Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale) gave the world Japan’s answer to The Godfather with this violent yakuza saga, influencing filmmakers from Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs) to Takashi Miike (Graveyard of Honor, Audition). Made within just two years, the five-film series brought a new kind of realism and ferocity to the crime genre in Japan, revitalizing the industry and leading to unprecedented commercial and critical success.
Literally exploding onscreen with a mushroom cloud, and ending with Hiroshima’s A-bomb Dome, the epic story of Battles Without Honour and Humanity follows over 100 characters through twenty years of gang wars, alliances, betrayals, and assassinations, in an exciting exploration of criminal power and politics in Japan. In the opening episode, ex-soldier Shozo Hirono escapes from the post-war black markets to become a key member of the Yamamori gang, but soon finds himself disillusioned by the selfish duplicity of his bosses. Hiroshima Death Match focuses on a demobilized kamikaze pilot drifting through the early 1950’s, whose suicidal impulses find good use as a mob assassin. Proxy War and Police Tactics form a labyrinthine, two-part story of ambition and betrayal set against Japan’s rapid economic growth of the 1960’s, with Shozo caught between warring factions. Final Episode concludes the series in the 1970’s as the former Yamamori gang transforms itself into an economic conglomerate called the Tensei Group, in a bid for mainstream respectability.
Fukasaku and his team broke with the longstanding studio tradition of casting marquee idols as honorable, kimono-clad heroes, defending their gang bosses against unscrupulous villains, and instead adapted true accounts torn from the headlines, shot in a documentary-like style, and with few clear-cut heroes or villains. The vibrancy and dynamism of the filmmaking, plus its shocking violence, Shakespearean plotlines, and wide tapestry of characters, launched a revolutionary new genre, establishing the series as one of the great masterpieces of world crime cinema.
Limited Edition Contents:
The Complete Saga - Limited Edition Exclusive
The Yakuza Papers - Limited Edition Exclusive
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Great service on delivering this magnificent set. The hardbound book is the most beautiful book I have seen in a box set. Transfer is also excellent. A lot of content, so stack up on popcorn for this previously unpublished in Europe and US yakuza classic.
This is up there with the best releases Arrow Video have issued to date. The picture and audio quality are excellent and the English Subtitles make the movies such an enjoyable experience. Fantastic Yakuza movies which are highly recommended. The booklet included covers the post World War II period in Japan in great detail and is a brilliant addition to this limited edition box set. Reminiscent of Once Upon a Time in America, this is an awesome series of films.
I'm always a bit worried about ordering items of this size and price as many postal services are very heavy-handed but my Battles Without Honor and Humanity set came very well packaged and there isn't the slightest mark on the set. People always claim Zavii are terrible when it comes to ordering Arrow Video items but I haven't the faintest clue what any of those people are on about as I think Zavii, quite frankly, are better at packaging Arrow Video items than Arrow are themselves. They also deliver a lot faster than Arrow too.
This my new favorite item in my collection. And probably the best one too. Cant recommend this enough!