Blu-ray, DVD Release: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Collection

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 26, 2013
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $224.95
Studio: Criterion

Shintaro Katsu relies on his blade in 1963's Zatoichi on the Road.

The colossally popular Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman action-adventure 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 25 Zatoichi films made between 1962 and 1973, collected in one package for the first time.

Here’s a list of the films in the collection:

The Tale Of Zatoichi (1962)
The Tale Of Zatoichi Continues (1962)
New Tale Of Zatoichi (1963)
Zatoichi The Fugitive (1963)
Zatoichi On The Road (1963)
Zatoichi And The Chest Of Gold (1964)
Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword (1964)
Fight, Zatoichi, Fight (1964)
Adventures Of Zatoichi (1964)
Zatoichi’s Revenge (1965)
Zatoichi And The Doomed Man (1965)
Zatoichi And The Chess Expert (1965)
Zatoichi’s Vengeance (1966)
Zatoichi’s Pilgrimage (1966)
Zatoichi’s Cane Sword (1967)
Zatoichi The Outlaw (1967)
Zatoichi Challenged (1967)
Zatoichi And The Fugitives (1968)
Samaritan Zatoichi (1968)
Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970)
Zatoichi Goes To The Fire Festival (1970)
Zatoichi Meets The One-Armed Swordsman (1971)
Zatoichi At Large (1972)
Zatoichi In Desperation (1972)
Zatoichi’s Conspiracy (1973)

Presented in Japanese with English subtitles, the collection is comprised of 9 Blu-ray discs and 18 DVD discs, and it includes the following features:

• New digital restorations of all twenty-five films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
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 for all twenty-five films
• New English subtitle translations
• 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



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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.