I saw Ichi at an unreleased film festival at Lincoln Center in NYC last month. It is extroadinarily violent. Even if you don't take it seriously, or watch it on a comic book level, it is nearly impossible not to be emotionally unnerved on some level. It is an emotional pounding that goes on for over two hours that I would not hesitate to see more than 2 or 3 times. More brutal and savage than Battle Royale by far. You seem to have seen Dead or Alive as well, did you see it in the theater? It played in NY for a month or so, and I've been waiting to get a DVD of it. I understand the German disc has no English subtitles though, although the film is entertaining solely on a visceral level, so I'm not sure that comprehension of the dialogue is entirely a neccesity. I loved the opening and especially the incredible conclusion, but the middle left me cold (except for the hooker drowning in shit). Sort of the George Lucas way of thinking, he believed that you only need to entertain the audience for the first ten minutes and the last five and they'll remember it as a great experience. The rest is all padding. Note on Dead or Alive: Miike has admitted that the middle section is boring, he was going for a more realistic documentary style in that section. He also said that the script was based Michael Mann's "Heat," of all things. For everyone reading this post, there is a great new book out on unheralded Japanese cinema by Patrick Macias called Tokyo Scope. I culled the previous paragraph's info from that book. The book has a lot on all kinds of Japanese cinema, Yakuza, Horor, Porn, Godzilla stuff, a whole section deidcated to Fukasaku, and many interviews. I bought one at the Virgin Megastore after meeting the author at a local video store where he was reading from the book. He suggested seeing "Female Convict Scorpion," which I immedaitely rented. It is probably the best film I have seen since Battle Royale, last summer. Image put out a fairly good DVD, especially considering it was thought of as a C-movie. It is in fact a terrific criticism of patriarchal society, under the guise of women-in-prison flick. It is amazingly acted, written, directed, and shot. Oh, and I don't work for the publishing company, I was just impressed with the book.