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Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 8 - Fight, Zatoichi, Fight
An unfortunate misunderstanding occurs when assassins pursuing Zatoichi accidentally kill a traveling mother, mistakenly thinking they were attacking the blind swordsman. Ichi finds himself the guilt ridden surrogate father of her baby and decides he must pay penance by taking the baby home and explaining the accident to the babies father. As he travels the assassins continue to hunt him, but his concerns over this are outweighed by his growing love and joy over caring for the baby. He enlists the aide of a thief to help him out and serve as a traveling nanny, and in the end, the two find a growing attachment to the child that makes them want to stray from their seedy lives and dream of settling down.
Once again, this is one of the films that mixes up the Zatoichi formulas and proves why the series continued and could be fresh over so may films. This time out we see Ichi in a different light, even more reluctant to fight and even more warm-hearted. The film is filled with heart melting scenes that are very touching and light while maintaining the series penchant for comedy and action. Ichi slays some assassins and shushes the dying moans of one of them so he wont wake the sleeping baby. Ichi hires a prostitute to baby-sit for the night, but then henpecks over the baby anyway making sure that she coddles the child. But, even though this is one of the more seriously themed and emotional films, the action isnt spared. Features a great finale where Ichi is surrounded by torch bearing swordsmen and Katsu does some tricky fighting while partially set on fire. Directed by one of my favorite directors, Kenji Misumi, who helmed the bulk of the Lone Wolf and Cub films as well as a few other Zatoichis including the very first one, The Life and Opinion of Masseur Ichi.
The DVD: Home Vision Entertainment
Picture: Anamorphic Letterbox. Home Vision has been releasing these in twos and threes. In comparison to the last two releases, this time the image gets some improvement with a slightly clearer print. Sure, there is still the expected spot here and there or muted color or touch of softness, but it is all a product of time and aging. Once again, for foreign film/samurai fans, they deliver a pleasing image transfer at a very affordable price, leaving this fan more than satisfied.
Sound: Mono Japanese language with optional yellow English subtitles. Occasion age distortions and tinniness, but nothing really to complain about. Very decent presentation of the classic Japanese mono score. Nice subtitle trastlation.
Extras: Chapter Selections--- Trailers for Zatoichi's Flashing Sword, Fight Zatoichi Fight and Adventures of Zatoichi--- Liner Notes--- Very cool Fold-Out Poster Replica.
Conclusion: Fantastic series. Fine Transfer. Great Price. Once of the better films. If you're a fan- get it. If you are the least bit interested the series- this is one of the films that could win you over, though I'd suggest seeing a few of them prior to this entry as the others films help make the tone of this one all the more effective.