Zatoichi

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Overview

The character of the blind masseur/swordsman, Zatoichi, is without a doubt the most popular Japanese movie hero ever. From his first appearance in this 1962 film to his last in 1988, Zatoichi (as played by the remarkable Shintaro Katsu) has dazzled audiences worldwide with his deft fighting skills and unbreakable sense of honor. Although the lone samurai Sanjuro (played by the legendary Toshiro Mifune) from Akira Kurosawa's classic film Yojimbo and its eponymously titled sequel may be more familiar to Western ...
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Overview

The character of the blind masseur/swordsman, Zatoichi, is without a doubt the most popular Japanese movie hero ever. From his first appearance in this 1962 film to his last in 1988, Zatoichi (as played by the remarkable Shintaro Katsu) has dazzled audiences worldwide with his deft fighting skills and unbreakable sense of honor. Although the lone samurai Sanjuro (played by the legendary Toshiro Mifune) from Akira Kurosawa's classic film Yojimbo and its eponymously titled sequel may be more familiar to Western audiences, Zatoichi more than carries his own when it comes to longevity. For those of you who have never had the pleasure to watch a Japanese samurai film, then this release from Home Vision Entertainment should be a perfect introduction. The Tale of Zatoichi is the first installment in the saga of the blind swordsman, and luckily Home Vision plans on releasing 17 films in all (there are 26 films in the entire series though, not including the numerous television shows). The disc is presented in an excellent 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is available in its original Japanese language with optional English subtitles. The black-and-white picture is very nice, though some of the scenes are a bit too dark. So you may want to adjust the brightness level on your own monitor as desired. The disc includes 19 chapter stops, some interesting liner notes from self-proclaimed Ichi-Freak Tatsu Aoki, and a nice gallery of theatrical stills. But best of all, the disc comes with four Zatoichi trading cards showing scenes of the blind swordsman from his numerous sequels.
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Special Features

Fully restored image presented in original widescreen aspect ratio; Newly translated subtitles; Gallery of original theatrical stills
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/14/2002
  • UPC: 037429168226
  • Original Release: 1962
  • Rating:

  • Source: Homevision
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Black & White / Mono
  • Sound: monaural
  • Language: Japanese
  • Time: 1:36:00
  • Format: DVD

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits & Title Sequence [1:55]
2. Tight Quarters [4:27]
3. Make Your Bets [3:03]
4. A Trustworthy Man [7:48]
5. Sibling Discord [3:12]
6. Fateful Meeting [5:28]
7. Stealing Customers [2:38]
8. One More [5:22]
9. Can You Do This? [5:15]
10. Smell of a Woman [4:01]
11. Getting Acquainted [6:07]
12. Let's Watch [6:16]
13. Kill the Messenger [3:48]
14. Under the Moonlight [10:23]
15. Coward [3:39]
16. No Rifle [7:16]
17. The Trap [3:27]
18. The Duel [6:39]
19. Honor [5:12]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Chapters
   Gallery
   Subtitles
      Subtitles: On
      Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

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( 1 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Blind(Zatoichi) Beating the Blind(Mainstream)

    My first introduction to Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman was through IFC's Samurai Saturdays. I had recently discovered a love for samurai films and was greatly excited to find a channel that allowed me to indulge. I have seen other samurai classics like Yojimbo and Ran, and thought that they were wonderful films. But, there was something about Zatoichi that made a profound effect on me. Shintaro Katsu has Everyman wriiten all over him, with his not traditionally handsome face and slightly pudgy physical stature almost dissolving the fact that he is portraying the most lethal hero in cinematic history. Zatoichi makes a living as a masseus, a low ranking status of the Japanese Caste system, and by gambling(at which he is uncommonly good ). Samurai who come across him brush him off as a peasant, but those who have opposed him find themselves lying dead in the dirt. Lightning fast and equally accurate, Shintaro Katsu's blind swordman is a force to be reckoned with. And of course, the fact that Zatoichi is blind just so much more cooler. I don't mean like Daredevil blind, where his other four senses are so heightened, that the only thing a sighted man can do that Daredevil can't is tell you what color your shirt is. No, Zatoichi is blind and it is though the extreme training that was hinted in the film, that puts him (irresistable pun ahead) a cut above the rest. While Zatoichi is both physically impressive and awe inspiring, it should be clearly stated that he keeps you captivated during the moments that don't require him to draw his sword from his cane. The character's moral standpoint combined with his quick wit and sometimes dry humor, make Zatoichi one of the most charming of heroes. Katsu is a fine actor, but also helps the writing is top notch, something that mainstream cinema has almost all forgotten. Before studios tried to numb audiences with CG effects, A good story, strong direction and true to life characters were the true special effects and Zatoichi has that in spades. Although made in 1962, to watch the film now feels like breath of fresh air, for this film and the 25 others that came after it,is a testament to great cinema. And while Shintaro Katsu passed away five years ago, he is still generating new fan base that grows largerwith the steady release of the DVD collection. So if you happen to home Saturday and are in the mood for a a good story and fearsome sword play, you can rest assure that if 'Zatoichi: The Tale of Zatoichi' isn't on IFC, Blockbuster will.

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