For close to a decade I have been somewhat obsessed with the Japanese perfection that is Zatoichi. If you have never had the scent of this intriguing and completely hair-brained concept waft under your nose, you Sir or Madam are utterly missing out on an important aspect of your life. Let’s get one thing straight before we move on: Zatoichi does not fuck around when it gets to be killin’ time.
Zatoichi is a blind masseur/acupuncturist/entertainer, a common thing in Japan in this late stage of the Edo period (or so this series of movies would lead me to believe); he travels from town to town, essentially fighting crime and corruption with a sword that is inconspicuously hidden inside of a cane. Also, when I say that Zatoichi travels from town to town I mean to say he walks everywhere, I can’t remember a single time where he was headed in a particular direction and used something other than his sandals.
He does however, always seem to find his way into the service(as a masseur) of the main criminal, mastermind, or general evil-doer(or at least someone who points him in the right direction); usually by way of a gambling parlor. Did I mention Zatoichi gambles(a lot) and wins by having supersonic hearing that allows him to hear how the dice fall; odd(Han) or even(Chō). That’s right folks he can hear how the dice land! If this was the case for anything else, I would be calling bullshit, however Ichi, in my eyes is granted “carte blanche”, so that he may use the full arsenal of skills at his disposal(since the Gods saw fit to take his eyes) I mean, it’s only fair.
Coming up soon:
More reasons to love Zatoichi
Comparisons….to what you ask? You shall see.
pictures of things
- ‘Unforgiven’ Remake Trailer: A Japanese Twist on a Classic Western (screenrant.com)
- Zatôichi: The Blind Swordsman Blu-ray – Individual Covers (desmondleica.wordpress.com)
- Criterion enlists comics artists to illustrate ‘Zatoichi’ box set (robot6.comicbookresources.com)