Hey VN, It’s Ya BERFDAY!

Yes, indeedy! One year ago today, I posted the first content on Vintage Ninja. 200+ posts, hundreds of pictures and thousands of readers later, I’m pretty damn happy with where everything stands. I’m no web wizard, but the site is pretty functional and ¬†has a rather distinctive look. Mainly, though, I wanted the site itself to stay out of the way of the CONTENT.

The sharing of that content was not only the original inspiration for starting VN, but is the fuel that keep it going, and as more and more of you give me feedback, the rewards of the effort grow exponentially. When you web publish, you end up e-meeting all sorts of same minded folk you weren’t sure were out there at all, and it is great to know there’s a population out there who remember the 80′s craze and are rabidly discovering the 60′s media that led to it.

We’ll celebrate our one-year anniversary with a week-long look at the first movie featured on VN – Akai Kageboshi – the other ‘Red Shadow,’ first seen here in the form of decaying and discoloring press kit photos contemporary with its 1961/62 release. Click here to go back to those amazing photos and a more complete rundown of this terrific movie.

Ninja movies of the 50′s were largely centered on colorful wizards and swashbuckers, while the 60′s saw an explosion of grimmer fare based on credible martial arts and espionage techniques. Akai Kageboshi is a perfect bridge between those, with plenty of glamorous characters mixed with all sorts of great fights and daring ninja escapes. And there’s a kick-ass tournament thrown in there, too!

HASHIZO OKAWA plays the title character, the bastard son of two ninja entangled in a multi-generational conflict.

If there's one thing decidedly 50's about this movie, it's the lush, colorful costuming. Here, mother and son are disguised as a traveling magic act.

Mom is a kunoichi who blew an important mission decades before. She's now obsessed with completing that mission using her son as the muscle.

This tattoo is half of the puzzle leading to secrets that could topple the Shogunate. The other half of the key is contained in one of ten prized sword blades being awarded in a martial arts tournament. Her son must defeat each winner and steal their trophy sword - a plot structure guaranteeing a pile of awesome fights!

And does the kid ever have the wardrobe to pull the whole thing off!

Challenging as it is, the Red Shadow’s mission seems pretty straight forward. But throw in Hattori Hanzo – charged with his pursuit, Jubei Yagyu – a contestant in the tourney who isn’t about to give up his trophy to some masked punk, the crushing reveal of who his father is, and a chance meeting with a gorgeous spear-weilding deb who may turn out to be the love of his life, and things get real busy for our hero.

Tomorrow, a look at the tournament. Wednesday, some nifty ninjutsu. Thursday, a look at Hanzo’s grey-clad commando force. A nice week ahead with a great movie.

And, you can always buy it from Kurotokagi-gumi‘s ‘Ninja Collection.’

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Posted in Film and TV 4 years, 6 months ago at 8:47 am.

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