Directed by Masato Tanno
Screenplay by Sakichi Sato
Based on the manga by Hideo Yamamoto
Cast: Nao Omori, TEAH & Kôji Chihara
2003/83 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 2.0
1.85:1 anamorphic/Japanese/Japan/NTSC Region 0
Based on the original manga, 1-ICHI is a prequel to Takashi Miike's ICHI THE KILLER and a film on its own. Nao Omori reprise the role of Ichi, who we follow during his high school years. Mr. Dai (played by TEACH... best known as Mario from CITY OF LOST SOULS) is the best fighter in school... whenever he fights Ichi is there and has a huge smile on his face. Mr. Dai thinks that Ichi is laughing at him but in fact he enjoys watching the violence that goes through the fights.
Everyone is bullying, taunting and making fun of Ichi... even little kids from his karate class. Yet Ichi refuses to let go of his anger and fight others. Just when Mr. Dai is about to get Ichi, a new transfer student (Kôji Chihara) starts to make his own laws... by beating up everyone and breaking their bones!
In a fight with the new student, Mr. Dai ends up on the ground, beaten and broked up from almost everywhere. It seems like this new guy wants to fight Ichi because supposedly he is the only one that could give him some challenge (remiscent of Kakihara from ICHI THE KILLER).
In the end, Ichi starts to cry, gets an erection... we all know what's going to happen from there don't we?!
Masato Tanno has worked many times as second unit director for Takashi Miike. He brings his own vision of the Ichi manga onscreen. We can clearly see that he had nowhere the budget or time that Miike had but still delivered a very good film. The ending also ties things nicely with Miike's film.
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image is anamorphic, the colors are a little bland from time to time but still looks good. My guess is that this was shot on DV so that's why the colors aren't as bright as on film. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track sounds good, we can almost feel the punches, kicks and bone crushing! We get easy to read and removable English subtitles. There's a very interesting 15 minutes interview with Takashi Miike and Masato Tanno who seems to be good friend and really big 'Ichi' fans. There's also a very cool trailer, the film is separated in 16 chapters, there's no inlay card or booklet, comes in a keep case and the menus are static but looks good. Please take note that this isn't an official release.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©