From the makers of Daimajin comes a trilogy of terror ripped from the pages of Japanese folklore, with ghosts and monsters from ancient myths and legends brought to life through stunning special effects, alongside an epic, big-budget reboot of the series from a modern-day master of the macabre, now available together on Blu-ray for the first time.
In the first film in the trilogy, 100 Monsters, a greedy slumlord’s attempts to forcefully evict his tenants invite the wrath of the titular spirits when a cleansing ritual is botched, with terrifying results. The second film, Spook Warfare, tells the tale of an evil Babylonian vampire inadvertently awoken by treasure hunters, and a brave samurai that teams with the yokai to defeat the bloodthirsty demon. In the final film, Along with Ghosts (released only 12 months after 100 Monsters), the yokai are roused to defend a young girl on the run from deadly yakuza.
Decades later, none other than Takashi Miike (Audition) helmed The Great Yokai War, a loose remake of Spook Warfare that used cutting-edge digital effects to renew the franchise for a new generation. In it, a young boy is given a grave responsibility: to band together with a group of yokai to defend humanity against a vengeful and powerful demon that has sworn retribution against modern-day Japan.
LIMITED EDITION BOXSET CONTENTS
DISC ONE – 100 MONSTERS
DISC TWO – SPOOK WARFARE / ALONG WITH GHOSTS
DISC THREE – THE GREAT YOKAI WAR
Production Year: 1968
Region Code: A
Running Time: 80 + 79 + 78 + 124 Total: 361 mins
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: 1.0 / 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 / 1.85:1
Retail price: $69.99
Release date: Oct 19, 2021
Pre-order in the UK via Arrow: https://bit.ly/3j2eHBk
Pre-order in the UK via Zavvi: https://bit.ly/2VhOarl
Pre-order in the UK via HMV: https://bit.ly/3rGMBQ1
Pre-order in the UK via Amazon: https://amzn.to/3iafd0G
Pre-order in the US via DiabolikDVD: https://bit.ly/3BXv3DF
Pre-order in the US via Grindhouse: https://bit.ly/2Vg0gBk
Pre-order in Canada via Unobstructed View: https://bit.ly/3ydxZtS
Special Thanks to Clint Weiler MVD Entertainment Group and Arrow Video US
The Daimajin series films were released over the course of 1966 by Daiei Film, each film was basically the same plot, involving villages being overthrown by warlords, leading to the villagers attempting to reach out to Daimajin, the great demon god, to save them, done by three different directors. The films have received a few releases on video the last being by Mill Creek Entertainment in 2012, Arrow's release takes things a step further by giving the set a deluxe look.
The packaging is very good, the set of the three films on separate Blu-rays plus a 100 page collectors booklet come in a sturdy cardboard stock case. The case features different Matt Frank art on both front and back, the top third of the case slides up to reveal a inner sleeve (second layer of cardboard stock) holding the contain within. The case has good and bad aspects, while not as elaborate as the Gamera set that Arrow also released, it does fit nicely with most video collections and does need to be stored separately. Inside the case you have the three films, each on separate Blu-rays in clear cases with each featuring a reversible cover sleeve with Matt Frank art on one side and movie poster art on the other. Each film also has a double sided postcard containing the same cover art, and there is a double sided poster containing the first films art as well, and this is where I find a slight issue, the same few pieces of art are used multiple times rather than have different artwork, it's not a big issue but still. Another issue I have is the poster as it is folded to fit within the Blu-ray case, understandable but still annoying if you want to display it. The booklet is actual pretty nice featuring new essays by Jonathan Clements, Keith Aiken, Ed Godziszewski, Raffael Coronelli, Erik Homenick, Robin Gatto and Kevin Derendorf, plus a ton of classic style Japanese art. The cover art of the book is Sumi-e style while the interior art is film like art, partly in color. The only issue with the booklet is size but this is a necessity due to the fact it needs to fit the case.
The films themselves are the meat of the collection and overall they are excellent, video quality is great both the quality of the print with little to no issues. The first film is near perfect clear and crisp with great color throughout, the other two films are nearly as good with only some very minor scratches on the print but they don't take away from the films. Sound quality is just as great balanced without any distortion, something of note of interest to fans, especially those that haven't seen these before, the music is by Akira Ifukube and has Frankenstein Conquers The World/War Of The Gargantuas vibe (at least to me). The extras are nice and there is new commentary for each film, as well as a number of other bonus items. There are those that may complain about the similar stories in each film but there are stories and these aren't strictly monster movies (Daimajin doesn't really show up till close to the films end), plus the attention to detail for the time period they take place in like the top-knot hair style of many of the men to some women having black teeth, which was a Japanese tradition known as Ohaguro, and was to signify a woman being married.
Overall the quality of the set is great, there are a few small issues but they don't take away from the set as a whole. If you don't have these films I definitely recommend getting this set, if you have a previous released copy I would still recommend it for the extras you get (note I did not compare the quality to the Mill Creek set which is the only other Blu-ray set but is on two discs and not three like this set).