DVD Title
Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman
International Title
DVD Length
Original Length
94 Minutes
94 Minutes
Year of Manufacture
Aspect Ratio
2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
2.0 Stereo
- Menus (English)
- Chapters (12)
- Trailers: Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman, Lady Snowblood, Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance, Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
- Character Biographies (English, 10 in total)
Program Notes (English)
- Complete film and DVD Credits (English)

AnimEigo's release of Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman, the 22nd film in the long running Zatoichi series. As one can expect from AnimEigo, we are given another solid release here that would rank up there as one of the best Toho DVDs on the market. The video presentation, while not AnimEigo's best, is still done well here, and the audio presentation is also faithful to the source material; the extras are kind of standard for a AnimEigo release, with a small addition thrown in this time, but are still adequate.

This DVD marks another excellent video transfer from AnimEigo, although clearly not the best the company has done. Gone in Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman is the vibrant array of colors for which AnimEigo has become known so well for, replaced this time around with more monotone shades. It's the only flaw on this release, though, and thankfully the brightness level is set just right here, unlike AnimEigo's Lady Snowblood release. Like all of AnimEigo's Toho DVDs, the disc is devoid of any noticeable digital inconstancies, and the film looks pretty sharp. The print used for the DVD transfer is also in perfect condition, with no noticeable scratches at all during the course of the film. Very little grain is present as well, reportedly removed painstakingly by AnimEigo themselves.

Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman is also presented here in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, or widescreen, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.

The DVD includes the a 2.0 stereo audio track that, although, due to the lack of speaker distinction, sounds for all purposes to be a mono track. Thankfully, though, Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman's score, done by Isao Tomita, never hits those shrill notes to the point where the audio track sounds scratchy, a problem apparent on the Lone Wolf and Cub DVDs. Overall, the audio track is done very well here, with dialogue and sound effects coming through clear, although, as expected with a mono release, the audio has very little range in terms of the sounds. AnimEigo has complemented the Japanese audio track here with English subtitles that are color coded to signify when more than one character is talking during a scene. Like other AnimEigo DVDs, the subtitles can be toggled on and off, and are available in two varieties: a general one, and one which provides definitions for words which apply to Japanese customs.

Another standard selection of extras from AnimEigo are included with this release. Which means a group of four trailers, this time the trailers to Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (how many releases have this one, now?), Lady Snowblood (a pleasant surprise as it was absent on the film's own DVD), Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance, and the film's own trailer. "Program Notes", which are absent from this release in print form unlike others, provide background information on the time period that the Zatoichi series is set. Also, as a added bonus for this release, AnimEigo has thrown together 10 character bios for characters from the film.

Bottom line, Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman is another great DVD from AnimEigo in most regards. Fans of the Zatoichi series, or the "Samurai" genre in general, shouldn't hesitate to pick this title up.

This disc is also featured in the box set: Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman: DVD Collector's Edition Box.

-Anthony Romero