The story of ex-shogun executioner Ogami Ittō and his son Daigoro's epic travels were covered in an epic 28-volume comic series (reissued in the US via Dark Horse Comics) by Kazuo Koike and Illustrated by Goseki Kojima. Like each issue, the movies would typically end in a bloody skirmish that Ogami was trying to avoid, forcing him to move on to another town.
The six films include:
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972)
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972)
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973)
Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974)
There was also an American edit of the first two films released as Shogun Assassin (1980), which was famously sampled by the Wu-Tang Clan and featured in Kill Bill Volume 2.
Written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Kazuo Kamimura, the Lady Snowblood manga was adapted into a cult classic revenge movie about a deadly women who seeks revenge for the rape and murder of her family.
Like Shogun Assassin, this movie also had a deep influence on Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, especially the snowbound fight scene in Volume 1.
Faithfully based on "Riki-Oh" by Masahiko Takajo and Saruwatari Tetsuya, Lam Nai-choi's film version is as outrageous and cartoonishly violent as anything you've likely ever seen. It's perfect "crack-open-a-six-pack" viewing.
Highlights include a scene of a prison combatant using his own intestines to strangle the title hero, as well as a final big boss ground into a bloody slurry. Oh, and a scene where a prisoner literally obliterates another's head with his fists of fury. It's crazy.
Based on the manga series of the same name by Yoshiki Takaya, this creature feature produced by Brian Yuzna of Re-Animator fame has some gross-out make-up similarities to that 1985 Stuart Gordon classic.
The film follows a young man named Sean who, with the help of an alien device, is able to transform himself into an armored superhero. Mark Hamill co-stars as a CIA agent who undergoes a particularly gross transformation.
A major influence on dystopian YA series like The Hunger Games, this is based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Koushun Takami, which concurrently became a manga and an anime as well. In Japan they do not sit tight on their franchises!
Like Hunger Games it involves a government-sanctioned game where a bunch of students are forced to battle to the death, with only one left alive at the end.
Based on Hideo Yamamoto's manga series, this adaptation features an unforgettable performance by Tadanobu Asano as Kakihara, a sadistic mob enforcer that partly inspired Heath Ledger's take on The Joker.
Takashi Miike's ultraviolent vision of a yakuza gang war run amuck was so disturbing it was banned in several countries for its depictions of rape, murder and various unspeakable brutalities. So, if that's like, your thing...
Though it was badly remade by Spike Lee a decade later, director Park Chan-wook's adaptation of Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi highly-praised work has been hailed as one of the greatest Asian films ever made.
It concerns a man named Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) who is inexplicably kidnapped for 15 years only to be just as inexplicably released. Once out in the world again he begins a bloody path to revenge that, to say the least, does not end well.
Based on the brilliant "Death Note" manga and anime series by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, this labyrinthine thriller involves an extremely bright young teenage boy who is given a book where anyone whose name he writes inside dies. He uses these powers to become something of a godlike scourge of the underworld, but then winds up in the awkward position of helping to investigate his own crimes.
There will be an American update of this film coming next year through Netflix, featuring Nat Wolff and directed by horror maestro Adam Wingard.
The Wachowski Siblings concocted one of the most gleefully arty blockbusters of all-time with this literal live-action interpretation of a cartoon. Based (VERY faithfully) on the manga and famous cartoon series by Tatsuo Yoshida, it is a nonstop blitzkrieg of primary colors and high-speed thrills.
Unfortunately the visual audacity is undercut by an overlong and overly-complicated script that clearly needed a few more drafts before it was shot. Nevertheless this is a gorgeous film that rewards multiple viewings, even if you have to occasionally just skip chapters to the race scenes.
This epic two-part adaptation of Hajime Isayama's manga follows two childhood friends as they team up with the resistance that is banding together to take down the colossal giants that are attacking and murdering their people en-masse.
The effects are astounding, equal to (and possibly surpassing) the action sequences of a major hollywood blockbuster.