal A Hundred Years of Japanese Film to Mark Schilling's Contemporary Japanese Film has something to say about the ragged drifter in his battered hat and suitcase full of mischief. Some see the "Tora san" films as an exercise in harmless sentimental nostalgia, with the unique merit of longevity, while some, like Alex Kerr in his book
...Read more ›
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Format: DVD
It's good to see that the Tora-san series, which claims to be the longest running film series ever and has been wildly popular in its native Japan, has finally become available in North America with this AnimEigo box set of the first four films. The films might be described as formulaic sentimental comedies: in every episode the bumbling anti-hero Tora-san, a traveling salesman who supplements his income with occasional con games, visits his relatives in Tokyo, meets a damsel in distress whom he helps and falls in love with, and ends up not getting the girl and taking to the road again. But the formula doesn't become tedious -- these are the sorts of films where part of the attraction is seeing how they are going to handle the formula this time. The box set is excellent, with an informative booklet, excellent DVD transfer, and a choice of basic subtitles or fuller ones including some notes to explain things non-Japanese viewers probably wouldn't get. Not great art, but very entertaining. Suitable for family viewing, except maybe for occasional profanity. I think everyone would enjoy these, especially people who have any interest in contemporary Japan. It's to be hoped that AAnimEigo will continue issuing the series in this format.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first got exposed to Tora-san decades ago. Now, watching these movies brings back nostalgia as I see a Japan that I experienced in the 1960s, and that has largely disappeared.

Or not: a couple of years ago, in a small yakitori-ya in Kawasaki, a local workman told me, "If you want to understand Japan, see Tora-san films." So although the physical aspect of the country has been transformed, the psychology--and certain stereotypes--persist. Tora-san himself is like a Japanese everyman--with the added touch of being a yakuza (Japanese mafioso), although this aspect is rarely touched upon. In today's Japan, he still exists, obscured by the image of faceless "salarymen" in suits--but he's the one who runs the day labor hiring pool and acts as enforcer at local festivals. To watch these movies attentively is to see a side of Japan that's rarely commented on.

Especially considering the rate at which these films were cranked out, the Tora-san films are very good. (One could say the same of many of America's early film stars.) In this set, the translations are excellent--smooth and idiomatic. If you're learning Japanese, these could be a good tool.

I gave this set only 4 starts because my personal preference would have been a slightly different selection of films. But the quality is excellent.
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This is the first four films of the 48 film series. Absolutely wonderful. In 14 days from the date of writing (30April 2013) we,my wife and I, will be in Shibamata again for our
second visit to that suburb of Tokyo, where the series was filmed. We will visit the Tora - san Museum again, and, this time we are going to try and find Sakura and Hiroshi's house.
They moved to their new home in film #26. Hiroshi and Sakura are Tora - san's sister and brother-in-law. We will, of course, visit the temple again, and stroll the main street. Just where it was filmed, all 48 films,- it only finished when Tora-san died. Kyoshi Atsumi is Tora- san .. and we love him. Alas he died in 1995. Yoji Yamada, the director of all the films, except two, IS a genius. We have seen 35 of Tora-san's films and loved every one. Only the Japanese can pull this off. We have got 13 films to go. Then we can start again. We bought the all the films out of Hong Kong at a site called YesAsia. These films are everything about Japan that we love. Buy them all! We have.
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