|Zatoichi played by Shintaru Katsu in the first Zatoichi film, the tale of Zatoichi.|
Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman;
The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)(Zatoichi 1)
d. Kenji Misumi
Criterion Collection #679
OMG I want to call shenanigans on the Criterion Collection for releasing a 27 film boxed set as a SINGLE Criterion Collection number (679.) Who the fuck does Criterion Collection think they are fucking with? The Tale of Zatoichi is the first number in this 27 disc monster set and if you think I'm going to review all 27 films and give each film a page you are sadly fucking mistaken. I will do no. such. thing. If I EVER watch the second film in this series, and I'm by NO MEANS making a promise to do that, it will be posted on THIS review page.
Criterion Collection has some archival issues that result from their variations in numbering practices. For some boxed sets, each title has its OWN number. And then for other boxed sets, like the Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman series, all of the boxed titles have ONE number. That is CONFUSING. The figure of "Zatoichi, the blind swordsman" lies somewhere between a midevial knight errant and a modern day gunslinger in terms of his combination of personal characteristics: gruff but endearing, kind but deadly. These deep roote character traits are an essential part of what makes Zatoichi and other Samurai/Ronin characters so endearing: They strike clearly cross cultural notes.
The very fact that Zatoichi shot 27 titles in the series speaks to the influence of the Western genre of Western films/Cowboy and Indian films, as well as that of serial television shows. It's an obvious East/West fusion though I can't for the life of me think of a single human being, not even myself, who would be interested in watching all 27 films. Perhaps when I get down to the Eclipse titles I will reconsider it.