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 Zatoichi 3: New Tale of Zatoichi 

(aka "Shin Zatoichi monogatari")

directed by Tokuzo Tanaka
Japan 1963

Review by Gary Tooze

Posters from the Series

Zatoichi ( now I pronounce it za-to-it-chi as opposed to za-toy-chi ) is about a character that cannot seem to escape his past or his destiny. As with previous episodes he again meets a smitten female and decides that it may be time to settle down. He runs across old friends in financial trouble and his old Sensei (teacher) who has become a moral-less man. He defends the common-man not unlike Robin Hood, but seemingly cannot avoid violence of vengeful relatives or friends  of villains he has defeated in the past.


The sister of his Sensei... Zatochi is finally ready to settle down and marks it as a vow to change his Yakuza-style ways... but will his past let him?

Serenity is a big part of Zatoichi's inner peace. The quiet forest with its unique cleans smells molds Zatoichi and confronts him with life's true importance.

His heartfelt vow is one that the fates transpire him unable to keep.

Taking on ten men at once is bad news.. for the ten men! Zatoichi's again takes on a large group and systematically dispatches them in short shrift.

This was my favorite Zatoichi film. In fact, each one has surpassed the last, although I have only seen three so far. I am encouraged to get the entire set now as well as compete my Zatoichi trading cards that come in the Home Vision DVD package. These films have longevity because they extend beyond the shallow precepts of most samurai films or actually any other macho action-thrillers. The framing is by no means Kurosawa and the contemplative nature is certainly not Ozu, but this series still has a big place in my heart. It's good, clean, honest fun with the backdrop of strong redemption. I know it's not for everyone, but for me it is filling a perfect niche. I am anxious to dive into #4... out of.

 DVD Review: Home Vision Entertainment  Region 1 

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Released on DVD October 22nd, 2002 "Zatoichi: Part 2: New Tales of Zatoichi " is also presented in wonderful letterboxed 2.35:1 ratio, but this time it is anamorphic and in color. Good black level contrast and at times is quite sharp with detailed images and close-ups. This DVD looks fine though with cloudy moments in spots. The audio is in Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono). There are clear white optional English subtitles included. The cover on this one is a bit poor.

In the extras dept. there are 9 stills in a click-through gallery, 4 trading cards in the Keep-case packaging, and static chapter menu's ( a downgrade ). Improved picture quality over the previous two episodes, but I am not overly surprised or disappointed that no further Extars are available. A notch up from the last two Zatoichi DVDs and out of .

Review by Gary Tooze

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Gary Tooze