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‘Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman’

by Mark Schilling

Director: Various

Language: Japanese (subtitled in English)

Criterion is releasing a Blu-ray/DVD box set of the first 25 films in the “Zatoichi” series. Starring the burly, charismatic Shintaro Katsu as the titular blind swordsman, this action-packed series, which ran from 1962 to 1989, was a gateway to samurai films in particular and Japanese films in general for many foreign fans. Here they are digitally restored, along with a 1978 documentary, new interviews and a collectors’ book.