|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Lady Snowblood + Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance [Blu-ray]
(Toshiya Fujita, 1973 + 1974)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Toho Film (Eiga) Co. Ltd.
Video: Eureka - Arrow Video
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:36:54.850 / 1:29:02.378
Disc Size: 47,950,276,505 bytes
Feature Size: 25,678,368,768 bytes / Part 2: 20,802,398,208 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.00 Mbps / Part 2: 27.99 Mbps
Chapters: 12 X 2
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 24th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio Japanese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English (SDH), none
• Slicing Through the Snow An exclusive interview with Japanese
cinema expert Jasper Sharp (11:15)
Description: From the original manga by Kasuo Koike (Lone
Wolf and Cub) and the main inspiration for Quentin
Kill Bill, Lady Snowblood is a blood
spattered Samurai masterpiece from the golden age of
Japanese cult cinema!
Toshiya Fujita's samurai picture is a striking combination of violence, feminism, history lesson and literary conceit, and one deserving of better attention. The slight but awe-inspiring Meiko Kaji plays Yuki Kashime, who has vowed to avenge the rape of her mother Saro. Four criminals had attacked Saro, and her schoolteacher husband, 20 years previously. After his killing, then her three-day rape and torture ordeal (here shown in a mercifully short, single sequence) and her confinement to prison for murder, she gave birth to Yuki, pledging her offspring to wreaking her revenge on those four responsible. Yuri is called Lady Snowblood "because the snow that cleanses the decay of the netherworld is fiery red, rather than pure white" - presumably reflecting the imbalance her mother's defilement has caused in this world and others.
In Japan, 1905, Samurai murderess Yuki (Meiko) has been arrested and sentenced to execution for a series of revenge killings. However, she's offered a reprieve by the Emperor's secret police if she will spy on political activist Ransui, and steal hard evidence of criminality that he holds against imperial authorities. Employed as a maid by Ransui, Yuki's duplicity is suspected almost at once, and after defying agency observers; she joins forces with the anarchist movement in a bid to free herself and the rebels from harassment, and secure vital food supplies for plague-infected slums, by blackmailing the government.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Blu-ray contains both parts 1 + 2 of Fujita's Lady Snowblood. So it's dual-layered but essentially, represents single-layered transfer for each film. Part one looks quite thick and heavy - reminiscent of many Japanese films we've covered in the same production era. Contrast is dullish on the image is dark but seems to me to represent an authentic, un-manipulated, transfer. Part two gets brighter with detail and contrast marginally superior. Much of the modest look is down to the original source and fans can't expect silk purses here. There was no undue noise and the visuals are notably improved from their SD counterparts. This Blu-ray won't be a reference disc but does supply consistent 1080P presentations.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Both films are transferred with the same linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps in the original Japanese. I think it sounds okay - but nothing dynamic. It is clear and clean - probably not far off the original production. The second film may be marginally crisper. The audio transfer seemed to support the films adequately. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Supplements consist of a 11-minute, exclusive, interview with Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp entitled Slicing Through the Snow and original theatrical trailers for both films. The package contains a liner notes booklet essay The Crimson Kimono by critic and author Tom Mes, illustrated with original stills.
September 20th, 2012
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS