Michael Valdivielso | Alexandria, VA | 01/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The reason I had to get this movie, and will likely collect more of the sequels, is Shintaro Katsu. I saw some of his latter work and wanted to see his earlier movies. So I got the first Zatoichi flick. And I am happy I did.
There is a story here. The basic plot of two rivel yakuza gangs fighting over the same turf. Common enough story. But that's just it - the movie stays on the story. Little or no sword fighting happens till the end of the film. Most of the scenes, most of the energy, focus on the characters and their interaction. The details that made a fair movie great overflow from the screen. Zatoichi is not a Hero or a Samurai, just a blind masseur trying to make a buck and stay out of trouble.
I would suggest it to any fan of Samurai films or even a beginner who wants to see an uncommon Samurai flick.
96 minutes and in the original widescreen."
#1: THE BEGINNING OF A LONG AND WONDERFUL ODYSSEY
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 09/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Zatoichi saga, covering the years 1962-1989, are truly remarkable in the history of cinema. There are no bad episodes. Some are average, above averge, good, very good, and great. But each episode is a wonderful excursion into the character played by the late Shintaro Katsu. I liked them as a young boy, viewing them with my best friend in theatres in Los Angeles, and I like them now. If not more. This is truly one of the greatest series not only in Japanese cinema, but cinema anywhere.
This first film of Zatoichi, starring the late Shintaro Katsu must not be judged by the standards of today's technological advancements. If anything, the stories are much better than the glutted CGI enhanced movies that claim to be films. THESE ARE FILMS. Truly outstanding films. If you are new to the series, give them a chance. I am sure you will find some that will appeal to you.
This first episode of Zatoichi is more drama-based than the ensuing films we be. But it is the nature of the character Ichi, in this episode, that will set the tone for the other episodes: Honor, integrity, believer in the Bushido code, and defender of the oppressed. And as the beginning episode shows, there is a humorous and humble manner in which Ichi carries himself. Never the braggart, always willing to assist--and lethal with his cane-sword.
In this episode, when Ichi is hired by a gang leader to fight a sick samurai: One in which Ichi has come to like. Ichi would rather drink and break food with this samurai; but events lead to another path. A path that would lead to confrontation. And the destiny of Zatoichi will take him on a long journey, frought with peril and villianous characters. I highly recommend this first episode of Zatoichi, and hope you will give the others a look. They truly are remarkable.
The man asks-"How did you know that my bobber was moving wit
morgoth | omaha, NE | 07/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Zatiochi, the ultimate zen master. This is my 3rd Zatoichi film that I have seen(4th if I counted Beat's). And i have to say it is my favorite so far. The Chest of Gold(#7) was one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. And this one is even better! If I had any idea these were so good I would have started right at the beginning with this. You get some truly great speeches by Ichi and I was taken away by one of them in particular.
I can't allow myself to give away anything, but it is your standard story where you have 2 gangs in the same village opposing each other. Well, one hires Ichi since he kind of came at the wrong time to visit a friend of his, a Yukuza boss, and so the other clan hires another master samurai. Because of certain circumstances they become firends and...
Just watch it and find out. There is not a whole lot of action. Until the end that is. So if you can't get with this then check out Chest of Gold which has about 100 times more action going on. But the emotional value in this movie was much higher and made it all the better. If you don't like either of these movies then you are not a Zatoichi fan. It's ok, just please explain to me how that is possible. And i have a question to lovers of this series, does he ever get the girl, please lead me in the right direction casue I would really like to see that. But of course now that I have seen a few I will have to see all of these. It will take me years, but I haven't seen a better movie in a long time.
The movie is in black and white and the pictrue quality is pretty good. Not as good as like Criterion's Seven Samurai, but letterboxed and very few scratches and taken from a very good print. The gallery is pretty cool. And what is usually just a piece of paper with a chapter menu, this one folds out and gives all kinds of good notes on the serires and Japanese cinema back in the 60's. Also included was 4 movie stills."