View Full Version : Favorite Zatoichi Films and Why?
03-24-2004, 07:40 PM
I'm working on my second time through the series of films, and this time in order. Last night I watched a couple of them, and I have to say I think I have my favorites narrowed down.
#3: Zatoichi's Flashing Sword (The lead chick is smoking hot, fight choreography is blinding, and Ichi's interactions with the fireworks maker are priceless.)
#2: Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (Probably the strongest plot, and strongest ending in the series. With this film, class struggle becomes a regular theme in the series.)
#1: Fight Zatoichi Fight (Watching the series in order finally, it's clear that Katsu's character changes with the end of this film, and this change resonates through the series.)
What does everyone else think? What's your favorite Ichi film and why? Also, which of his duels reigns supreme?
03-24-2004, 10:37 PM
From what I've seen (still haven't caught the unreleased entries yet), definitely Fight, Zatoichi, Fight. They all have their strong points, but Kenji Misumi always brings something more to the table in his installments.
Actually, I'd also like to hear what everyones least favorite Ichi flick is, and why.
03-25-2004, 12:12 AM
Hmmm, today my favorite Zatoichi flick is "Zatoichi the Outlaw." The opening scene always does it for me. I love the way Ichi takes the most sincere bow after hitting the small target. And watch how the women who was closest to Ichi looks at the target and then looks at Ichi and looks at the target before she hits the gong and says, "bingo!" Brilliant! She deserves an academy award, an oscar and a soul train music award, IMO. And the women who set up the target and counted to three deserves honorable mention for her sensational fall. I still question if they were acting.
And then, there's the end. Did you see the way that the farmers load Ichi up as though he is a tank or some other inanimate object? They nearly drop him over the water. Katsu never breaks character. He is then unloaded and Ichi dispences justice. After he is done, he walks away limping. All the while, the farmers are cring and thanking him, "Arigoto, Ichi-san!" Chills!
You ask the same question tomorrow, my answer may be different.
Least favorite Ichi films would be the following:
"The Blind Swordsman Samaritan"
"Zatoichi's Ocean Voyage" bka "Zatoichi's Pilgrimage"
"Zatoichi and the Doomed Man"
"The Blind Swordsman's Fire Festival"
"The Return of Masseur Ichi"
Why? Those films failed to grab me by my emotions.
By the way, I am a huge "Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo" fan. Classic!
03-25-2004, 12:57 AM
Great topic ... as I'm always interested in what others have to say.
I've only seen 10 of the titles. I like:
vol. 1 for the duel with the samurai dying of TB. And the B/W photography.
vol. 3. Ichi shows how vunerable he is when he asks the woman he loves to marry him and promises to give up being a yakuza. This seemed like his one chance at having a happy life, instead of being a tortured criminal.
I'm a bit hazy on some of the others ... being dragged by a rope by a horseman, sitting with a woman eating rice balls and drawing a sword to cut down an assassin.
Might be easier to pick one that I didn't like as much:
vol. 2. I think it had something to do with the organs in the sound track.
vol. 26. A bit wandering. The cheesy pop song with English lyrics made me cringe.
03-25-2004, 03:43 AM
That's tough, because I liked them all!!
Well, it's easier for me to say which ones I was least impressed or disappointed with. 'Zatoichi And The Doomed Man' was not good at all. The final fight scene was really poorly done. There were maybe a couple of really good fight moments in that film. And the story was not so good either.
'Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo'. While it's not a terrible film, I think it was missing some of the 'magic' that was present in the earlier Daiei Zatoichi films. I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe I was expecting an awesome finish.
03-25-2004, 04:39 AM
I love #16 - Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967)
#21 - Zatoichi at the Fire Festival (1970)
#5 - On the Road (1963)
THese are really good and awesome Zatos.
well maybe beacause I just watched them
03-25-2004, 02:03 PM
I haven't seen all of them, but ZATOICHI'S FIRE FESTIVAL was my favorite. It got the balance of humor, action and drama just right. The slapstick fight in the public baths predates Jackie Chan's Kung fu comedy by many years.
Need to grab Animeigo's disc soon. That's one I'd like to watch again.
Glad to hear you guys liked The Outlaw, because I just ordered that one.
I think they're all of a very consistent quality, so it sure is a tough call. I'd probably go with
#3--Zatoichi #9--Legend of Zatoichi. With the old man who might have been Ichi's father, and Ichi's disappointment with him, and the final, ominous showdown as the snow starts falling at night---great atmosphere, sparse drumming and music.
#2--Zatoichi #5--On the Road. The picnic scene where they're eating the rice balls is probably my favorite Zatoichi scene ever. It's like the entire spectrum of human interactions and emotions is displayed in about 30 seconds.
#1--Zatoichi #8--Fight, Zatoichi, Fight. I'd have to agree with you guys, this one works on every level for me.
Whoops, my # 3 choice is not called "Legend", it's "Adventures of Zatoichi".
03-26-2004, 04:19 PM
I haven't seen a couple of the more obscure, hard to find movies, but from what I've seen my least favorite is "Zatoichi and the Chess Expert." Some of the photography and lighting is poor, and the pace of the film drags more than the other films in the series. It's always hard to look at these films as individual endevours; even though one or two may suck they still help further develop the character of Ichi, and so they have their place. Of all of the more difficult to find movies (those not on American DVD) which one do you have to have in your Ichi collection?
03-26-2004, 06:29 PM
You hit the nail on the head with your top 3 Zatoichi movies.
"Fight Zatoichi Fight" is a turning point in the series.
He became the protector of the weak and defenseless from that
moment on. That was the first time he killed in anger I believe also due to the evil nature of the samurai attacking him (cowardly I might add).
His determination to protect and deliver the child to it's father was incredible!! He used moves and displayed incredible fighting techniques that would be used throughout the rest of the series.
I'd like to add The samaritan to the list (the woman who's brother
Ichi killed was HOT!!!). I loved how he slashed the guy who kept calling him a "blind bastard". Did you notice how he disarmed 3 thugs slinging their swords to the ceiling to fall one by one around the Boss? Ha, ha!!
The fight scene at the end was equally dramatic with the young samurai lusting after the beauty throughout gave Ichi the ultimatum to leave the girl to him or die.
Ichi's honor said that he couldn't let him have her if she didn't willing want to. he actually had his tattered cloak slashed by the samurai.
My other choice would be Zatoichi and the Fugitives. These evil men couldn't be slashed by Ichi quick enough for me. One thug slashed a woman on the road and husband an was going to kill the baby!!
After being shot, taking out the bullet himself, he got out of bed to
travel, bleeding in a monsoon, to rescue the woman and her father.
What courage! What stamina! What an ass whoopin!
I've never seen him hack and slash with such righteous anger. I cheered as he clutched his magical cane sword soaked in blood (there's of course) and proceeded to mercilessly track the Boss down to send him to hell!!
Yet another entry would be the blind swordsman's revenge. Not alot
of fighting but a great story of the artist forced to paint illegal artifacts.
I loved the 2 woman in the lead roles. They were my favorites in the series in one movie. Yahoo!! I loved how he rescued the old man's sick daughter from the mill and got her papers back also freeing her.
He also put his life on the line for strangers against the govt. agent so that the painter, the little boy he fathered unknowingly and the remaining hottie can live as a family. The dramatic shot of the snow falling and the family trembling huddled together awaiting the outcome of the fight in whether they live or die. Awesome!!!!
Wow. I need to go watch these again when I get home.
03-27-2004, 01:14 AM
Kdudley46, the last movie that you describe is "Zatoichi Challenged!"
I agree 100% that "The Blind Swordsman & the Fugitives is HOT! For the very reasons that you listed.
I guess that I an in minority regarding my opinion of "Fight, Zatoichi, Fight!" That title is hot, eh? The tone of the movie is too light for me. Even now that damn lullaby is in my head. The scene when Ichi met that samurai who wanted to kill is female companion is hot! You know, the one when Ichi slice a piece of paper into three pieces?
Another favorite of mine is "The Blind Swordsman's Vengeance." This is another movie that has Ichi paired with a child. A boy child who is awed by Ichi's strength and skill. Ichi is cautioned by a blind priest not to 'ruin' the boy. The priest explains to Ichi that, a child's heart is pure, like a clean slate. Once stained, they are hard to make pure again. Ichi has a huge dilemma. Does he face evil and chance ruining the boy? Or does he allow evil to run rampant?
Akahige, which ones do you consider obscure? AnimEigo will be dropping "The Blind Swordsman Meets His Equal" very soon. I hope. And the rest should be coming this year from Home Vision Entertainment. The rest with the exception of so called, "Zatoichi's Pilgrimage." Neither company has the rights to the said film. However, there is a Japanese disc available. No subs, however. There is also a very good quality vhs boot of the said movie.
03-27-2004, 01:21 PM
My favorite will always be Zatoichi and the crippled Lama.
03-28-2004, 01:08 AM
My fav will always be "Zatoichi Decapitates the Troll Forum Poster MistaMaster"
03-28-2004, 02:41 PM
So in total, how many more of the films is HVE going to release? Will they be picking up the title Animeigo is dropping (is it even worth it)? Thanks for everyone's replies? it's nice to see there are such different ideas as to which are the best, it really says something about overall quality of the Zatoichi films. Any news of an official US DVD release of the TV series? Probably not enough demand.... Maybe after Kill Bill: Volume 2 comes out....
03-28-2004, 05:09 PM
17 total from HVE and 7 From Animeigo 1 from Media Blaster and Zato Piligrimage not yet anounced. As far as TV series I have no idea and probably no luck for at least 2 years.
03-29-2004, 09:37 AM
Six more are to be released by HVE. Those are:
#12 "Zatoichi and the Chess Expert"
#13 "Zatoichi's Vengeance"
#15 "Zatoichi's Cane Sword"
The above list are due 18 may 04.
"Zatoichi and the Fugitives"
"Zatoichi the Samaritan"
Release date? Hopefully this year.
Of course, #14 is "Zatoichi's Pilgrimage." As you know, no one in the States has the rights for this one.
"Will they be picking up the title Animeigo is dropping (is it even worth it)?"
What title are you referring to?
Holy Robe of Shaolin
03-29-2004, 09:20 PM
My favorite Zatoichi films has to be "Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold". "Why", you ask?:
1) The coin cutting scene is worth the price of the movie alone.
2) It's fun to see Ichi-san annoy the $@!* out of Tomisaburo Wakayama's character.
3) The scene where Ichi kills the two samurai-henchman and tosses the money at their dead bodies as a final insult is classic!
03-29-2004, 09:56 PM
I love that coin scene! The way he turns his ear to ear it spin off.... Man when I first saw that I immediately had to watch it again, and then in slo motion becuase I still couldn't figure out what he did. Yeah, probably my favorite Zatoichi draw. Except maybe when he cuts that candle and wick perfectly in half, or the time he scares that one guy by slicing his flower pot, sword, saya, and stand in half with one stroke... just too many unforgetable moments... If I were a teenage chick, I'd throw myself at Ichi-san too.
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