Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Zatoichi - Stage play (2007) directed by Takashi Miike


Written & Directed by: Takashi Miike
Starring: AIKAWA Show, ABE Sadawo, NAGATO Hiroyuki
Genre: Samurai Stage play

This Zatoichi stage play directed by Takashi Miike in 2007 is a pure work of art & a must see for any Zatoichi-Chanbara fan! The entire 166 minute play is stunningly performed & expertly crafted with very smooth set to set changeovers. The lighting & the soundtrack really set a nice mood to the story which included a hint of comedy along with the sizzling dramatics & violence! The sword choreography was graceful, yet powerful, a breathtaking glance with a dance of death of sorts! I’m probably wrong, but the swords that the cast were slashing & prancing about with on the stage really looked like heavy metal blades, not sharpened of course! They definitely did not look like toy soldiers with toy swords! Sho Aikawa played Zatoichi & he REALLY did a GREAT job capturing the spirit of the blind swordsman!

The play started out eerily quiet with 2 dark hooded figures with walking sticks cautiously strolling up the aisles of the theatre chanting, “I’m blind...I’m a blind masseuse...I’m blind...I’m a blind masseuse”. Upon stepping on the stage, the set changed over to a quick glimpse of Zatoichi slaughtering a few foes as they dropped like a sack of rice bags. The story would begin here as we find once again that Zatoichi has a reward out for his head with a few brave or dumb souls depending on your point of view that would have enough mochii to come and take a crack at cashing in on the reward! An added appetizer of the play includes an actress from a traveling stage troupe who starts to develop feelings for Zatoichi as well as for a renegade samurai bodyguard named Ryu. The central nervous system of this play would lie in a map that leads to a treasure which will cause a lot of grief & bloodshed! The fueding Yakuza clans, an elder, & an instigator will put their chips on the table for all to see! Who will bluff? Who will get stuffed? Who's the schmuck? Zatoichi, Ryu, & the actress will find themselves in the middle of all this chaos! A tale of a broken sword & a confession of love will show thyselves!

I really dug this stage play that I viewed on DVD! The cast, the story, the costumes, the elaborate sets, mood, lighting, choreography, soundtrack, & the continuity of the whole production was off the hibachi! Not to mention that all of the above was done LIVE & to 1 take only! The close up camera shots when the fury swordplay erupted added to the chaos & frenzy! The subtitling of the play on DVD was also very easy to read!

Check out SamuraiDVD to get your copy of Zatoichi - Stage Play directed by Takashi Miike!

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