Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 4th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1973
Director: Toshiya Fujita
Writers: Kazuo Uemura, Kazuo Koike
Cast: Meiko Kaji, Ko Nishimura, Toshio Kurosawa
DVD Released: May 11th, 2004
Approximate Running Time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: AnimEigo
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: Yuki (Kaji Meiko) was born for one reason "bloody revenge", the last words spoken by her mother. Her father a school teacher and her brother were brutally murdered and her mother was raped and forced into a life of prostitution. Her mother would be sent to prison for killing a client and through all of her pain and suffering she would stay alive long enough to to ensure vengeance would be handed down through her daughter. Yuki would be trained in the art of death by the priests who adopted her. Once Yuki has developed her skills she is now ready to seek out those responsible for the death of her family. Cold hearted Lady Snowblood exacts her vengeance upon those that have destroyed her life.
The Lady Snowblood movies are based on a Manga from early 1970’s that was co-created by Kazuo Koike, who also helped create the Manga series Lone Wolfe and Cub. The title song "Shura No Hana" literal translation is "The Flower of Hell", when Quentin Tarantino used the song for Kill Bill Volume one, he decided to use the more poetic title "The Flower of Carnage". Lady Snowblood is one of the most brutal revenge movies around and it helped inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, which lifts several scenes and ideas from Lady Snowblood. Blood soaked frames through out the film and its no hold bares violence visual poetry to the films landscapes. Lady Snowblood isn’t your basic exploitation film and violence is never used unless to further the development of the story. The direction is excellent as Toshiya Fujita composition and colors to give visual presence to his cinematic vision.
Lady Snowblood is presented in 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The detail is amazing and the blood which there is a lot of once again runs the deepest of reds. The flesh tones are normal throughout and the darker scene exhibit little of no grain at all. AnimEigo has restored this classic tale of revenge and they have done an amazing job.
Presented in its original Japanese Dolby Digital Mono and the music cues sound full of life. The sound effects are rather thin and dialog is clear and easy to hear. The subtitles are easy to read and follow.
Trailers for the following AnimEigo titles Lone Wolf and Cub Sword of Vengeance, Lone Wolf and Cub White Heaven in Hell, Zatoichi The Outlaw and Zatoichi The Festival of Fire. There are also program notes about Japanese history and about the film. Sadly they didn’t include trailers for either of the AnimEigo Lady Snowblood releases.
Amazing swordplay and stunning photography make Lady Snowblood’s quest for revenge a film you won’t soon forget. I highly recommend lady Snowblood. The next time you watch Lady Snowblood you might get a feeling of de ja vu when you realize how much of Lady Snowblood is in Kill Bill.