New digital restorations of all twenty-five films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
The Blind Swordsman, a 1978 documentary about Zatoichi portrayer and filmmaker Shintaro Katsu, along with a new interview with its director, John Nathan
New interview with Asian-film critic Tony Rayns
Trailers, New English subtitle translations
PLUS: A book featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O'Brien; synopses of the films by critic, novelist, and musician Chris D.; "The Tale of Zatoichi," the original short story by Kan Shimozawa; and twenty-five new illustrations inspired by the films, by twenty-five different artists
The colossally popular Zatoichi films make up the longest-running action series in Japanese history and created one of the screen's great heroes: an itinerant blind masseur who also happens to be a lightning-fast swordsman. As this iconic figure, the charismatic and earthy Shintaro Katsu became an instant superstar, lending a larger-than-life presence to the thrilling adventures of a man who lives staunchly by a code of honor and delivers justice in every town and village he enters. The films that feature him are variously pulse-pounding, hilarious, stirring, and completely off-the-wall. This deluxe set features the string of twenty-five Zatoichi films made between 1962 and 1973, collected in one package for the first time.
Unrated (Not Rated)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'll keep this short-and-sweet. This set is one of the most beautiful, thoughtfully-designed, and well-made Blu-Ray/DVD Collector's Set packages I've ever had the luxury of owning. It's a gem. Yes, the discs are all held in cardboard sleeves, but the playing-side of the discs is against a clear, smooth piece of thin plastic, so providing you tease the discs out carefully and don't mistreat the packaging, your discs should remain shiny and spotless for years to come. These are not the same kind of useless cardboard sleeves other manufacturers have used. All of my discs arrived in spotless condition, and I have no doubt they will remain that way, thanks to Criterion's very well thought-out packaging.
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...
This Criterion collection exceeded my expectations. As someone new to the blu-ray experience, I never thought I'd see the Zatoichi movies looking so crisp and clean. The accompanying booklet is quite good: there are summaries (including cast and credit info) on all 25 films in this collection, each one paired with an often evocative illustration done by different artists; an overview essay of the series; and the short story by Shimozawa Kan that first introduced the character of Zatoichi. Bonus features include the 1978 documentary about Katsu Shintaro by John Nathan. This was of particular interest to me since I had been looking for a copy of it since I had become aware of its existence (when I read Nathan's autobiography published several years ago). It's a revealing and frank look at Katsushin, warts and all.
Fans of the Zatoichi movies would be well served to get this collection--the improvement in video quality from previous VHS and standard DVD issues is striking...
This gorgeously designed box contains all but one of Zatoichi movies starring Shintaro Katsu. The remastered blu rays surpassed the dvd versions previously put out by HVE and Animeigo. Richer color and sound. Bevy of details. Plus a hi-def compilation of 25 trailers with hugely entertaining blurbs. A "Blind Swordman" documentary and two interviews. An accompanied booklet with stylized illustration and summary/backstory for each movie. As for the movies, they have everything. Humor, love, poignancy, and gore. Incredible composition and brilliant cinematography. Well blocked out and clearly executed actions. No shaky and quick cuts. Several soundtracks of the films toward the end of the series carry the fun 70's vibe. And this box set makes binge viewing a cinch. An excellent buy for me.
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