Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Zatoichi 23 - Zatoichi at Large|
Actors: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Hisaya Morishige, Etsushi Takahashi, Naoko Otani
Director: Kazuo Mori
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: E1 Entertainment Release Date: 01/25/2005 Run time: 88 minutes Rating: R
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Good Zatoichi Movie, Excellent DVD
J. Pinkerton Snoopington | Toronto, Ontario, Canada | 02/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Zatoichi series, about a blind swordsman who travelled Japan and got into many adventures, were always a cut above the typical martian arts melodrama of the 60s/70s. More than most of their genre, they were character studies (with Katsu Shintaro bringing a likable quality to the title character) and, even more so, focused on plot. Action is actually kept to a minimum, particularly in this film, which will disappoint many viewers.
In "Zatoichi at Large," (one of the last of the series), Zatoichi delivers the baby of a dying peasant and takes it to her relatives. However, he's soon accused of stealing the woman's money and the mob is out to get him.
The DVD from a company called AnimEgo present the film in absolutely stunning 2.35:1 widescreen. The colours are so ripe they almost burst off the screen, and image is very sharp. It's even watchable in the many very dark scenes. Sound is the original Japanese audio, with subtitles (they're multicoloured - nice touch). The liner notes are disappointing. They don't deal with production of the film so much as with 'fun facts' (the value of the currency discussed in the movie, the possibility of men breastfeading, etc.), along with a Katsu Shintaro biography. These are reprinted more or less in the production notes on the disc. Other extras include character biographies (which discusses their place in the film) and trailers for several Zatoichi movies and some entries of the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series."
But what about the subtitles?
C. Taylor | 12/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I probably should not complain about the translation subtitles on this film. About 15 years ago I bought a bootleg of the film taped off the International Channel when the film was called "Zatoichi's Duty" and the DVD release shows that AnimEigo went the extra mile with their translation. Not only do they translate the theme song but all the credits, something not on the bootleg, and every now and then add an extra subtitle explaining a phrase or a Japanese custom. My problem was that the original bootleg copy translated the scene where the head Yakuza tries to buy out the local Constable as trying to buy his jitte from him. In Japanese culture the person who carries the jitte is the law, and if the Yakuza boss could get him to pass his jitte over to one of his henchmen then that henchman would be recognized as the local law officer. In the AnimEigo version all references to wanting to but the jitte are non existent. Instead you have a Yakuza boss trying to bribe the village Constable with no explanation what for. Perhaps AnimEigo felt that the jitte references would not be understood by western audiences.
Aside from that it is still a great Zatoichi film and ends with one of the bloodiest fights of the film series. And it also includes one of my favorite moments in all of the films. **SPOILER** During the climatic sword fight, Zatoichi has been cutting down the Yakuza's three at a time, even getting those who had a wall between themselves and Ichi. Suddenly one of the Yakuza says "Stand aside! I'll take care of him!" [ on the AnimEigo version it is translated as "Stand aside! I'll kill him!" ] For a second it looks like this Yakuza will give Ichi some trouble, until he is cut down faster than the others were. The whole thing was pulled off with such swift timing that it is one of the funniest gags in the whole series.
#23: AN EXCELLENT ZATOICHI EPISODE
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 08/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 23rd installment of Zatoichi is highly recommended. As usual, we find Zatoicihi in another one of his wildly strange predictaments. And as usual, we find the amusingly funny, humorous and charming personality of Ichi in this film. There is more humor in this episode than most of his previous outings. Also, Zatoichi is taunted by a young orphan who believes that Ichi killed his mother. And this orphan constantly taunts Ichi. [namely by throwing rocks at him]
In this episode Zatoichi helps to deliver the baby of a dying mother.[He even tries to breastfeed the baby] All the while, Ichi attempts to locate the missing baby's father. And of course there is the never-ending confrontation with the "bad-guys" in this film. There is a festival going on in the town where Ichi goes to seek out the father of the baby. Zatoichi intercedes when the aunt of the baby is grabbed by a gang of thugs, who intend to place her into prostitution. But Ichi' cane-sword is too quick.
The humor in this episode is very evident throughout the film: especially when comedy routines are performed before an official in order to qualify for admission into the festival. [namely the monkey act] The film is very entertaining and one of the better ones in the series. Although I do like them all [I am a bit biased] For Zatoichi fans, you will not be disappointed, there is plently of Ichi's swordsmanship on display when he starts to clean up the town of "bad guys." And a very good ending in the film. Highly recommend. Enjoy!"