679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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swo17
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679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#1 Post by swo17 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:38 pm

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

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The colossally popular Zatoichi films make up the longest-running action series in Japanese history and created one of the screen’s great heroes: an itinerant blind masseur who also happens to be a lightning-fast swordsman. As this iconic figure, the charismatic and earthy Shintaro Katsu became an instant superstar, lending a larger-than-life presence to the thrilling adventures of a man who lives staunchly by a code of honor and delivers justice in every town and village he enters. The films that feature him are variously pulse-pounding, hilarious, stirring, and completely off-the-wall. This deluxe set features the string of twenty-five Zatoichi films made between 1962 and 1973, collected in one package for the first time.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New digital restorations of all twenty-five films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
The Blind Swordsman, a 1978 documentary about Zatoichi portrayer and filmmaker Shintaro Katsu, along with a new interview with its director, John Nathan
• New interview with Asian-film critic Tony Rayns
• Trailers
• New English subtitle translations
• PLUS: A book featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien; synopses of the films by critic, novelist, and musician Chris D.; "The Tale of Zatoichi," the original short story by Kan Shimozawa; and twenty-five new illustrations inspired by the films, by twenty-five different artists

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ptatler
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Re: 4001? The Tale of Zatoichi

#2 Post by ptatler » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:02 pm

Where do these fall in the spectrum of samurai cinema? I'm an intermittent fan. Loved THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI, respect YOJIMBO/SANJURO/SEVEN SAMURAI, and kind of loathed the Samurai Trilogy. Are the Zatoichi films for die-hards only?

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Re: 4001? The Tale of Zatoichi

#3 Post by knives » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:11 pm

It depends on film to film obviously, but for the most part this is an excellent grounded series with not of the crazy elements you'll find in Katsu's other big series Hanzo. Three Outlaw Samurai probably is the best comparison point of what you mentioned in terms of the usual shooting style and story strengths/ weaknesses. The cost if they go for a huge set probably is a die-hards thing, but the individual films are not and sometimes are directed by some of the best studio men in Japan at the time.

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Re: 4001? The Tale of Zatoichi

#4 Post by ptatler » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:16 pm

knives wrote:The cost if they go for a huge set probably is a die-hards thing, but the individual films are not and sometimes are directed by some of the best studio men in Japan at the time.
We're lucky enough to have a library that consistently acquires all CC-related material (they even had the AK100 discs until people started stealing them). I'll probably go that route unless there's a stand-alone disc to blind buy.

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Re: 4001? The Tale of Zatoichi

#5 Post by dwk » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:20 pm

Don't forget that 18 of the Zatoichi films are free on Criterion's Hulu channel, but, being free, they do have ads.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#6 Post by The Narrator Returns » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:14 pm

Anyone else notice this in the specs?
PLUS: A book featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien; synopses of the films by critic, novelist, and musician Chris D.; “The Tale of Zatoichi,” the original short story by Kan Shimozawa; and twenty-five new illustrations inspired by the films, by twenty-five different artists
Criterion still wants us to like Border Radio.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#7 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:16 pm

The one shot of packaging for this is confusing given what we know. What's the split of Blu-rays and DVDs? Why does each film have a Criterion cover but no place for it within the book (place for fold-out art but not structured in the template)? They had to know there'd be a lot of questions about this, but no effort's been made to explain anything yet. I am super-excited at this and it looks like a better deal as far as the girth of films offered, but I'd like some clarity!

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#8 Post by Matt » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:17 pm

The Narrator Returns wrote:Criterion still wants us to like Border Radio.
Instead of going dual-format, they should just put a free DVD copy of Border Radio in every case of every release.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#9 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:18 pm

Matt wrote:
The Narrator Returns wrote:Criterion still wants us to like Border Radio.
Instead of going dual-format, they should just put a free DVD copy of Border Radio in every case of every release.
They already tried that with Border Radio and we all know how that turned out

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#10 Post by dwk » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:20 pm

Chris D has written a lot about Japanese films, so an essay from him shouldn't come as a surprise.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#11 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:25 pm

domino harvey wrote:The one shot of packaging for this is confusing given what we know. What's the split of Blu-rays and DVDs? Why does each film have a Criterion cover but no place for it within the book (place for fold-out art but not structured in the template)? They had to know there'd be a lot of questions about this, but no effort's been made to explain anything yet. I am super-excited at this and it looks like a better deal as far as the girth of films offered, but I'd like some clarity!
From the one page we can see, it looks like they've got as many as three movies on one blu- so 9 blus, 18 DVDs, with some DVDs containing a single feature and some containing 2?

Also, is it possible that it's not actually a book containing the discs, but individual little pull out sleeves? Still don't know how you cram three covers on there, though.
Last edited by matrixschmatrix on Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Moe Dickstein
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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#12 Post by Moe Dickstein » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:27 pm

There's also the documentary too, it may be fewer films on some discs.

The packaging reminds me a bit of the Universal Hitchcock Blu set, which has worked pretty well in spite of my aversion to this sort of packaging.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#13 Post by jindianajonz » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:29 pm

domino harvey wrote:The one shot of packaging for this is confusing given what we know. What's the split of Blu-rays and DVDs? Why does each film have a Criterion cover but no place for it within the book (place for fold-out art but not structured in the template)? They had to know there'd be a lot of questions about this, but no effort's been made to explain anything yet. I am super-excited at this and it looks like a better deal as far as the girth of films offered, but I'd like some clarity!
It looks like the booklet has the "cover" art (note how all the covers on the webpage are roughly square shaped but have a solid block to fill in a roughly DVD shaped rectangle). The fact that the page opened on the booklet matches the art shown for Zatoichi's Revenge seems to confirm this.

EDIT: Also, you can see behind the flap of the "book" containing the discs that there is a blu spotted pattern; this doesn't match any of the covers so I doubt the cover art will be contained on the DVD book itself.

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#14 Post by Tom Hagen » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:32 pm

What an insane release to chose to start dual format with. I guess if you're going to go for something new, you may as well go all-in.

Also, I'm proud that you guys are still making Border Radio jokes.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#15 Post by movielocke » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:38 pm

damn, the release date of the Zatoichi set indicates it won't be in the BN sale (which usually ends before the last week of November. :(

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#16 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:39 pm

Didn't it spill over into December last year? They extended the July sale into August, so maybe that'll be a trend.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#17 Post by HistoryProf » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:40 pm

Moe Dickstein wrote:Zatoichi

TWENTY SEVEN discs Dual Format for $225 list price

http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/1012-z ... -swordsman" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Holy Shit....I figured that would be $299.95 - this is an amazing deal. I've only seen a couple of the series (and enjoyed them), but for under $100 during the B&N sale ($112.50 - 10% - $8) That's a no brainer. And it's absolutely gorgeous. Wow.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#18 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:40 pm

This is exactly the kind of release the BN sale was made for. Most of us won't be seeing it for a long while if it doesn't come out within that time frame!

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#19 Post by jedgeco » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:42 pm

domino harvey wrote:This is exactly the kind of release the BN sale was made for. Most of us won't be seeing it for a long while if it doesn't come out within that time frame!
On the down side, if it doesn't come out in time for November's sale, there's no guarantee that BN will be around by July 2014.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#20 Post by Vegeta84 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:43 pm

I wonder if the Zatoichi films will be flip discs or contain more than 1 film per disc?

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#21 Post by HistoryProf » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:44 pm

jedgeco wrote:
domino harvey wrote:This is exactly the kind of release the BN sale was made for. Most of us won't be seeing it for a long while if it doesn't come out within that time frame!
On the down side, if it doesn't come out in time for November's sale, there's no guarantee that BN will be around by July 2014.
Now that I think about it...I wonder if that's why they pushed it to 11/26 - that's the Tuesday before turkey day and the sale is usually over that monday. bastards.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#22 Post by HistoryProf » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:45 pm

Vegeta84 wrote:I wonder if the Zatoichi films will be flip discs or contain more than 1 film per disc?
Is there any such thing as a flipper with dvd on one side and blu on the other?

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#23 Post by jindianajonz » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:45 pm

Vegeta84 wrote:I wonder if the Zatoichi films will be flip discs or contain more than 1 film per disc?
I don't think Criterion has ever released a flip disc

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#24 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:47 pm

HistoryProf wrote:
Vegeta84 wrote:I wonder if the Zatoichi films will be flip discs or contain more than 1 film per disc?
Is there any such thing as a flipper with dvd on one side and blu on the other?
I know there's CDs with DVDs on the flip-side, but never heard of it for Blu-rays. But there's no chance in hell of Criterion putting out a flipper disc

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Re: 679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

#25 Post by cdnchris » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:48 pm

jindianajonz wrote:
Vegeta84 wrote:I wonder if the Zatoichi films will be flip discs or contain more than 1 film per disc?
I don't think Criterion has ever released a flip disc
Spinal Tap is a flipper.

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