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Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
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This boxset contains seven DVDs, all from the tail end of the Zatoichi series when Katsu had taken over the production duties on the series. They are all quality films, with "The Festival of Fire" and "Zatoichi meets Yojimbo" being among the best of the entire run. Its a great price for seven DVDs as well, which would cost much more if bought individually.
For those starting out with Zatoichi, the films are diverse enough to give a good feel for the flavor of the series. Funny films and serious films, they all have the charm and appeal that only Shintaro Katsu could bring to the table in a samurai action film. And this is some seriously cool samurai action. Katsu was a great actor, and a great swordsman as well.
The films in this collection are:
Zatoichi #16 - the Outlaw - A complicated story with a vast cast of characters. Directed by Satsuo Yamamoto, who also made the 1968 ghost story "Botan Doro."
Zatoichi #20 - Meets Yojimbo - A highly anticipated showdown between Zatoichi and Toshiro Mifune playing his famous Yojimbo character. Directed by acclaimed samurai film master Kihachi Okamoto, best known for "Sworld of Doom" and "Kill!"
Zatoichi #21 - The Festival of Fire - Considered one of the best entries in the series, directed by the original Zatoichi director Kenji Misumi.Read more ›
It may sound wierd--but it's top flight entertainment--and historically, the blind in Japan were taught to be masseurs by trade. There's just a perfect blend of drama, action and comedy in these movies to keep things interesting at all times. Nowhere near as bloody as movies like "Lone Wolf"--the fight scenes are very well done--and there's just a little blood and gore thrown in now and then. Katsu Shintaro is just fantastic in this role-and though I also like him as "Hanzo the Razor"-he plays the role of Zatoichi to perfection.
If you're not familiar with Zatoichi--or if you only know the blond, blind Zatoichi from Takeshi Kitano--give this a try--unless you have a hang up with subtitles--you're sure to be pleased!
The seven movies in this set are "Zatoichi the Outlaw", Zatoichi meets Yojimbo" (with Mifune}, "Zatoichi meets the One Armed Swordman", "Zatoichi at Large", "Zatoichi in Desperation", "Zatoichi:The Festival of Fire" and "Zatoichi's Conspiracy"
Shintaro Katsu has an amazing ability to draw the audience into the "willing suspension of disbelief" in regards to these episodes. Some viewers may find a few of the scenes (in later episodes) to be shocking or disgusting. Fortunately, these are very rare, as are the occasional bad actors that remind us that this is not real but show business. With such things being wonderfully absent in 97 percent of the mix, this collection of DVDs is a great addition to my growing library. I have mostly Toshiro Mifune movies, and the "Spaghetti Western" flavor of this Zatoichi collection fits right in.
Some might say that Zatoichi is like the Lone Ranger or Eastwood's characters where one comes into a town, and defeats the bad guys with wits and amazing talent, dropping the jaws of the locals. Being a blind masseuse, Zatoichi has "super-hearing" much like the comic-book hero "DareDevil" and regularly does amazing feats that are very entertaining and sometimes deliberately humorous.
A really excellent bunch of movies/episodes, so 5 stars is what I give it.
This really is a delightful and lovely set, that will take pride of place in any Blu-Ray or DVD collection. Just remember that this set is Region-Locked, so all the DVD's are Region 1, and all of the Blu-Ray's are Region A. Other than that, the films look great, and Criterion have really pushed the boat out on this set. One of the best releases of any set of films from anywhere in the world I've ever seen.
You owe it to yourself to get this collection now!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i will certainly purchase this excellent collection of movies with the great katsu shintaro before it will be sold out.
I hate the high prices set by speculators
This is a great series. I first saw it in Japan without subtitles and loved it. Having the subtitles is nice, however, I found that I spent more time reading them than watching... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Philip D. McGaughey
This was an absolutely killer Disc Set. I loved everything about it, the great inserts & of course, the films themselves! Very well done set for sure!Published 3 months ago by Bradley
The 1960's TV series "Wagon Train" meets "Star Wars." That is the best description.
Simple morality tales. Read more
I had been looking for this set for years but finally found it right after it had been released. Not only did it come with all movies on blu-ray, but also on dvd as well. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Woody Drury
"Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman" is a box set of 25 movies from 1962-1973 with Shintaro Katsu portraying the lead character of Zatoichi. Read morePublished 6 months ago by G. Edmonson
I am a big fan of this blind swordsman and this collection is absolutely epic. There is only one negative point: the last film of zatoichi, filmed in 1989, is not included.Published 7 months ago by Jaime Ruiz
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