Pretty Packaging: Take A Look At Criterion's Whopping 27-Disc ZATOICHI Boxset

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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(Mirror, mirror on the wall, THIS is the prettiest of them all!)

When Criterion announced they were going to release all 25 Zatoichi films in one big boxset, we rejoiced in no small way. Criterion is of course one of the most respected distributors in the business, a brand almost synonymous with high-end quality.

Most of the time their releases focus on a single film, but the exceptions to that rule have always been spectacular. However, I do not think anyone expected them to ever release such a large series in its entirety in one go. All 25 original Katsu Shintarō Zatoichi films released between 1962 and 1973 are here, on both DVD and Blu-ray. With extras, this means a grand total of 27 discs. Wowzers!

Criterion's discs also have a bit of a reputation for having mighty fine cover illustrations. Sometimes they use a particularly nice original poster, but often it's an artist's impression of what makes a certain film iconic. With that in mind, what would Criterion do with the packaging of Zatoichi?

To rephrase that question: what does a Criterion 27-disc boxset look like? The answer is: stunning. And this gallery will give you a closer look at the marvelous packaging job Criterion did. Click on the images to enlarge them, or on the left-right borders to switch to another picture.

I normally don't do pictures of the shrink-wrapped package, but Criterion made even THAT special in this case. The big golden stickers covering the front and back are quite pretty, and it's actually a bit of a pity to have to throw them away...

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CriterionKatsu ShintarōZatoichi

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  • Niels Andersen

    Great collection. Too bad mine was slightly damaged, with a tear in one corner of the box. Really wish that they had a sturdier box for this massive collection

  • Dave Baxter

    Plus, for the holidays this bad boy is 50% off at Barnes and Noble (they always do 50% off Criterion for the holidays). Which is...oh so tempting.

  • Zeto

    I have only one question. Why the 1989 film was not included?

  • Mr. Cavin

    Speaking of rights issues, the usual version of this latter-day installment is just fine, and I am far more thrilled to finally get a pretty, subtitled, legal version of Pilgrimage in its place. Finally.

  • Dave Baxter

    Probably a rights issue. Some other company might own that one whereas the other 25 were owned by another.

  • Ard Vijn

    Correct, unfortunately.

  • Mr. Cavin

    yes, this is the finest object I've received in the mail in quite some time. Maybe all decade. Criterion putting this on the menu was one of those very few times when my dream wishlist and dog-eat-dog commercial reality somehow intersected.

  • FlixtheCat

    Bought this and it's the jewel of my collection.

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