So you want more Zatoichi action?

I had a couple of e-mails protesting that the video clip I put up last night, when talking about the newly remastered DVD edition of Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, was not a very good sword fight at all, and made no sense.

I’m not sure that many of the Zatoichi sword fights make any more sense . . . they have more bodies and blood and screaming going on than you can shake a stick at, and they’re clearly way over the top.  Nevertheless, they’re immensely entertaining, and fit the Japanese culture that produced them.  Here’s another video:  the sword fights from the first five Zatoichi movies, all put together in a single clip. Watch it in full-screen mode for the best results.

Yep.  Gore all over the place . . . and not the climate change variety, either!



  1. Makes a good case for a BAR!
    ever read "Musashi", by Eiji Yoshikawa? excellent book.

    First lines– After the battle of Sekigahara.

    Takezo lay among the corpses. There were thousands of them.
    "The whole worlds gone crazy", he thought dimly. "A man might as well be a dead leaf, floating in the autumn breeze."

  2. The series ran for something like 25 or 30 films. My favorite ls "Zatoichi vs Yojimbo" where they Toshiro Mifune to reprise his role as the nameless samurai. Great stuff.


  3. "Apparently, nobody in feudal Japan owns a bow…"

    There a several of the films in which someone takes a shot at Zatoichi with a gun. He survives, of course.

    I was poking around the Zatoichi movies and watched Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman this morning. Didn't much get it when I first saw it, but now I've seen the Chinese one-armed swordsman movies thanks to flying five finger eight pole Shaolin exploding death touch Thursdays on the new El Rey network, so it made a lot more sense.

    About the only one I don't particularly like is Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival. The motivations of the major characters in that one make no sense to me. The rest of the movies are very good.

    Occasionally you come across a recurring character, which add a bit of flavor. A woman named Tane shows up in three films, where she goes from smitten by Zatoichi to being bitter about how he left her and, blaming him for how her life turned out, conspiring with people trying to kill him. There's a fourth film in which he reminisces about Tane with a different woman of the same name.

    There are also some recurring actors that show up in several of the films playing different characters.

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