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Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 1 - The Tale of Zatoichi


4.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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(May 14, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews


Zatoichi, the wandering masseur and master swordsman, is a mercenary hero with a difference: he's blind, and no less deadly for it. In his debut, Ichi shuffles into a gangster-run town like a wry con man, fleecing the dim-bulb gambling thugs and sponging off a local mob boss who wants the deadly Ichi on his side in an impending gang war. Released the same year Akira Kurosawa unleashed Yojimbo, stocky Shintaro Katsu's modest and soft-spoken Ichi couldn't be more different from the dynamic Toshiro Mifune's swaggering and arrogant Yojimbo. Director Kenji Misume can't match Kurosawa's searing cynicism or dynamic action, but when Ichi finally lets loose after avoiding conflict for the entire film, his spare, sudden attack makes a startling contrast to the usual flashing swords and furious movements. Zatoichi returned in 25 sequels and a long-running TV series, always played by Shintaro Katsu.

The newly restored DVD features a small stills gallery, a fold-out insert with an essay by Tatsu Aoki (a self described "Ichi Freak"), and four collector cards. --Sean Axmaker

From the Back Cover

This is the movie that introduced the legend of Zatoichi and its star Shintaro Katsu, ushering in a new era of the Japanese samurai film. Practicing his trade as a masseur in a small province, Satoichi finds himself caught in a turf war between rival yakuza gangs. Aware of Zatoichi's reputation as an undefeatable swordsman, yakuza leader Sukejoro tries to hire him-unsuccessfully-as a mercenary. But it's too late. The other gang leader, Shigezo, hires a warrior with an equally fierce reputation to challenge Zatoichi. Thus the legend of Zatoichi begins with intensely choreographed battle scenes and an expertly crafted story.

Special features

  • Gallery of original theatrical stills

Product details

  • Actors: Shintarô Katsu, Masayo Banri, Ryûzô Shimada, Hajime Mitamura, Shigeru Amachi
  • Directors: Kenji Misumi
  • Writers: Kan Shimozawa, Minoru Inuzuka
  • Producers: Ikuo Kubodera
  • Format: Black & White, Dubbed, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 14, 2002
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000063UQU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,564 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 1 - The Tale of Zatoichi" on IMDb

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June 24, 2002
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