Shadow Warriors (TV series)

Shadow Warriors (影の軍団, Kage no Gundan, lit. "Army of Shadows") is a Japanese television jidaigeki show featuring Sonny Chiba that ran for four seasons in the early 1980s. The first season was a reimagining of the film Kage no Gundan: Hattori Hanzō which was released on February 23, 1980.

Kage no Gundan
Also known as影の軍団
GenreJidaigeki
Ninja
Directed byKinji Fukasaku
Eiichi Kudo
StarringSonny Chiba
Etsuko Shihomi
Hiroyuki Sanada
So Yamamura
Kirin Kiki
Jyunichi Haruta
Teruhiko Saigō
Shôhei Hino
Kantarō Suga
Renji Ishibashi
Kaho Shimada
Mikio Narita
Narrated byAsao Koike (1-2)
Isao Hashizume (3)
Akira Kume (4-5)
Theme music composerShigeki Watanabe
Ending theme"G no Inori" by Nobuyasu Okabayashi (Series 1)
Country of originJapan
Original language(s)Japanese
No. of series5
No. of episodes119
Production
Running time46 minutes (per episode)
Production company(s)Kansai Telecasting Corporation, Toei Company
Release
Original networkFuji TV
Kansai Telecasting Corporation
Picture formatFilm
Original releaseApril 1, 1980 
December 30, 1985
External links
Website

Chiba played different ninja characters in each series. In the first series he played Hattori Hanzō III, in the second he played Tsuge Shinpachi, in the third he played Tarao Hanzō, and in the fourth series and in Bakumatsu Hen he played Hattori Hanzō XV. In the 2003 direct-to-DVD series Shin Kage no Gundan (New Shadow Warriors) he played Hattori Hanzō I.

Seasons

  • Hattori Hanzō: Kage no Gundan (1980) - 27 episodes
  • Kage no Gundan II (1981 - 1982) - 26 episodes
  • Kage no Gundan III (1982) - 26 episodes
  • Kage no Gundan IV (1985) - 27 episodes
  • Kage no Gundan Bakumatsu Hen (1985) - 13 episodes
  • Shin Kage no Gundan (2003 - 2005) - 6 direct to video episodes (not part of the TV series)

DVD release

The complete first season of the show was released on April 17, 2007 on Region 1 DVD by BCI Home Entertainment.[1]

In other media

Chiba reprised the Hattori Hanzō character for Kill Bill. Quentin Tarantino stated in the supplementary material on the Kill Bill DVD that the character was named in tribute to Chiba's former role as Hattori Hanzō (the historical 16th-century Iga ninja) in Shadow Warriors (Kage no Gundan). The joke is that Chiba played multiple generations of the character: when the character died, the next installment would shift to covering his descendant, also named Hanzō after his famous predecessor. The implication is that the character in Kill Bill, whom Tarantino called Hattori Hanzō XIV, is another descendant of the same lineage. Chiba's daughter Juri Manase also appears in Kill Bill as a member of the Crazy 88.

Cast

Hattori Hanzō: Kage no Gundan (Season1)

Kage no Gundan II (Season2)

Kage no Gundan III (Season3)

Kage no Gundan IV (Season4)

Kage no Gundan Bakumatsu Hen (Season5)


References

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