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