August 15, 2013

ZATOICHI CRITERION SET

A major Blu-ray/DVD release has just been announced by the Criterion Collection that will have fans of 1960s Japanese action films spinning. Famous for representing the cream of cinematic history, offering the very best prints and supplemental features, Criterion has taken on the Zatoichi film series in a 25-movie box set extravaganza. From Criterion: "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." This will also be the first Hi-definition release for the classic blind swordsman. Coming this November. Box set with book and individual sleeve art samples below. 



The Features
New digital restorations of all twenty-five films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on Blu-ray

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 for all twenty-five films
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

Cover by Ron Wimberly. Additional illustrations by Greg Ruth, Paul Pope, Scott Morse, Samuel Hiti, Josh Cochran, Evan Bryce, Ricardo VenĂ¢ncio, Robert Goodin, Yuko Shimizu, Jorge Coelho, Vera Brosgol, Matt Kindt, Connor Willumsen, Patrick Leger, Jim Rugg, Jhomar Soriano, Angie Wang, Ming Doyle, Caitlin Kuhwald, Benjamin Marra, Bill Sienkiewicz, Andrew MacLean, Polly Guo, Barnaby Ward, Victor Kerlow.

Zatoichi on the Blu-ray website here



Still need to enter Spy Vibe's summer contest to win vintage prizes? The deadline has been extended to August 16th. Details hereGet ready to meet MIKI ZERO, a Japanese fashion model and spy from 1965! I've written a novel inspired by Spy Vibe. More info at my website here.

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