Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman - Collection 1 Directed by Shintaro Katsu
Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman - Collection 1
 Directed by Shintaro Katsu
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Product Description
A threat is uttered, a blade is drawn, a flash of cold steel and then...a dozen attackers now lie silent, dispatched by the lightning sword of Zatoichi. A humble masseur and gambler, Zatoichi wanders the countryside of Japan, going from town to town plying his trade and rolling the dice. With kind heart and lethal sword skills, he is protector of the innocent and the ruin of wicked men. A pop culture icon since his screen debut in 1962, Zatoichi (played by Shintaro Katsu) was a matinee favorite throughout the 1960s. After a dozen years and 25 films, the blind swordsman transitioned to the small screen in 1974 in the series, "Zatoichi Monogatari". The first 13 episodes have been compiled in this three-volume, six -disc set.
Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #118778 in DVD
  • Brand: Media Blasters
  • Released on: 2008-03-11
  • Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)
  • Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Formats: Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Original language: Japanese
  • Subtitled in: English
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Dimensions: .80" h x 5.50" w x 7.50" l, .45 pounds
  • Running time: 585 minutes
  • Customer Reviews

    Most helpful customer reviews

    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
    5A Must-Have Cult Classic
    By Darby
    Product: ZATOICHI: The Blind Swordsman (Television Series), Collections One & Two (Season 1, 1974)
    DVD Supplier/Format: "Tokyo Shock" DVD (6+6=12 discs total), 1:33 Full Screen, NTSC, Japanese with English subtitles
    Rating: 5/5 (excellent) for the TV Series, but only 3/5 (fair) for this DVD collection.

    Note: Scroll down for a full list of the episodes included in this collection.

    I'm a die-hard Ichi-fan, and it was a brief run-in with several episodes that prompted me to study Iaiado back in the late 1980's. It is widely reputed that the American "Kung Fu" TV series (1972-1975), starring the late David Carradine was directly inspired by this series, and the hit Graphic Novel "Lone Wolf and Cub" was a nearly direct adaptation.

    The basic premise is this: blind lower-caste loveable Japanese "peasant hero", wanders the countryside, from village to village, helping the downtrodden, during the Edo period of Feudal Japan. He poses as a masseuse, with a huge appetite for food and sake, but it's his superhuman skills with his hidden cane-sword, and his gambling dice, that make him an irresistible force to be reckoned with, and the bane of local yakuza. Every week featured a new orphan, couple, family, or village in trouble, and Ichi's passage though town is always the catalyst for a dramatic resolution to the conflict du jour. It's a feel-good formula that's been used again and again, in endless permutations, in TV and comic book series the world over, be they sighted or blind ... The Gunfighter, Robin Hood, Zorro, Daredevil, etc. It's rightfully considered a cult classic, and spanned 26 theatrical movies, and a hit TV series that ran for 4 seasons (approximately 100 episodes).

    That brings us, at last, to this DVD collection, which unfortunately, was not labeled and assembled very well:

    The Good:
    * Collections One and Two together include the complete first season (1974) of "Tales of Zatoichi" (TV Series). Twenty six episodes of pure Zatoichi goodness. Love it !

    The Bad:
    * Confusing Amazon product description that fails to list much of anything about the series, or the episodes included in this collection.
    * DVD Jackets that fails to list the episodes included.
    * DVD labels that are confusingly marked by collection, volume and disc number, rather than by season and episode numbers.
    * Top Menus that fail to list the episodes included on each disc ... you have to navigate down to, and through, the individual scene selection menus in order to find the episode numbers present, and even then they're not always present, and don't include the English episode titles.
    * Clumsy DVD cases with a fragile inner hinge, and holders that grasp the discs much too firmly (you have to nearly bend the discs in half to detach them).
    * The digital transfers were apparently made from an un-restored copy of the original series ... the quality is somewhat below average.

    Bottom Line: Zatoichi is an awesome series. It's a shame this particular collection (by "Tokyo Shock") was released with such mediocre packaging and confusing labels and digital menus ... but despite that, it's still highly recommended, if only because it's Zatoichi.

    p.s. As a courtesy to my fellow Ichi fans, here's a manually typed index of all the episodes included in this collection. Enjoy.

    TV Series: "Tales of Zatoichi", Season 1 [1974]

    Collection 1:

    Vol 1 Disc 1 Episodes:
    1. A Challenge Of Chance
    2. The Flower That Bloomed With The Lullaby
    3. A Memorial Day And The Bell Of Life

    Vol 1 Disc 2 Episodes:
    4. The Kannon Statue that was Bound
    5. The Heartless Man, Touched By Compassion

    Vol 2 Disc 1 Episodes:
    6. Pouring Rain
    7. A Bird Lands On Ichi

    Vol 2 Disc 2 Episodes:
    8. An Unforgettable Flower
    9. The Second Zatoichi

    Vol 3 Disc 1 Episodes:
    10. The Sumo Wrestler That Found His Home
    11. The Whirlwind Of Kisoji

    Vol 3 Disc 2 Episodes:
    12. Humanity And Justice
    13. The 1,000 Ryo Raffle

    Collection 2:

    Vol 4 Disc 1 Episodes:
    14. Fighting Journey With Baby In Tow
    15. Festival Song Of The Raven

    Vol 4 Disc 2 Episodes:
    16. The Wind From Mt. Akagi
    17. Burning Sunset on the Bridal Pass

    Vol 5 Disc 1 Episodes:
    18. A Rush Trip
    19. A Rainbow Over My Homeland

    Vol 5 Disc 2 Episodes:
    20. The Female Yakuza Boss
    21. The Little Flower By The Lake

    Vol 6 Disc 1 Episodes:
    22. A Father And Son's Song
    23. A Lover's Suicide Song
    24. The Coming Of Spring

    Vol 6 Disc 2 Episodes:
    25. The Yakuza Ways
    26. Traveling Alone

    0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
    4The beginning of a classic series. I rented the ...
    By Kungfuzhun
    The beginning of a classic series. I rented the HD version but later found that I could have rented a SD version but that much of the series is available on Youtube for free. With 26 movies in the series it adds up.

    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
    5Makes me want to continue this right away
    By James I. Valdez
    Superb film. Not as cinema-artsy as you might like it to be but it's a fun movie.

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