Search - Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 12 - Zatoichi and the Chess Expert on DVD

Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 12 - Zatoichi and the Chess Expert
Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman Vol 12 - Zatoichi and the Chess Expert
Actors: Shintar˘ Katsu, Mikio Narita, Chizu Hayashi, Kaneko Iwasaki, Gaku Yamamoto
Director: Kenji Misumi
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Television, Anime & Manga
UR     2004     1hr 27min

With 25 film sequels and upwards of 100 TV episodes, Shintaro Katsu is the legendary Zatoichi! He?s a low-ranking blind masseur who lives by the Yakuza code and answers his foes with a deadly cane sword. By far one of Ja...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Shintar˘ Katsu, Mikio Narita, Chizu Hayashi, Kaneko Iwasaki, Gaku Yamamoto
Director: Kenji Misumi
Creators: Chishi Makiura, Daisuke It˘, Kan Shimosawa
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Television, Anime & Manga
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Outdoor Recreation, Television, Anime & Manga
Studio: Homevision
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/18/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Errors in judgements and travelling companions
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 04/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A chess master, one who is so jealous of his own talent that he kills any player who beats him. A woman, disguised as a man, traveling with her brother and fleeing some unknown hunter. A beautiful, gentle lady and her wounded child, dying but without money to buy medicine. A blind masseur, with an uncanny swiftness and ability with a sword. These are the cast of characters that set the stage for the 12th Zatoichi film, "Zatoichi and the Chess Expert" ("Zatoichi Jigoku tabi:" literal translation "Zatoichi's Trip to Hell.")

This is one of the best Zatoichi films that I have seen. The characters make for an interesting mix, each likable and formidable in their own way, but each harboring secrets that make them vipers hidden in the brush. The Chess Expert becomes Zatoichi's ally and traveling companion, each maximizing on the talents of the other to earn money. And Zatoichi needs money, to buy medicine for the poor child who was wounded in a sword fight that the masseur was involved in. The child's mother, beautiful and sorrowful, falls slowly in love with Zatoichi, even though she must betray him. The sister and brother are wild cards, somehow shattering the peace of the trip, as murder follows in their wake.

It all comes to an explosive finish, with companions battling companions, and secrets stripped bare. The melancholy love between Zatoichi and the beautiful woman is heart rending, though doomed. An excellent chambara flick all around, and a great Zatoichi film."
Zato Ichi Is Possessed By The Demon Of Compassion.
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 11/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The state of blindness does not hinder the swordsman masseur, Zato Ichi, in this well-crafted tale of pre-modern Japan, as he is determined to do what is correct by assisting a young girl's recovery from a severe wound suffered in tangential fashion during a sword-fight involving gangsters in the bandit-ridden country. Of the approximately 25 Zato Ichi films, this must rank as one of the better ones, as Shintaro Katsu who portrays the sightless samurai during the entire series, permits us to see more of the inner man behind the warrior facade, aided by an interesting story written by Kan Shimozawa, who contributes the most complex scenarios of this group of works. In early civilized Japan, all masseurs were blind, as then they could not look upon the bodies of their clients, and Zato Ichi ("Ichi the Masseur") is following this tradition, but he is as well an inordinately successful warrior with his cane sword, mastering with cold aplomb each challenge by aggressors, no matter how many they might be. Ichi is a prototypical loner who makes his way in this work, as in all others, by massaging, while handsomely adding to his income through his cheating skills at gambling, since he is also an inveterate confidence man, yet one who makes mistakes and these errors in judgement serve in strengthening his accessibility to the viewer. There is a pleasingly intricate plot, which places Ichi as a travelling companion of an itinerant samurai named Jumonji, played well by Mikio Narita in his first cinematic role, who is the chess expert of the English language title, and the two interact with several other groups of characters in a neatly-woven narrative. The complicated scenario is capably handled by veteran director of samurai motion pictures, Kenji Misumi, who later added other outstanding Zato Ichi films to this first one in his list, as he balances the interwoven dramatics neatly and nicely. Reasons for the societal and artistic success of this series are manifest in this film, wherein Ichi represents values which most peoples are struggling to identify and capture, with the blind swordsman becoming an iconic figure as he stumbles and totters, rather than riding, into the sunset, after completing his clash with evil.

One of the better ones in the Zatoichi series
W | South of the border, West of the sun | 09/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Zatoichi films were produced by different directors and the results varied from one to another. Misumi Kenji, who also directed the very first one, seemed to always spend more film footage on character development, resulting in more matured story lines with better-defined personalities. This "Zatoichi Jigokutabi" ( Zatoichi, trip through hell ) was one of the best in the series. Narita Mikio, playing the character Jumonji, was one of the most interesting villains to show up in the episodes, and, Hayashi Chizuru, as the sister seeking vengence, was the most attractive actress to appear in the 1960's Zaitoichi episodes."
Ryan | Long Island, NY USA | 08/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am a huge fan of Zatoichi and I've collected alot of his films. This is among the best. I definitely would recommend this and other Zatoichi movies if your a fan of samurai cinema."