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The Tale of Zatôichi 1962

  • Kenji Misumi
  • April 18, 1962
  • 96 mins
  • Japanese
  • Action, Adventure, Drama
The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur and master swordsman. Zatoichi targets a yakuza-controlled village, because war with a neighbouring town's smaller gang is brewing.

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Whilst the plot is fairly standard stuff for samurai films, the real draw is Shintaro Katsu as Zatoichi and it is little surprise that more films followed. From the opening scenes involving a game of dice, there is a sense of playfulness about the character, but Katsu exudes charisma and confidence such that you are never in doubt this man can hold his own in a fight. Indeed, it takes quite some time before Zatoichi even has to defend himself and the fight sequences involving him are quick and short, as they should be. What also works well is the relationship between Zatoichi and his main adversary in the film, which allows us to explore the code of honour that exists between them, reminding the audience that there is more to Zatoichi than meets the eye. This all leads to a great duel at the end and a powerful moment when Zatoichi finally lets his anger show.

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