The nascent cinematic style of Akira Kurosawa is evident in "Sanshiro Sugata" (1943), his first outing as director. A 19th-century jujitsu student is engrossed by the disciplines of judo, culminating in a heated engagement with his beloved's father. Susumu Fujita, Denjirô Êkôchi star. Blending dramatic realism and documentary, "The Most Beautiful" (1944) offers an account of a World War II-era female factory workers infused with a sense of patriotism. Takashi Shimura, Sôji Kiyokawa star. "Sanshiro Sugata, Part II" (1945) sets the hero (Fujita) of the original film against the siblings of his previous nemesis. With Êkôchi, Yukiko Todoroki. Based on a popular Kabuki play, Kurosawa's "The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail" (1945) follows a fugitive clan lord and his six loyal aides as they flee through medieval Japan to escape the wrath of the lord's brother, a vengeful shogun. Fujita, Hanshirô Iwai star. 5 hrs. total on four discs. Standard; Soundtrack: Japanese Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English. In Japanese with English subtitles.