Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins - an excellent remake of the same-titled movie from the 60's - was shortened for its international release. While half of the scemes probably were only cut out to make the movie a little shorter, there are also other cuts which were probably made for a different reason. In principle, the movie tries to be realistic and serious, however, those viewers who have some knowledge about Japanese mythology will find hints at a supernatural element. Koyata - the hunter who freed the samurai from the trap in the forest - has several quirks which hint at the fact that he might be a demon and not a human being. Many of these scenes were cut out of the international version; not all of them, but enough of them so that the audience does not get too confused. Not only does the Japanese version give a better insight to Naritsugu, but it also gets clear that the samurai do not only destroy the village by assaulting Naritsugu, but they really seem to suffer for it.
Most - but not all - of the scenes that were cut out can be found on numerous DVDs/Blu-Ray-Discs (e.g. on the German relese) as a part of the bonus material. Curiously enough they also included a few scenes in the bonus material, which were not even shortened. Since the Japanese version definitively is the better choice it's too bad that the Japanese DVD - as most of the Japanese releases - does not include English subtitles.
The international version misses out on 40 scenes with an overall runtime of 16:21 minutes (15:42 minutes if you convert the Japanese version to 25fps).
The international version shows an additional logo at the beginning of the movie.
IF + 8.5s
The international title.
Shinzaemon Shimada is shown a little longer while he fishes.
The Japanese title.
After Toshitsura explained to Doi Shinzaemon that Shinzaemon has to do something about Naritsugu and he accepts the order, you don't see Doi dismissing Shinzaemon from all of his former administrative bodies.
Naritsugu - the momentary Shogun's brother - shoots arrows at a disgraced family. He also kills the kids, even though the council of elders told Doi not to touch any of the families. When Hanbei - Naritsugu's first samurai - makes him aware of this fact, he starts to philosophize about his deeds. This is not shown in the international version.
Naritsugu says that Doi omitted punishing the lunatic even though he tought about it for three days. He then thinks about what it would be like if they would cut his head off. In the end he says that the Tokugawa-regime won't endure too long anymore.
Hanbei replies that the ruler shouldn't say something this outrageous.
19:55 A short cut to Hanbei.6.5s
Saheita Kuranaga - one of the regime's inspectors and also one of the 13 samurai - introduces himself to Kujoro (the ronin who wants to join the group) as an old friend of Shimada.
27:26 - 28.12
5 short scenes with Shinrokuro Shimada - Shinzaemon's nephew - inside the gambling den. These scenes clarify a little better that Shinrokuro is related to an important government official. Additionally, we see a suspicious man who atches Shinrokuro for a while and then leaves the room.
7s + 7s + 2s + 5s + 15s = 36s
Shinrokuro is on his way home when suddenly 5 thieves block his way. The man who watched him in the gambling den is one of them. Shinrokuro beats them up and breaks some bones in the process. When the man from the gambling den suddenly begs for his life, Shinrokuro languidly throws some money at him and leaves.
Hanbei leaves the infantry soldiers behind. he thinks that they would only be a burden once Shinzaemon attacked. The infantry is unhappy about this decision since they won't see their home too soon. This is a hint at the fact that not all parts of the army are ready for action during the peaceful times which disturb Naritsugu. Even some of the 13 samurai never killed a man.
Now we see Naritsugu having dinner. At first he eats normally and civilized, using chopsticks. Then he shortly hesitates, drops the chopsticks and starts to mix the food from the different bowls together. Then he bends forward and eats the food like an animal would eat from a feeding bowl.
44:36 A short shot of the map of the region; you get an explanation of the different areas.11.5s
The group plays through the different scenarios which way Naritsugu could go if the direct way is blocked. Shinzaemon assumes that Naritsugu will cross the Naegi-fiefdom since he has to pay the local ruler a visit.
Shinzaemon explains that the village where they will fight the battle has 75 houses and estimates every house to be worth 50 Ryo. Gunjiro is supposed to buy the whole village so that the villagers won't have to suffer its destruction.
Gunjiro walks off. It's going to be the biggest purchase of his live.
47:18 Gunjiro and Yasokichi ride towards the village a little longer. 3.5s
The main group rests. Shinrokuro wishes to have a bath. Another one rather wants to have a woman.
50:25 - 55:54A shot of Shinzaemon after the battle as well as 2 short shots of the way through the forest. 7s + 1s + 1s
Hanbei decides not to rest in the Naegi-fiefdom (see 45:01).
Koyata - who was freed from the trap in the forest by the samurai - lead them back to the way safely. Shinzaemon wants to pay him to thank him. However, Koyata rather wants to join them in the battle. After a short discussion he is allowed to join in. Then, two of the group hit him on the back of his head so that he would pass out and they could move on whithout him. Strangely enough, the hits don't do anything, so he's allowed to come with them. This is a first hint at his possible immortality.
The village elder welcomes the samurai and thanks them for the money. He thinks that they now could destroy the village and it wouldn't really matter. If they would pay a little more he says that he could offer them the prettiest girls from the village for the night. This statement makes Kujuro furious. The hunter from the forest (Koyata) is actually interested in the offer.
During the night begore the battle, Koyata sits on a scaffold and says "Upashi" which is the name of his wife. Then follows a short flashback where you see her at the river. Then we see Koyata on the scaffold again. The international version does not show the first shot of Koyata and instead immediately shows Upashi. Koyata's mentioning of her name was postponed to the scene of her at the river. The cut itself seems to be a little odd. Upashi apparently eats her own fetus at the riverbank, a method which in Japanese mythology hints at the fact that she might be a demon; thus, they could probably have cut this scene out along with all the other supernatural scenes. Apparently, they wanted to keep the fact that Koyata is married in the movie; the producers probably hoped that not too many people might know what the scene is supposed to mean.
Koyata takes the village elder's offer. He has sex with several women and is pretty hard on them, too. A few women lie in front of he house (obviously out of breath) when finally the last woman runs out of the house (having terrible pain between her legs); she collapses in front of the house. The village elder tries to have some damage limitation and prevents Koyata from taking one of the girls back inside which already collapsed in front of the house. The village elder says that she's already half dead. Koyata should have mercy. Then he notices Koyata's huge penis and looks at it in awe. Since Koyata had all the women in the village already, there's only one way to finally satisfy him. The village elder makes himself available. Koyata's virility and his huge penis are another hint at the fact that he's a demon.
83:33 - 84:53
Short moments of the final battle. Nothing too relevant. There's one image for each cut.
4.5s + 1.5s + 2.5s + 5.5s
One of the samurai desperately fights some of Naritsugu's soldiers. He bolts several times and then staggers around.
Some more tumult of the battle with Kujuro and another guy. Most of this is happening in a dark room.
96:56 - 97:06
Two cuts when the heavily injured samurai lies around in the corner and watches his colleague fighting for survival.
1s + 3s
One of the samurai is killed by Hanbei. Another one kills three enemies before dying.
Shinrokuro - Shinzaemon's (the 13 assasins' leader) nephew - is the last survivor of the battle besides Koyata. In the Japanese version you see him a little longer alking through the demolished city when suddenly an enemy gets up and hits him. However, this doesn't really do anything and Shinrokuro is able to kill him immediately.
Now follows the shortest cut of the movie. The international version fades out 9 frames before the actual ending of the move so that you don't see Shinrokuro's face after the battle as obviously as you do in the Japanese version.
115:48 During the second title card the international version misses out on one line. Unfortunately we can't tell you what it says. No difference in time.
After the title cards there's a short scene of Shinrokuro's wife seeing her husband return.