Samurai Pizza Cats (1990)

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Released 16-Oct-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Trailer-x 4 for other Madman anime
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 526:03
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Terrence Scammel
Rick Jones
Dean Hagapian
Sonja Ball
Pauline Little
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Shuki Levy
Haim Saban


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Samurai Pizza Cats began life on Japanese TV between February 1990 and February 1991 as Kyatto-Ninden Teyandee (or Legendary Ninja Cats) and ran for 54 episodes. When the show arrived in the US for dubbing the original Japanese scripts, depending upon which version of the story you like, were either were not available, were withheld or were thought to be of low standard so the scripts for the English dub were altered substantially with character names changed and plenty of American jokes and cultural references added; the resultant Samurai Pizza Cats was not aired in the US until 1996. So in effect there are two different versions of the series. The Japanese version Kyatto-Ninden Teyandee has been released on DVD in the US, but will not be released here in Australia, at least by Madman. This Region 4 DVD Samurai Pizza Cats – Collection 1 contains the English dub version of episodes 1-26 on four DVDs.

     Samurai Pizza Cats follows the adventures of three cats who work in a Pizza Parlour in Little Tokyo, Speedy Cerviche, Guido Anchovy and Polly Esther but who, led by Big Al Dente and with a little help from some friends, foil the nasty schemes of The Big Cheese and his henchmen Bad Bird, Jerry Atric and the evil Crow Ninjas. Each episode usually involves the boys competing for the attentions of the delectable Lucille and the team facing some sort of monster robot so many of the plots are quite repetitive. However, the show has a funny voice-over narration and is full of puns and in jokes; titles of episodes include “Stop Dragon My Cat Around” and “If You Know Sushi Like I know Sushi” which gives an idea of the show’s humour. The show’s narration and dialogue also frequently make mention that they are only characters in a cartoon, and there are references to political, cultural and sporting US personalities. I do not remember seeing this cartoon in Australia, but apparently it aired on Channel 7.

     Samurai Pizza Cats falls squarely into the cult category. Those who enjoyed the series on TV will be happy to have the collection and those who were keen on Ninja Turtles will enjoy it but I think modern kids may find the animation somewhat basic. In any case, the wit in the narration and dialogue means that adults will find something to enjoy.

     This is a four DVD set with episodes 1-7 on disc 1, episodes 8-14 on disc 2, episodes 15-20 on disc 3 and episodes 21-26, plus trailers, on disc 4. Each episode is approximately 20 minutes, but as this includes the lengthy opening song (I imagine the Japanese credits have been removed), closing credits, the Samurai Pizza Cats Fan Club Oath and often a preview of the next episode, the contents of each episode are slight.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Samurai Pizza Cats is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original broadcast ratio, and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

     This is amine from 1990 and it looks it, with lots of static backgrounds and unmoving characters. The drawings are sharp enough, although there are some contrast variations and a bit of haziness. However, the colours are deep and vibrant. I saw some slight flecks and the occasional hair on the print, there is grain and some aliasing, but on the whole the series looks good and there is nothing to spoil one’s enjoyment.

     With a rewritten script and animation who worries about voice synchronisation; it is very approximate.

     There are no subtitles.

     The layer change on disc 2 at 78:28 resulted in a slight pause. The other layer changes were not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio choice is English Dolby 2.0 mono at 224 Kbps.

    The audio is very basic. Dialogue can be soft and hard to hear on occasion, and effects are as flat as one might expect of 30 year old anime. Obviously there is no surround or sub-woofer use.

     The original music (for the US version) by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban is very much part of the show but is a bit repetitive.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The only extras are these trailers on Disc 4.

Trailers

     Trailers for other anime releases: Digimon: Digital Monsters (1999) Collection 1 (1:15), Digimon: Digital Monsters 02 (2000) Season 2 Collection 1 (1:12), K-On! The Movie (1:32) and Patlabor – The Mobile Police OVA Series 1 The Early Days Collection (1:46).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are Region 1 US NTSC releases of both Kyatto-Ninden Teyandee and Samurai Pizza Cats containing all the episodes. There is not currently a Region 2 UK release of any sort.

     If you want the full collection in one set, or the Japanese original, the Region 1 is the way to go. However, Samurai Pizza Cats – Collection 2 is also currently available in Australia from Madman so the full set of episodes is available.

Summary

     Fans of Samurai Pizza Cats will be pleased it has made its way to DVD. For those who are not familiar with the show the contents of each episode are somewhat repetitive but the show is entertaining as it has a funny voice-over narration and is full of puns and in jokes.

     The video and audio are as one would expect and are without issues. Extras are only trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, February 17, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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