Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 29th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1972
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Writers: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, Isao Matsumoto
Cast: Meiko Kaji, Sonny Chiba, Shingo Yamashiro, Yukie Kagawa, Tamayo Mitsukawa, Toru Yuri, Hideo Murota, Chujiro Tomita, Fujio Suga, Junzaburo Ban
DVD released: May 19th, 2009
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler is the sequel to Wandering Ginza Butterfly. This series bears many similarities to the Red Peony Gambler series which starred Junko Fuji. The character Nami played by Meiko Kaji can in many ways be seen a direct descendant to Junko Fuji’s Ryu character in the Red Peony Gambler series. The main story that drives the plot of Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler is Nami’s quest to avenge her father’s death. Other sub plots include a woman Nami’s saves from a life in prostitution and she befriends a low level hustler named Ryu who is played by Sonny Chiba.
There is plenty of action in this film including sword fights, stabbings, shoot outs and torture.The women in the film are often assaulted by the male characters. The best fights scenes include a duel between Nami and yakuza on a bridge and the Films final showdown which rivals the sword play and carnage of Kill Bill’s House of Blues sequence. Besides a fair amount of violence this one also features some offbeat humor like the scene where Ryu is taking a bubble bath and exposes himself to Nami or the scene where Ryu and Nami first meet at a gambling house and he acts like his hand accidentally touched her chest.
Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler was directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi who also directed Delinquent Girl Boss: Blossoming Night Dreams, Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess, Wandering Ginza Butterfly, Sister Street Fighter, Sister Street Fighter 2, Sister Street Fighter 3, Karate Bull Fighter, Karate Bear Fighter, Karate for Life, Wolfman vs. the Supernatural, Dragon Princess and Karate Warriors. Visually Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2:: She-Cat Gambler is a stylish affair which features strong performances from its leads Meiko Kaji and Sonny Chiba. Anyone familiar with the films of Kazuhiko Yamaguchi knows that you are in for a high octane action extravaganza.
In the lead role Nami is Meiko Kaji who shows early signs of the bad ass female she would later personify in Lady Snowblood and Female Prisoners films. Meiko Kaji’s Nami while tough is still more compassionate then later the Femme Fatales that she would play. Sonny Chiba may not be the star of this film and yet he plays a pivotal role in the film. Sonny Chiba gets several chances in the film to show off his inner Badass. He also shows on several occasions his ability to handle comedy.
Overall the cast are all more then adequate in their various roles. Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler features a very cool score that sounds at times like the type of scores that Ennio morricone would compose for a Spaghetti Western. Ultimately Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler is an exploitation fans dream come true with its ample amount of bloodshed most of which comes via the hands of Meiko Kaji.
Synapse Films presents Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Flesh tones look healthy and accurate, colors look robust and nicely saturated and details look razor sharp throughout. This is another exceptional transfer from Synapse Films that is on par with their transfers for the other Toei film that they have released on DVD.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included. The audio is in great shape with no problems with distortion or background. Dialog is clear and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include trailers for Wandering Ginza Butterfly (3 minutes 17 seconds – in Japanese with removable English subtitles) and Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler (2 minutes 52 seconds – in Japanese with removable English subtitles). Other extras include an extensive text bio about Meiko Kaji written by Chris D., a selected filmography for Meiko Kaji and a Meiko Kaji poster gallery with twenty six images. The main extras included with this release are two interviews. The first interview is with director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi (37 minutes 27 seconds – in Japanese with removable English subtitles), who gives a career overview which covers how he got into the film business, working with Reiko Oshida on the Delinquent Girl Boss films, working with Meiko Maji, working with Sonny Chiba, working with Sue Shinomi, the Wandering Ginza Butterfly films, his involvement on the film Female Prisoner Scorpion 701, The Sister Streeetfighter films, The Karate for Life trilogy, casting and working with an American porn actress named Sharon Kelly on the film “Shikijo Turko Nikki”. Also make sure you check out a few extras comments from Kazuhiko Yamaguchi that appear after the ends credits. The second interview is with Pinky Violence Expert J-Taro Sugikaku (10 minutes 57 seconds – in Japanese with removable English subtitles), who thoroughly examines the career of Mieko Kaji. Also included with this release is a reversible covert art that includes the film’s original poster art. Overall Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler gets a fully loaded DVD release from Synapse Films that is highlighted by the in-depth career interview with director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, highly recommended.