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Lady Snowblood/Lady Snowblood: 2 [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 18
  • Run Time: 97 Mins. (Lady Snowblood); 89 Mins. (Lady Snowblood 2)
  • Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 24, 2012
  • RRP: £29.99; £34.99 (Steelbook Edition)

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Films
Lady Snowblood: [Rating:4/5]

Lady Snowblood 2: [Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Films

Lady Snowblood

[Rating:4/5]

1973’s Lady Snowblood from famous Japanese film studio Toho and director Fujita Toshiya is widely known as the film that greatly influenced Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. A cult masterpiece of vengeance bathed in blood and powered by the steel of the samurai, the tale follows a young warrior woman Kashima Yuki (Kaji Meiko) born to a woman in prison. After Yuki’s mother was raped and left in a women’s prison where she died in childbirth, Yuki was raised for one purpose – to avenge her mother’s death. After being raised by a martial arts master and taught to be a coldhearted warrior with a heart of steel, carrying a blade hidden in a parasol, Yuki goes on a trail to find the conspirators responsible for her mother’s tragedy. Despite its obvious exploitation leanings, Lady Snowblood is a well-crafted almost operatic film that clings to its manga roots unapologetically. The cinematography from Tamura Masaki is both lush and angular and the imagery rejoices in the splatter of blood.

Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance

[Rating:2.5/5]

Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance is set several years after the events of the original. Yuki/Lady Snowblood, still played by the gorgeous Kaji Meiko, has been on the road of vengeance for too long and has now grown weary. Captured by the authorities, she is sentenced to death. On her way to execution, she is rescued by the corrupt head of the Secret Police. She is then caught up in political intrigue as she is coerced into spying on suspected anarchists. This sequel lacks some of the campier, exploitation elements of the original chambara classic in favor of more political commentary and drama, but the blood still pours, the romantic elements are heightened, and the cinematography is still inventive.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Shot with anamorphic lenses on 35mm film, Lady Snowblood and Lady Snowblood 2 arrive on Blu-ray with 2.35:1 aspect ratios intact and clean if somewhat soft looking AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodements from Arrow. I didn’t spot any glaring issues with the images and grain seemed to be restrained, while detail remained decent throughout. Colors were quite natural and reds in particular tended to pop, especially the buckets of fake blood. Both films look quite similar regarding grain levels, color palette and shadow delineation, so only the quality of the actual content can distinguish one from the next.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Just simple Japanese LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) monaural soundtracks are provided. They both sound rather boxy and have a lot of crackle in louder passages, but they are intelligible nonetheless.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

The only truly worthwhile supplement on the disc is the brief yet insightful words from Jasper Sharp on the film and the Japanese film industry on the whole during the period in which Lady Snowblood was shot.

The supplements:

  • Slicing Through the Snow – Jasper Sharp on Lady Snowblood (1.78:1; SD; 00:11:15)
  • Lady Snowblood – Trailer (HD)
  • Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance – Trailer (HD)
  • Collector’s booklet ‘The Crimson Kimono’ by critic and author Tom Mes, illustrated with original stills
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]


The original film that influenced one of Tarantino’s best films, Kill Bill, Lady Snowblood hits Blu-ray in a solid effort from Arrow. Although I find the sequel a bit of a letdown in comparison to the original, it still offers a modicum of entertainment and good wrap up for the original chambara classic.

Additional Screen Captures

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Lady Snowblood:

Lady Snowblood 2:

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B007XRX88E[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B007XRX9AG[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Films
Lady Snowblood: [Rating:4/5]

Lady Snowblood 2: [Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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