The Tale of Zatoichi Continues (1962)

tale of zatoichi continues poster 1962 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Solid action-adventure drama

Feels more episodic than an individual film

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Tale of Zatoichi Continues

Studio:  Daiei See

Genre(s): Martial Arts/Drama/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): October 12, 1962

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

tale of zatoichi continues yoshiro tomisaburo wakayama

Who is the One Armed Samurai?!?!

A year has passed since Zatoichi (Shintarō Katsu) fought and defeated the ailing Miki Hirate in battle, and tales of Zatoichi have spread in the area.  Now, Zatoichi’s attempt to honor Miki Hirate are in danger.  Zatoichi is being targeted by someone from his past and Zatoichi discovers that trying to bury the past could be dangerous as he faces against a man named Yoshiro (Tomisaburō Wakayama) who has his own ties to Zatoichi.

Directed by Kazuo Mori, The Tale of Zatoichi (続・座頭市物語 or Zoku Zatōichi Monogatari) continues is a Japanese samurai film.  Following The Tale of Zatoichi also released in 1962, the film is the second movie in the Zatoichi series.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film as part of their Zatoichi: The Blind Samurai boxset (Criterion #679).

tale of zatoichi continues graveyard shintaro katsu

Maybe I can honor the dead and not kill people…nope

While the Zatoichi films are films, they feel more like a series with loooong episodes.  The reason being is that it feels like as the films progress, you learn more about Zatoichi and the people around him.  Here, you get to learn a bit about Zatoichi’s past as he tries to put the events of the last film behind him.  While the films work well in a series, I can’t imagine watching some of these films as standalones.

In this film, Zatoichi faces off against his brother who he crippled years ago making the movie a family affair.  For much of the movie, you don’t understand Yoshiro’s obsession with Zatoichi and why he dances around the character for so long.  This helps give more depth to the Zatoichi character and explain how he got from point A to point B in his training and personality…it is both tragic and redemptive.  Zatoichi has relatively seemed to come to peace with his past though his brother hasn’t…which leads to tragedy.

Shintarō Katsu continues to develop the Zatoichi character.  The first film takes a bit of getting used to due to his strange walk and style of fighting, but by this film, Shintarō Katsu feels like he is really growing into the character.  He’s joined by Tomisaburō Wakayama as Yoshiro and it feels like a shame that Yoshiro’s fate is revealed in this film since it could have been a great continuing storyline in the series.

tale of zatoichi continues ichi vs brother yoshiro tomisaburo wakayama shintaro katsu

How very Shakespearian, Bro…

The Tale of Zatoichi Continues is shot in black-and-white like the first film.  The black-and-white style of the films give the movies a bit of a classic feel like early Akira Kurosawa entries.  It creates a sense of timelessness to them that color movie from the 1930s to 1970s sometimes lose because the color doesn’t always match modern coloring.  It also makes the movie seem older than it really is.

The Tale of Zatoichi Continues isn’t a very good standalone film, so if you are planning to watch the series, start from the beginning.  As individual films, the movies are good and slightly better than some of the other samurai pictures, but in context of the whole series, they shine.  The Tale of Zatoichi Continues is followed by The New Tale of Zatoichi in 1963 which makes the jump to color.

Preceded By:

The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)

Followed By:

The New Tale of Zatoichi (1963)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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