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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai DVD cover is crap

So I’m back. School is done for another semester and I can actually get down to some reviews. Despite not blogging, I did manage to catch several action films theatrically during my school time, namely Die Hard, Eastern Condors, and Attack the Block!.

But holidays are still busy times, so let’s focus on something that caught my attention. the horrible cover of Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai by Mike Taxi Takashi Miike. Let’s take a peek.

UK Hara-Kiri DVD cover

At first glance, it’s a bit generic but I’m not expecting a Criterion or Masters of Cinema cover here. The lame age warnings on the cover are typical Region 2 DVD stuff that appears on everything from Goodfellas (Gangster violence!) to My Neighbor Totoro (Gangster catbus!). There’s some just some really odd decisions on this cover. Let’s examine the most obvious glaring problems.

Bad Compression DVD Hara-Kiri

Well, this is difficult. For those who have been collecting Asian films on DVD for a while this kind of bad quality is sometimes expected, but why is the sword such nice quality? Is it that hard to find a decent resolution screen capture from this film? or a promo photo? Let alone one that doesn’t have some splatter brush on the sword. Eau de photoshop is what I’d refer to this if I was critiquing work at school.

Photoshop dorkery aside, let’s get what’s wrong with this filmwise. Take a closer look to the bottom of the cover of this package.

Ken Watanabe Harakiri

That’s odd. I don’t recall Ken Watanabe being in this film. In fact, he seems to have kept his clothes from The Last Samurai.

Yep. Surprisingly, this isn’t even the worst offender on the cover. Look who we have in the left corner.

Toshiro Mifune Harakiri 2011

Now we have some serious problems. That’s Toshiro Mifune who starred in several of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai films. He’s dead. Did Takashi Miike use some stock footage of Toshiro and shove him into this film?

Regardless of these problems, I took two seconds and fixed this cover from total humiliation in just two seconds.

Fixed DVD Cover
Eh, no one cares about that Empire quote anyways

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9 Responses to Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai DVD cover is crap

  1. Martin says:

    That’s unbelievable A. exceptionally well spotted. It’s great to have you back, really missed your posts. Happy Holidays.

  2. Spencer says:

    How do I ‘like’ this on Facebook?

    • Mr G Content says:

      Humm. While you’ve clearly caught some glaring errors, I happen to work in the film industry and know from experience that even Directors as great as this often have trouble when meeting delivery deadlines on assets often as simple as film stills – hence the need to cobble together whatever you can from whatever is available. I would expect this artwork to be temporary and a product of necessity rather than finely finessed art. There are sometimes struggles which reach beyond even your vast knowledge of the world of film. I pray you are able to maintain your innocence for some years to come. Peace

      • E says:

        Lots of people (in the film industry or otherwise), have to work within tight deadlines and other peoples’ schedules, yet they manage to deliver products of higher quality than this cover.
        If this was such a widespread “struggle” within the film industry, there would be a lot more shitty-looking covers out there.

    • You can share it for now. A like feature will come around eventually.

  3. Yuho says:

    Good eye.
    That burning castle fortress looks like a lift from the final battle scene in Kurosawa’s 1985 ‘Ran’.

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