After a long delay, Episode 8 of the Blind Podsmen is out. Tonight's episode follows the second Zatoichi film from 1964, Zatoichi's Flashing Sword. Ichi finds himself wounded from an attempted assassination and nursed back to health, he finds himself up against thugs hired to harm the business of the family he owes his life to.
We are back after a week delay with Episode 7: Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold from 1964. This film follows our hero as he hunts for the thieves of a village's 1000 ryo chest of gold, a crime that Ichi has found himself accused of.
Directed by Kazuo Ikehiro (Also directed 2 other Zatoichi films, Flashing Sword (movie 7) and Pilgrimage (movie 14) and starring, of course, Shintaro Katsu. We also see the return of Shintaro's in real life older brother Tomisaburo Wakayama as Jushiro, the dangerous ronin who Ichi finds himself face to face with. The big stand out technical crew of this film is Kazou Miyagawa who did work on Rashomon (one of my favorite movies) and Yojimbo. He would be involved with six more Zatoichi films.
Tonight we are jumping into the fifth entry in the Zatoichi saga, On The Road (or known as Zatoichi's Fighting Journey). Starring Shintaro Katsu, we find our hero escorting a young maiden to Edo while being pursued by two gangs for mysterious reasons. Tonight's film was directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda,
Kimiyoshi would later direct the following Zatoichi films after On The Road:
#9 Adventures of Zatoichi
#15 Zatoichis Cane Sword
#18 Zatoichi and the Fugatives (not to be confused with movie 4)
#22 Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman
#25 Zatoichis Conspiracy (final film before 1989’s Zatoichi)
Welcome to Episode 5 of The Bind Podsmen. Tonight we are checking out Movie #4 in the Zatoichi series: Zatoichi The Fugitive (1963). Synopsis:A yakuza gang targets the blind masseur Zatoichi after he defeats their group in a wrestling match. Meanwhile a long lost love of Zatoichi's returns to his life. Directed by Tokuzu Tanaka and starring Shintaro Katsu. We also have a new Blind Leading the Blind. Download Here
Tonight's episode we explore the third film and first color entry in the Zatoichi series, The New Tale of Zatoichi (1963). Starring Shintaro Katsu as he returns for the third time as the blind swordsman.
Synopsis: "Wishing to find peace, Zatoichi travels to his old village but only finds trouble when he ends up in a love triangle and finds old scores have followed him home."
Tonight we are exploring the second film in the Zatoichi series, 1962's The Tale of Zatoichi. Zatoichi travels back to Ioka villiage to pay respects to the samurai he bested a year earlier. Along the way he is stalked by a relentless group of samurai and a mysterious figure from his past. The Tale of Zatoichi Continues also stars Tomisaburo Wakayama and is directed by Kazou Mori, both would later go on to helm the Lone Wolf and Cub series
Tonight we are diving into the first episode in the Zatoichi series, The Tale of Zatoichi from 1962. This is the first outing of Shintaro Katsu in his signature role. A blind masseur finds himself tangled up in a war between two rival gangs. While Zatoichi is employed by one yakuza gang, he meets his match against a ronin who is in the village under similar circumstances. Directed by Cinbara powerhouse, Kenji Misumi, who would go on to direct the Lone Wolf and Cub series and the first entry in the Hanzo the Razor film series as well. Composer Akira Ifukube, best known for handling music and sound effects for the Toho Godzilla series contributes a powerful score mixing traditional Japanese music with experimental sound effects.
We released our first episode on Wednesday and already the feedback and attention the show has gotten has been tremendously positive. A big thanks to our Podcast bros over at Junk Food Dinner and Jason's home podcast Pool Party Radio for plugging us on their Facebook pages as well as The Criterion Completion Facebook group for allowing a plug for the show on their page.
This podcast is a big deal to myself and my co-host because it's an exercise in critically understanding the significance of film and how these characters such as Zatoichi become their own modern legends. As I mentioned in our first episode, I personally have little understanding as to what makes Zatoichi who he is but the legend of the blind swordsmen has sat in the back of my mind for over a decade, constantly coming up in comparisons to other heroes that I'm familiar with and I've only experienced his story for about an hour and thirty minutes when I was 16.
One day while I was in a Barnes and Noble, I noticed a boxset sitting behind a counter and thought to myself "hell yeah, I'm in" and plopped down the $180 for something that would remain on my shelf unopened for an unjust amount of time. So why start a podcast entirely around a single subject that I barely know anything about? Well, why not? Through this show we get to explore an entire legacy of not only one of the most famous and long running Japanese characters but we get to sit down and explore what makes these films timeless with completely fresh eyes.
This coming week we will be releasing our second episode and our first exploration into the Zatoichi series, The Tale of Zatoichi from 1962. The IMDB synopsis reads as follows
The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.
Simple and to the point, basically all you need to pull you into the adventure
To finish up this post, If you like the show, please take a moment to rate and review us on iTunes and join us on our Facebook. If you're not too keen on iTunes, we are on Sticher Radio, Overcast or if you prefer to just go with our feed, Click Here.
And check back with us on Thursday, June 30th for Episode 2
The Blind Podsmen podcast is dedicated to all things Zatoichi. The legendary blind swordsman in the hit film and TV series and one of the most iconic characters in Japanese pop culture history. While the Zatoichi franchise was wildly successful in Japan, it doesn't hold much of a presence in the American mainstream, though film enthusiast around the world are more than familiar with our hero. On this podcast, we will do a retrospective on all 25 original Zatoichi films as well as the 1989 conclusion to the series, produced 16 years after the conclusion of the 25th film in the series, Zatoichi's Conspiracy (1973).
But that's not all, we are also going to cover a number of spin offs including Takeshi Kitano's take on the character in Zatoichi (2003), the story of a blind female musician who is also a skilled sword fighter in Ichi (2008) and the more recent Zatoichi: The Last from 2010. We might also try to fight Blind Fury, a remake of the 17th film in the franchise, Zatoichi Challanged, starring Rutger Hauer from 1990.
Your host for this journey are Jason Frisbie from the Pool Party Radio podcast as well as Patrick Manfredi from the Banshee Jam podcast.