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Shurayukihime
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Reviews & Ratings for
Lady Snowblood More at IMDbPro »Shurayukihime (original title)

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Index 41 reviews in total 

8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

The main inspiration for Kill Bill and a masterpiece in its genre.

10/10
Author: Danny-Rodriguez from Norway
18 May 2006

Of the very few Japanese samurai movies i've seen this is without a doubt the best. It's about this woman who was born in a prison and raised by a samurai priest who teaches her the deadly arts in order to take revenge on the people who killed her father. The fact that this is the main inspiration for Tarantino's homage to the samurai genre Kill Bill is apparent all the way through it. From the main theme song from this film being used in Kull Bill to many shots copied and the film being divided into chapters. What's very good about this film is that you'll have no problem understanding and following the story without any confusion. Which happens a lot when you watch foreign cinema. No, this film is so thoroughly told that you wont miss a thing. I definitely recommend this film to any movie buff or Tarantino fan.

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Super-entertaining female revenge flick

10/10
Author: mevmijaumau from Croatia
7 November 2014

Toshiya Fujita's Lady Snowblood, (based on the manga of the same name) starring Meiko Kaji, is now most commonly known as the film that inspired Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies. Tarantino is a notorious copycat, but I frankly don't find that to be a big deal, I mean other filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick copied from other films all the time yet nobody has a problem with that.

Kill Bill lifted many elements from Lady Snowblood; the female revenge plot with four main villains (the one played by Lucy Liu is even inspired by Shurayuki), battles on snowy fields, fountains of watery blood, fights with the female villain's henchmen, an animated sequence (in LS it's a series of scenes from the manga because I assume the budget was too low for an animated scene), the protagonist killing a girl's parent, division into chapters, some of the music which was plain borrowed, and the non-linear chronology. I actually prefer Lady Snowblood to Kill Bill because it has a far more absorbing atmosphere, which is one of the most important things for a movie to have as I see it.

Lady Snowblood is divided into four chapters and dramatically narrated by some anonymous. Surprisingly enough, the camera-work is just brilliant for an exploitation film. There are many interesting techniques, like zooming in on a stair-ascending character's partially obscured face in the background and then focusing on her as soon as she appears on the others' level, or suddenly zooming out of the scene high into the sky. The color cinematography and costume work are all very memorable.

The bloody scenes have the usual fire hydrant-like blood fountains common in many samurai films at the time, I mean that's just classic, I can't believe some people are having problems with that. The over-the-top acting also isn't a nuisance, it's a lovable exploitation film trope that just makes the movie better. Meiko Kaji is great both in the leading role and on the film's soundtrack; the main song Shura no hana (translated by Tarantino as The Flower of Carnage) is amazing, probably one of the best movie character theme songs I've heard so far.

Lady Snowblood also has a sequel by the same director, a Hong Kong remake, as well as a sci-fi re-imagining which came out years later. But yeah, sadly it's most famous for being an inspiration to Tarantino, which is unfortunate because it's a great film on its own, a masterpiece in its own genre - highly entertaining, dark and colorful. Be sure to check it out.

9,5/10

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A classic Japanese tale of vengeance.

8/10
Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
22 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lady Snowblood: Blizzard from the Netherworld stars Meiko Kaji as Yuki, conceived and born behind prison bars and raised to take retribution against the four vicious criminals who raped her mother and slaughtered the rest of her family.

Typical of the 70s Japanese exploitation genre, the film mixes stylish visuals with extreme violence, and as Yuki hunts down the guilty four, viewers are presented with stunning cinematography, masterfully staged fight choreography, and a copious amount of arterial spray and bodily dismemberment; director Toshiya Fujita even throws in some manga drawings for good measure.

An exciting finalé at a decadent masquerade ball sees Yuki despatching her final target in suitably bloody style, only to be stabbed by the vengeful daughter of one of her earlier victims. How ironic! 7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.

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Beautiful and iconic revenge tale

7/10
Author: tomgillespie2002 from United Kingdom
26 July 2013

In 1874 Japan, a woman gives birth in a prison. Almost a year before, the woman, Sayo (Miyoko Akaza), her husband and son are attacked in a village by four criminals - Okono (Sanae Nakahara), Banzo (Noboru Nakaya), Tokuichi (Takeo Chii) and Gishiro (Eiji Okada). The husband and son are murdered in cold bold, and Sayo is taken by Tokuichi to work for him. After Sayo murders him, she is sent to prison, where she has sex with many guards in the hope of becoming pregnant, to give birth to a child that can avenge her. That child is Yuki (Meiko Kaji), who after receiving years of training from a priest, becomes Lady Snowblood, a lethal assassin whose only thirst is for revenge.

While this may sound similar to countless martial arts or samurai films to come out of Japan and China during the 1970's, there's something profoundly different to Lady Snowblood. While it certainly offers scenes of outlandish violence (the blood spurts from the body like a gushing fountain), director Toshiya Fujita, taking inspiration from the manga Shurayukihime, seems more interested in building the foundation to the sweeping story than having scene after scene of flying limbs. Separated by title-carded chapters, the film makes a point of giving us a decent story to each target, subtly interlinking the stories to make sure they flow, rather than simply jumping from one person to the next.

What also separates this from others of similar ilk on the grindhouse circuit is the cinematography by Masaki Tamura, which is nothing short of beautiful. I promised myself I would try and get through this entire review without mentioning Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill (2003-2004), but it's not hard to see why he chose to steal (sorry, it's 'homage' when its Tarantino doing it) the same setting and colour palette. Every scene is wide and lovingly crafted, and when the violence ensues, it turns out that red on white is truly stunning. It may not have the outlandish violence of, say, the Lone Wolf and Cub series (1972-1974), but this has a calm yet quick slash of a sword, rather than an extended sword fight, and the film is clinical in that aspect to say the least. While the pace may be often too slow, this is still a satisfying revenge drama featuring one of the most iconic character of its genre.

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Art House mayhem...

10/10
Author: poe426 from USA
8 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Beautifully directed by Toshiya Fujita, LADY SNOWBLOOD is another Art House samurai saga chock full of geysers of blood. When it all comes together as it does here, the result is a joy to behold. (I'd seen this one years ago, but revisiting it just recently reminded me just how good it is.) Yuki (the lovely Meiko Kaji) is the orphaned daughter of a woman forced into prostitution when her husband was murdered (in a VERY graphic sequence). Armed with her umbrella (which hides a sword, the use of which she has mastered), Yuki sets out for revenge. "You were born for vengeance," her mother told her when she was born to her in the prison where she died for killing her rapist: "A child of the Netherworlds..." "I've immersed my body in the river of Vengeance," her theme song tells us. Much like the current situation here in these United $tate$, her world is one where "unfair practices by mercenary plutocrats and shady businessmen and actions taken by corrupt officials seeking only to benefit themselves" are rampant. "People say... that what cleanses this world of decay is not pure white snow... but snow that is stained fiery-red- the snow of the Netherworlds!" Yuki enlists the aid of the beggar clan to help find her next target, whom she tells: "It's time to start the journey of Death." Says the Narrator: "All life is transitory... but the virtues are eternal." When "liberal" writer Ashio Ryurei begins writing a manga, LADY SNOWBLOOD, chronicling her exploits, he draws the ire of the local authorities (who, like the Democratic Dictators who've ruled THIS country for so many decades, now, get real upset when The Little People get out of line). LADY SNOWBLOOD is one of the better samurai epics (and that's saying a lot, as there are a good many of them of superior quality)- and it doesn't skimp on the bloodletting.

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A violent, silly, rampaging romp, but has a heart of sadness.

9/10
Author: ForCenturies from Australia
8 July 2007

This film has obviously gained a lot of attention since Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume One and Volume 2 came out. I am not ashamed to admit I got interested in it after it being linked to Kill Bill, but then again, I hadn't heard of it until a while after the Kill Bill movies came out, and I thought it sounded like something I'd be interested in, my kind of movie. And it definitely is.

Let's get it out there in the open: this film is really silly. It has those great seventies Kung Fu noises when someone jumps up in the air unlike any human could, as well as noises when someone shoves a sword into the enemy. But because it's silly don't jump to the conclusion that there isn't a point to watching it. Sure it's just entertainment. But the story is one of the best I've ever witnessed, and not because of the blood and guts.

The story is of course about revenge, but the revenge spawns from a woman who gives birth to a daughter and swears that the daughter must be an instrument of revenge on those that messed with her mother. (A silly premise, but here's where it becomes cool). Meiko Kaji who plays Lady Snowblood, also known as Yuki, doesn't spend the movie wrapped in evil and revenge with anger on her face. There's genuine hurt in her performance. It is actually extremely sad that all she is is an instrument of revenge and death, but that's what weighs the film down into some sort of believability.

The sets are standard Japanese action sort of sets but they have that certain charm about them that's easy on the eyes, it locks the film into this particular recognizable genre but still stands on its own two feet as a film. Also another standard in this genre is freeze frames. Usually I like to comment on shots that continue movement but a certain frame, frozen or still moving, is my favourite of a film. Now, one freeze frame (if memory serves me correctly, the only one), of the baddie coming up some stairs, that may be the second Shurayukihime (apologies if it is) and one side of her face is visible in the freeze frame to alert the audience of this woman's arrival. It is laughable in this but laughable for the right reasons: it isn't corny or annoying, but it's a genuine charm of this genre.

Many standards of this genre may stop you from watching this but watch it for the genuine heart-wrenching story of Yuki Kashima, also known as Shurayukihime, Lady Snowblood.

A genuine piece of cinematic gold that is also entertaining and worth a watch.

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Blood on Ice

8/10
Author: Meganeguard from Kansas
8 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Of all the films that Quentin Tarantino pays homage to in his Kill Bill films, Fujita's Lady Snowblood might have received the most because not do the Kill Bill films have screen shots almost taken directly from Lady Snowblood they also incorporate some of the music sung by Lady Snowblood's heroine Kaji Meiko. Like many other films from Japan during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Lady Snowblood was shot on a shoestring budget and at an incredibly fast pace. However, unlike many of the films made during that time period Lady Snowblood remains popular because while its plot had been done many times before, including Suzuki Norifumi's Sex and Fury which was filmed the same year and whose background plot is almost identical to Lady Snowblood, it possesses a certain style that differentiates it from many other films from this time period namely that the heroine seems to be able to keep her clothes on throughout the entire film and that while it has lots of blood and gore, another influence evident in Kill Bill, it is not too overdone. Also Kaji Meiko has quite a presence in front of the camera and her portrayal of the cool Yuki is almost perfect.

Penned by the creator of Lone Wolf and Cub and Hanzo the Razor Koike Kazuo, Lady Snowblood portrays the life of Yuki a young woman who was born to seek revenge for her mother whose husband was the scapegoat of a plot set up by for villains so they could extort money from a poor village. Forced to shack up with one of the murderers, Yuki's mom is able to kill him. However, while searching for the other three she is arrested and put in prison. In prison she sleeps with every man she can in order to get pregnant and eventually gives birth to Yuki and dies soon afterward. Trained by a stern priest in martial arts and swordplay the "child of the netherworld" Yuki begins her search for those who destroyed her family and her own life before she was even born.

While it may seem threadbare to many of today's film viewers, Lady Snowblood should be considered one of the finest examples of films of its genre. Definitely recommended for those who enjoy swordplay and blood in their films and also recommended to those who enjoy older Japanese films outside of the canonized films of Kurosawa, Ozu, and Mizoguchi, but it might not be for those with a weak stomach.

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Gore Mongral Movie Quickie: Lady Snowblood

9/10
Author: ChiefGoreMongral from Knoxville Cannibal Pygmy Reservation
28 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Howdy Partners!! Wez gots us here a review today about a movie far from the Wild West more like the Far East. It's got fights, guts, blood, and a story of vengeance...It's Lady Snowblood.

Not a horror film, but what i like to call "Samurai Splatter Cinema". Throughout the 70's Japan made several of these and most of them hold a place in my heart for the crazy upped ante and ballsy acts of on screen violence (severed arms, legs, decapitations, torsos) and the infamous spraying blood most recently in American Cinema seen in "Kill Bill". Smart observers pay attention to how a lot of this film was used to make the "Kill Bill" movies. Heck even one of the music sequences was ripped right from this movie.

Anyway in brief detail the movie is one of pure vengeance. Lady Snowblood is hardly introduced to the world and tragedy hits when her mother dies from childbirth. As the story progresses we discover that 4 people killed her father, little brother and raped her mother. Mom was able to kill one of these culprits but it is up to her little assassin Snowblood to kill the rest. Raised by a Samurai she is taught the ways of the Samurai and once old enough goes on her quest for revenge.

To say anymore would ruin the film as this is one of the finest revenge movies I've seen with a good story and some cool swordplay. If you are into Lone Wolf and Cub or the Shadow Warrior series from the 70's do yourself a favor and check this out. This movie is one that lives up to the hype.

9/10: Excellent film on many facets and one of the best Samurai films of the 70's.

Animego has done a very good job with there DVD release of this film as they have with all the Samurai Cinema releases they have put out. The subtitles are easy to read and do the movie justice. So hunt this down and enjoy every blood drenched second.

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Excellent revenge flick

Author: Micmataholyze from Freezing in Hell
12 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Why, it's Lady Snowblood. Oh yes, the one that influenced Kill Bill saga, particular volume 1. I have spent most of my times watching revenge flicks and Lady Snowblood is pretty great film in its rights. I would be lying if I just discovered it through exploring genre in Asian cinema but the main reason why I check it out because of hype from Kill Bill. Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed by what I had seen. It's little known film that would not have received if it's not for Kill Bill and the story goes like this: the girl whose was born to dying mother who make her vengeance child and exact revenge for mother.

It's pretty easy to see how much Lady Snowblood influenced Kill Bill, particular the training scenes. The priest was training the title character in pretty much same manner that Pei-Mei did with The Bride in Kill Bill vol. 2. Except that Lady Snowblood was only kid at that time and have to endure brutal training but she made it. One can appreciated this film on its own merits, which is pretty good and also, it can be seen as gender reversal role, considering that main character is female and defied every stereotypes in her culture. It's pretty amazing and it only makes me wondering how Tarantino came across this film.

I like the fighting sequences because they're cheesy and funny as hell. Every time, a character get killed, he spurt all blood over the place, which can be seen as homage in Kill Bill vol. 1. There's so much blood spill that you have to ask yourself if they're trying going over the top or for campy values. For example, Lady Snowblood got her revenge by killing one of the men that had raped her mother and he died in ocean but it's literally full of his blood and it's only from 1 or 2 stabs. I like to suspend my belief sometimes and I did that so I had lot of fun with it.

One thing that had me impressed is that Lady Snowblood is being told in chapter format, much like Kill Bill saga. Each chapter in Lady Snowblood had their own titles and split by the specific incident in the main character's life. It's being told very well and you can see why Tarantino lift that format for Kill Bill. It's pretty great stuff. I like the costumes and the actors but the production values are kind of so-so but one can get over it because it's well made film.

However, one thing I have problem with Lady Snowblood and it kind of annoying me throughout film. Cinematography. Since I considered cinematography to be significant part of films, Lady Snowblood had huge problems. There's always shaking camera throughout the film and I wonder if it's due to budget constraints. If so, then I will forgive that. I don't see why they don't just use dolly or crane to hold the camera in steady position instead of having cameraman running around wild with camera, which is bit problem for such viewers like me and some others. Also, the direction is bit dull at times and it can be stiff when it comes to pivotal scene like when Lady Snowblood in the ending of the film. It's tremendous challenge for me to accept Lady Snowblood on its own merits and eventually, I did because it's so well made revenge flick and it's unlikely that we would get this type of films again.

It's very good stuff and I would recommend this to anyone if they can get over such horrendous cinematography. And good music, too.

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Excellent Film Of Vengeance And Blood-Spray...

8/10
Author: EVOL666 from St. John's Abortion Clinic
7 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

LADY SNOWBLOOD is another excellent entry in the pinky-violence/samurai genre. This one has a notable lack of sex and nudity - but definitely delivers in the violence department. The sets, costumes and story-line are top-notch, and the film as a whole is a novel take on the rape/revenge exploitation genre also.

LADY SNOWBLOOD surrounds a young woman whose family is killed by a group of outlaws. She is raped by one of the gang members and dies giving birth to the daughter that is the product of her union with the rapist. On her deathbed, the mother swears that her newborn daughter's sole purpose of existence will be to seek revenge for the death of her family - and so LADY SNOWBLOOD is "born"...

LADY SNOWBLOOD has all the beautiful sets, elaborate costumes, excellent performances, and high production values that films of this genre and era became known for. My only "suggestion" would have been to throw in some gratuitous sex and nudity that is more typical of the pinky films, and then LADY SNOWBLOOD would have been damn-near perfect. Even without the tits-and-ass, the film is VERY well done, packed with vengeance, love, hate, betrayal and some serious blood-squirting fun. Highly recommended - especially to fans of other genre favorites such as the BABYCART series, the ZATOICHI films, SEX AND FURY, etc... 8.5/10

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