Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 9th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2008
Director: Yôhei Fukuda
Writers: Yôhei Fukuda, Yasutoshi Murakawa
Cast: Eri Otoguro, Tomohiro Waki, Tarô Suwa, Manami Hashimoto, Chise Nakamura, Ai Hazuki, Satoshi Hakuzen, Hiroaki Kawatsure, Sari Kurauchi, Tomoya Nagai, Tetsu Watanabe
DVD released: August 25th, 2009
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Onechanbara is loosely based on a series of Japanese video games. After a brief text intro to start the film which sets up the story that follows, the plot quickly cuts to the first of many action sequences in the film. While there is some time spent exploring the main characters, the main purpose of this film is showcase wall to wall action set pieces. For the most part the action comes off well even though the FX work in the film stands out like a sore thumb.
The main character in the film Aya “Onechanbara” (Big Sister Sword Fighter), is primary pitted against zombies who were reanimated by a man named Dr. Sugita. He is also the man who is responsible for the death of her father. Her younger sister Saki is Dr. Sugita right hand woman. With the help hordes of zombies flesh eaters that he has unleashed upon humanity she finds new victims for Dr. Sugita to experiment on.
Even though the plot is not without its limitations the main reason why this film works as well as it does it is lead character Aya a cowboy hat wearing samurai sword wielding killing machine who wears nothing more than a scarf, a cloak and a bikini. To this films credit it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than what it really is, a mildly entertaining action film with plenty of eye candy.
Tokyo Shock presents Onechanbara in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and details look sharp throughout.
This release comes with three audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese, a Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese and a Dolby Digital Stereo English. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been included. All three audio mixes sound crystal clear and robust.
Extras for this release are limited to trailers for other films also available on DVD from Tokyo Shock. Overall Onechanbara gets a solid audio / video presentation from Tokyo Shock.