DVD Title
Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo
International Title
DVD Length
Original Length
116 Minutes
116 Minutes
Year of Manufacture
Aspect Ratio
2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
2.0 Stereo
- Menus (English)
- Chapters (18)
Trailers: Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
Character Biographies (English, 10 in total)
- Liner Notes (English)
- Complete film and DVD Credits (English)

Another solid release from AnimEigo, although not a high point in their catalogue of DVDs. The film, mistakenly cited as being made in 1965 (as opposed to 1970) on the disc and cover, pits two of Japan's greatest actors at odds with each other: Shintaro Katsu and Toshiro Mifune. This film, like some other Zatoichi movies, was actually produced through Daiei before Toho picked up the rights to it; in fact, this disc displays the Daiei logo at the film's start, but incorrectly subtitles it as being "The Toho Company". The history of Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo aside, AnimEigo's release has a good video presentation, a solid audio presentation, and a lackluster selection of extras.

Every company has to start somewhere, and this is AnimEigo's introduction to doing video for live action films. As expected, for this reason Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo pales when compared to some of AnimEigo's other releases, like Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx, but overall it's still a admirable presentation of the film. The colors on this release are pretty vibrant, a AnimEigo tradition, but the brightness on this print is a little low making them hard to see at times. In terms of digital inconsistencies, the disc is nearly devoid of them, with artifacting and shimmering not being noticeable in the least, and the film looks very sharp as a result. The print used for the transfer, unfortunatly, is not up to AnimEigo's standards as noticeable scratches do appear on the print, but not frequently enough to become distracting. In terms of noise levels, there is a bit of grain present, which isn't a negative although is a bit more noticeable than other AnimEigo releases that tend to go through more heavy noise reduction.

The film is also presented with its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.

A solid, and faithful audio rendering of the film is present here. The DVD contains a stereo, Dolby Digital 2.0, presentation of the film. However, there is very little speaker distinction to be noted, and this sounds more like a mono audio track. In general, though, there is a good balance between the dialogue and the soundtrack, and the audio track contains no hisses or pops either. Like other AnimEigo disc, the Japanese audio track here is complimented with two forms of, removable, English subtitles. The first subtitle set is standard, and will provide a simple translation of dialogue and Japanese text that appears through out the film, which is also color coded to display when more than one person is talking on screen. The other set of subtitles will provide background information to some of the Japanese terms, such as "Yojimbo" for bodyguard, which appear throughout the course of the movie.

The extras found on this disc are lacking, even for a AnimEigo release. The DVD does contain the original Japanese trailer, complete with English subtitles, for Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance. However, this is a trailer which appears on nearly everyone of AnimEigo's Toho releases, so its inclusion here is hardly noteworthy. Also included on the disc are "Linear Notes," which show an impressive amount of research done on the background of the time period in which the Zatoichi series takes place; furthermore, this extra appears both in print format (found inside the DVD Amaray case where one would expect to find the disc's booklet) and on the DVD itself. There are also biographies found on the disc, which cover ten characters from the film pretty briefly; unfortunately, these bios don't list which actors played which parts in the film. The disc also includes a list of credits, for the both the film and DVD, in English, which makes for a good resource for those who can't read Japanese.

Bottom line, a solid DVD release, even if one of AnimEigo's lesser discs, which is more than worth picking up if one is interested in Zatoichi or the samurai genre altogether.

This disc is also featured in the box sets: Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman: DVD Collector's Edition Box, Toshiro Mifune: The Ultimate Collection.

-Anthony Romero