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For Arrow -This is a Pretty Impressive Blu Ray Set Of The Equally Impressive Meiko Kaji
on 3 November 2012
Arrow's impressive list of titles released on Blu over the last couple of years has been a bit hit and miss in terms of quality but Lady Snowblood certainly sits at the higher end of the spectrum.
The set comprises of
Lady Snowblood(1973)Dir Toshiya Fujita.4****
Adapting the acclaimed manga by Kazuo Koike of the same name,Fujita reunites with the wonderful Meiko Kaji(they had worked together on the Female Prisoner series)to good effect in this excellent period revenge flick.Kaji is Yuki Kishima,whose mother dies in prison after giving birth to her,and passes onto Yuki the responsibility of avenging the death of her father and her mother's subsequent shaming at the hands of four utter reprobates.
Fujita handles the nicely modulated story with style and grace and with clever use of flashback.The bloodletting is fairly restrained for the most part but the finale drips with the stuff and an "unnecessary" assassination at the film's opening(solely there to showcase Lady S's prowess) is gorgeously shot.
The aspect ratio is 2:35:1 with 2.0 mono sound for those who are interested in that sort of thing.The transfer is pretty impressive -colours are vibrant,exteriors fairly grain free and faces sharp.Some may consider it a little soft but I was blown away with the clarity and Kaji is luminous in the title role.
Lady Snowblood:Love Song Of Vengeance(1974)Dir Toshiya Fujita 2**& a half
Unlikely sequel brings Lady S "back from the dead" to team up with anarchist Ransui Tokunaga(played by Juzo Itami - yes the director of the wonderful Tampopo)who has a letter in his possession that could bring down the government.Initially Lady S is sent by blackmailing gov officials to spy on Tokunaga posing as his maid but Tokunaga sees through this charade and convinces Lady S of the justness of his crusade.
There is just too much story here really and Fujita is more interested in the political overtones of the film's message than action.Admittedly the action,when it comes,is on a par with the original and the finale is nicely appropriate but it lacks the energy of it's predecessor.
The Aspect,etc is as above and the transfer is excellent again.
For a comparison,I would say that the transfer on this set is significantly better than Eureka's Lone Wolf And Cub.