Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Shinobi No Mono 4 Siege|
Actors: Raizo Ichikawa, Yűnosuke It˘, Ganjiro Nakamura, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Junichiro Narita
Director: Tokuz˘ Tanaka
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Animation
Tokogawa Ieyasu is the ruler of Japan. But one last loose thread must be tied up before his domination is complete ? the destruction of the Toyotomi clan, now besieged in Osaka castle. Ieyasu's ninjas are the only ones who... more »
Wild for Ninjas!
Jon | NY | 06/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, so the same actor is playing a different character in the same series - who cares? The action, story, camera angles and shots are as good in this episode as in the first three.
I'm not the connoisseur of 1960's samurai flicks that some folks are, but I know what I like. I have tremendous love for the works of Kurosawa and Kobayashi, and this series (the four that I've seen; there's eight plus an additional without Ichikawa as lead) really stacks up visually and story wise.
I don't think I've seen such a fascinating variety of shots in a black and white samurai film. Just when you're not convinced they had the budget to pull it off, here comes a massive cavalry charge and a dozen explosions! In fact, even the monotony of interior scenes so common in Japanese films (sue me - I get bored with parlor drama) are made fascinating by great camera work, editing and acting.
Add that to a great score by the legendary Ifukube Akira and this film is a heavy weight all on it's own.
Oh! I almsot forgot - there's NINJAS! Lots of 'em, too, fighting each other. And not the goofy wire-work special effects baloney that's usually attributed to the Shadow Art, but action you'll believe possible and still cool, daring and scary as hell.
AnimEigo are to be commended for a wonderful dvd presentation - the picture and sound are crisp and free of blemishes. And the extras - Wow! the extras are astonishing. You get three different levels of captions, original trailers, maps, and a twenty or more page on-screen in depth history of feudal Japan as it relates to the historical personages and places presented in the film. Absolutely fascinating and informative.
Also of note are the funny-as-hell parental warnings: "May contain graphic violence, skulking, lurking and skullduggery" I was still snickering halfway through the film!
The only down side to the Shinobi No Mono series is that you're not going to be able to watch any dopey Ninja action in any other film (except work by Sonny Chiba) without wincing at how stupid and unbelievable it is.
A trained master of the Shadow Arts could show us a thing or two about the flexibility and strength of the human body and psychological warfare - these films offer a seemingly honest taste of what we'll never know."
Exit Goemon, enter Saizo
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 10/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the unique strengths of the "Shinobi no Mono" series is how the emphasis is put on the stars. The characters change even though the same actors are appearing. What this means, is that if a character's story arc completes, the actors simply take on a different role in the next film. It is a not entirely unheard of practice in the West. Actor Bruce Spence appeared as the Gyro Captain in The Road Warrior, and then again in the sequel Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome as a different character entirely.
In the fourth entry in the "Shinobi no Mono" series, the ninja Goemon steps off the stage, having walked to the end of his path of vengeance, and actor Ichikawa Raizo steps into the new role of Kirigakure Saizo. Saizo is a ninja charged with spying on Tokugawa Ieyasu's forces as Tokugawa lays siege to Osaka castle in 1614. Tokugawa has his own ninjas, and Saizo and the Tokugawa ninjas wage silent ninja warfare with each other in a deadly game of cat-and-cat. Saizo is assisted by the Lady Akane (Isomura Midori, Zatoichi Challenged), who is a love interest for Saizo as well. And for a ninja, love is never a good idea.
Ichikawa is joined in his new role by Wakayama Tomisaburo (Lone Wolf and Cub) who played the warlord Nobunaga Oda in the first three "Shinobi no Mono" films, but now returns as Saizo's lord and mentor Yukimura Sanada. Saburo Date (Revenge of a Kabuki Actor), who played Hattori Hanzo in the previous films, returns as well in a new role, as do several other actors from the previous series.
Even with the new storyline, the feel of "Shinobi no Mono" is carried on, with the deep political intrigue punctuated by realistic ninja action. These are not your typical Hollywood ninjas, but the real deal with stunts designed by Masaaki Hatsumi, a Grandmaster of ninjutsu and one of the greatest authorities on historical ninja.
"Shinobi no Mono 4" is a typical Animeigo DVD, which means it blows away most normal DVD releases. There are history lessons, a clickable map detailing the locations in the film, still galleries and a whole bunch of other goodness. The black-and-white transfer is beautifully done.