Today: February 25, 2024

Samurai Wolf I & II

Throne of Blood, Seven Samurai, Kagemusha even if you don’t know Chanbara films, you know Chanbara films.

The word literally means “sword fighting” and refers to a type of film that, in English, are usually called samurai films, but are more broadly equivalent to American Westerns or historical swashbucklers. 

Akira Kurosawa is, arguably, one of the best known exponents of Chanbara — and his stylised violence, and brooding anti-heroes, have become something of a trope of the genre.

Japanese auteur, Hideo Gosha, may not be as well known as Kurosawa in Europe, but he’s generally viewed as one of the most exciting and innovative exponents of Chanbara films. And Samurai Wolf I & II are amongst his best — and most surprising films. 

Made in stunning black and white, Samurai Wolf I & Ii take their inspiration from Kurosawa and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns. The result is entertaining mash-up which tells the story of the charismatic ronin, Kiba (Isao Natsuyagi).

While Gosha worked on a shoestring budget, the lack of finances have little impact on the end result — proving that imaginative filmmaking don’t have to cost the earth. 

With bold imagery, fantastic performances, inspired direction, and pretty much constant sword fights, Samurai Wolf has something for everyone. 

Eureka’s Masters of Cinema series, two-disc box set, present both films on blu-ray for the first time ever in the UK.

Special features include: 

  • Limited edition O-Card slipcase featuring new artwork by Tony Stella (first 2000 copies).
  • Presented in 1080p HD from restorations of the original film elements by Toei.
  • Uncompressed original Japanese Mono audio.
  • Optional English subtitles.
  • Brand new audio commentary on Samurai Wolf II by Jasper Sharp.
  • Brand new interview with film critic Tony Rayns.
  • Audio commentary on Samurai Wolf by film historian and writer Chris Poggiali.
  • Outlaw Director – Hideo Gosha featurette with Tomoe Gosha.
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original poster artwork.
  • A collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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