679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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domino harvey
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#76 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:49 pm

Moe Dickstein wrote:Blus have a very rugged anti scratch coating.
I pretty much only use my physical Netflix for Blu-rays for that very reason-- watching every scratched to hell DVD I received became a never ending game of waiting out Don't Break the Ice

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Vegeta84
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#77 Post by Vegeta84 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:28 pm

Not sure if this is the best place to post this, but if anyone is interested in the box and the all the blue-ray disks for a good price let me know. I plan on taking the DVDs out of the case and keeping the book and DVDs only.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#78 Post by Vegeta84 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:39 pm

Also the Zatoichi boxset is 157.47 on Amazon.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#79 Post by Dragoon En Regalia » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:21 am


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Mr Sausage
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#80 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:46 pm

Can't wait to tell people off for making swiftly corrected errors on the internet? Go here!

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#81 Post by cdnchris » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:42 am

For those curious:

The Blu-rays all contain 3 films except for the last one, which contains one film and then all of the supplements.

The DVDs contain 1 or 2 films each. Discs that host just one film are single-layer except for the last one, which is dual-layer and also contains supplements. There is then another dual-layer disc with the rest of the supplements.


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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#83 Post by movielocke » Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:58 pm

Easily the most stunning set I own, surpassing the impressive Ford at Fox quite handily.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#84 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:19 pm

While I've seen three of the later entries, this was my first time watching the inaugural entry, Tale of Zatoichi. It's a lot more melancholy than I was expecting. There are fewer action scenes (I only counted two), and the movie doesn't find anything positive in the violence. Indeed, it makes it a point to show how innocents always suffer from violence, throw-away moments of action not excepted. Zatoichi's first moment of violence, a typically superfluous scene meant to show off his skill to the viewer, ends up having some sad consequences for an innocent man who showed Zatoichi kindness. The film plainly takes itself more seriously than the later, purely escapist films.

Unfortunately, the plotting is a lot more haphazard and baggy than the later entries. It's the usual Zatoichi set-up, with a main plot involving some yakuza war and a sub-plot involving a woman or a family or some set of innocents with a more local, tangentially related problem. But the two strands aren't married well, so the movie proceeds by fits and starts. The series obviously perfected its story-telling as it went along.

I liked the film well enough. Its more serious, sad tone was appreciated, as was its more mature approach to violence. The plotting issues made it drag, tho'. So while the series gets more frivolous as it goes along, it also becomes more watchable and entertaining. That said, the film's melancholy tone does linger throughout the series, especially in an entry like Zatoichi's Cane Sword, my favourite of the four I've seen and one I'm looking forward to rewatching.

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tenia
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#85 Post by tenia » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:47 am

While I was aware of the series, I've never seen any of them before, and was surprised positively surprised by the melancholy going through them (at least, the first 6 movies I've watched so far). It's pretty serious, in opposite to what seems like closely related Yojimbo / Sanjuro and the Lone Wolf & Cub franchise.
However, I don think that the short lengths of the movies help them keeping a good pace even if the plots are sometimes a bit hicky.

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Matt
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#86 Post by Matt » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:41 pm

Okay everyone: from here on out, any posts about packaging in this thread will be deleted. Post them in the covers & packaging thread or not at all.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#87 Post by Orlac » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:07 pm

My apologies Matt, forgot there was a packaging thread.

I noticed on the discs an amusing error: the copyright notice for Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo says 1965 instead of 1970, as does the book.

The only flaw with the actual content, these are such great movies! And it's a delight to hear Zatoichi Meets The One Armed Swordsman's audio back to normal, as it was horribly distorted and compressed on the last DVD.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#88 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:42 pm

Having checked to see if it is available on YouTube I thought that it might be fun to link to Takeshi Kitano's pre-Zatoichi remake lampooning of the Zatoichi character in a short scene from his sex comedy skit film Getting Any?

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#89 Post by StevenJ0001 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:53 pm

If one were to dip into these films before committing to buying the set, which would be good titles to pick?

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#90 Post by knives » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:59 pm

The first is fairly good if not absolutely representative. Chest of Gold is probably my favorite at this point (though I still need to go through a few) being highly stylish and very fast. For a more sedate character bound episode the one with Yojimbo is good work.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#91 Post by StevenJ0001 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:30 am

Thanks knives--I'll check those ones out! :)

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Mr Sausage
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#92 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:48 am

So far my favourite is number 4, Zatoichi the Fugitive

Two really good entry points are number 12, Zatoichi and the Chess Expert and number 13, Zatoichi's Vengeance. But numbers 1-4 form a coherent group (they have plot reverberations between them), making them an ideal entry point. If you decide to stop there, number 4 serves as a nice conclusion/wrapping up point, so you won't feel like you've left things hanging.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#93 Post by StevenJ0001 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:58 am

Great info, thanks Mr Sausage!

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tenia
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#94 Post by tenia » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:38 am

So far, having watched the 6 1st movies, I really liked the 2nd and the third entry, which have a nice emotional layer.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#95 Post by swo17 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:45 am

A lot of these sort of run together in my memory, but I think I second the recs for Chest of Gold and Chess Expert. I also really like the ending of Flashing Sword, whose name I only remember because of Criterion's image for that film. Also, Samaritan Zatoichi. I would not recommend the Yojimbo one if you're looking for something like the original Yojimbo.

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knives
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#96 Post by knives » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:47 am

Though it is more like it than the fourth Yojimbo movie.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#97 Post by manicsounds » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:10 am

The second film, with Katsu's real-life brother Tomisaburo Wakayama in the rival role was great, but that one makes some references to the first film, so they should be watched together.

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StevenJ0001
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#98 Post by StevenJ0001 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:18 am

Thanks all--very helpful!
swo17 wrote:I would not recommend the Yojimbo one if you're looking for something like the original Yojimbo.
I was actually tempted to watch that first because of Mifune, but I may leave it for later.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#99 Post by manicsounds » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:29 am

With this and the Kurosawa boxsets being the biggest sets Criterion has released, I wonder what the chances are that they would consider a 48-film set of the Tora-San series. I know Animeigo released a 4-film boxset dubbed "Volume 1" years ago, and never did anything beyond that. But then again, Shochiku Japan has not released a blu-ray set yet, so they might have to wait for that.

Speaking of Shochiku, who originally released the 1989 film, I guess they only had theatrical rights as the DVD didn't come from them in Japan. I know Arrow released that film on DVD in the past, and they also released the first Zatoichi film on DVD last year.

Has anyone compared how the Arrow DVD stacks up? And what are the chances of Arrow doing Zatoichi Blu-rays?

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#100 Post by dwk » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:53 pm

After Criterion announced this set, I tweeted to Arrow and asked if they had any plans to release the last Zatoichi on Blu-ray and they said no.

I'm pretty sure Arrow's DVD is from the exact same master that Media Blasters used for their DVD.
Last edited by dwk on Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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