Unboxed: Japanese ‘Kill Bill’ DVDs

A recent poll we ran a couple weeks ago about discs in collectible packaging got me to thinking about the many elaborate DVD, Blu-ray and even Laserdisc box sets that I’ve bought over the years (imported from other countries in many cases) that are currently collecting dust in my home theater room. I figure that this would be a good opportunity to pull some of them off the shelf and take another look inside. For our first post in the “Unboxed” series, let’s open up the ‘Kill Bill’ DVD box sets from Japan.

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ movies are distributed in Japan by Universal. (Buena Vista has the North American rights.) The Japanese ‘Kill Bill, Vol. 1’ DVD contains the international cut of the film with the full-color, slightly more violent “House of Blue Leaves” fight scene. The ‘Vol. 2’ DVD has also been bizarrely extended for a few extra seconds of pointless establishing shots during one scene. Universal released both movies in standard DVD keepcases, or in these fancy box sets.

Here’s a look at the ‘Vol. 1’ box set with the original obi strip attached. The obi is a strip of paper with product details that wraps around the item being sold. Many buyers throw these away, but some collectors consider them important to save. Sadly, I wound up tearing the ‘Vol. 2’ obi when I tried to put it back on the box.

Here’s a shot of the box set artwork when you remove the plastic slipcovers:

The ‘Vol. 1’ box set has a neat feature on the back. When you pull up the slipcover, it appears to unsheathe the sword beneath from its scabbard.

Here are the DVD and some of the contents from the ‘Vol. 1’ box:

Vol. 1 comes with a Bearbrick figure (called the “Murder Bride,” recommended for ages 14 and up!) and a miniature sword playset. Unfortunately, the bear can’t hold the sword.

The T-shirt in the box set is based on one that The Bride wears briefly in ‘Vol. 1’. It’s a Japanese size Large, which probably equates to about an American Medium.

Here are some of the contents of the ‘Vol. 2’ box:

‘Vol. 2’ comes with a different Bearbrick, a coffin to bury it alive in, and a Pai Mei keychain.

It also has a selection of character bio cards.

The ‘Vol. 2’ T-shirt is a Japanese Medium, which is more like an American Small.

I don’t honestly remember whether this goofy DVD “Rider Suit” jacket came with the Japanese box set or if I obtained it separately. I believe it was a retailer exclusive, but I could be misremembering that. It will squeeze into the ‘Vol. 1’ box set, in any case.

I’m glad that I took the time to do this. I haven’t looked inside these box sets in ages. I hope you enjoyed it too.

11 comments

  1. That was cool! Do you have the laserdisc boxed set of Fantasia that came out in the early 90s? As a boxed set, its pretty lacking by today’s standards, but I like displaying it mainly for the conversations it kick-starts.

    Thanks for explaining what an “obi” was. I got a few japanese laserdisc, and they have that on them.

    I got a question, not really sure if you know the answer, but I am going to ask it anyways. Is there any reason why movies and CDs just cost so much more in Japan than the US? Surely the Yen isn’t that much stronger. Like, I got Oh My Goddess on Laserdisc. I wasn’t paying attention and bought one Japanese disc, and one US disc. The US disc has three episodes (one side CAV, the other side, oh what is it, CLV, right?), whereas the Japanese disc only has one episode on it. Yet the Japanese disc sold for three times as much when it was new as the US disc. I also tried to import a Japanese series on Blu-ray recently. They had all 28 episodes, and I was about to check out until I saw that it translated to $180, and that was on several different sites, including Amazon.co.jp! A 28 episode series from Funimation I can pick up for around $30-$35 from Amazon. (I just pulled up the series again on Amazon.co.jp, and I don’t see the Blu-Ray of it (the English site isn’t that great), but the entire series on DVD is $41 right now, so maybe it was a bad conversion rate that I was getting earlier, but I am still thinking it was 15,000 yen earlier for the Blu-Ray last time I looked – the DVD right now is going for 3214 yen right now). Any insight would be appreciated, as well as places that I might be able to get discounts.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I don’t have Fantasia, but I do have several other Disney LD box sets, including a nice Japanese edition of Aladdin.

      Media in Japan has always been more expensive than here. I don’t know that it’s necessarily tied to conversion rates. I think it’s more to do with what the market will bear, and people in Japan are simply used to paying more for these things. But I’m not an economist, so I don’t know the exact reason.

      • I would love to see Aladdin! I just have a CAV of it, didn’t realize there was a boxed set! I wonder if there is one for Beauty and the Beast. I have the WIP version of it on Laserdisc, but I would be shocked if there wasn’t a collectors edition of it somewhere.

  2. Gotta say, I’m quite jealous and may have to hop over to eBay to see if I can find one of those sets. Definitely makes me think twice on pulling the trigger on each of those movies, which are on sale at Best Buy this week for $6.99 each. Great price for a Blu-Ray of a quality flick, but still….. kinda weak after seeing such great packaging!

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