Ninja Scroll (1994)

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Released 10-Oct-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio
Notes-A Guide To Ninja Scroll
Trailer-2
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 90:28 (Case: 94)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,4 Directed By Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $29.95 Music Kaoru Wada


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Ninja Scroll opens in the village of Shimoda, where all the people have died from a suspected epidemic. A Koga Ninja team is sent to the village to investigate. While on the way to Shimoda, the Koga Ninjas are attacked by a stone creature wielding a boomerang-sword - Tessai. Kagero, a female Ninja is the only survivor.

    Tessai captures Kagero and takes her back to his dwelling, where he starts to have his way with her, but a stranger appears (Jubei) and asks for directions to the town of Kakio. Tessai is irritated by Jubei and attempts to kill him, but Jubei and Kagero manage to escape. At a later stage, Jubei's and Tessai's paths cross again, but this time Jubei manages to kill Tessai.

    Dakuan, a surprisingly agile and resourceful old man, saves Jubei when he is attacked by Benisato (the sorceress of snakes). Dakuan explains that Tessai and Benisato are members of the Eight Devils of Kimon, a group of Ninjas who work for the Shogun of the Dark. Dakuan warns Jubei that the rest of the Devils will be looking for him to avenge the death of Tessai. Dakuan offers Jubei a hundred pieces of gold to find out what the Kimon Devils are doing in the Fief of Machizuki. At first, Jubei refuses Dakuan's offer of employment, but after he finds out that the old man has poisoned him and he only has a day and a night to live without an antidote, he agrees. Dakuan promises to give Jubei the antidote after he has helped him.

    Dakuan and Jubei start their search for the Devils of Kimon. Kagero arrives just in time to save Jubei from another attack from Benisato. Dakuan asks Kagero to join the team and the trio soon discovers that the villagers of Shimoda were not killed by an epidemic, but by Devils of Kimon who had poisoned the well water.

    The are many fights and adventures to come as the team battles the Devils of Kimon.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture sharpness and detail is pretty good. Unfortunately, the picture suffers from the occasional line drop-out, some very noticeable and distracting edge enhancement, some minor interlacing artefacts, and some edge rippling which is most noticeable on strongly-contrasted still objects like white writing. A great example of this annoying edge enhancement can be found during the opening scene on the bridge - just look at the edge of any object. When you consider all of these artefacts in combination, we can only come to the rather disappointing conclusion that this transfer was created from an analogue tape source.

    The colour is very good, with good even saturation throughout.

    Some trivial pixelization was noticed on a couple of occasions, but it was never anything to worry about.

    No MPEG artefacts or aliasing was noticed. As previously mentioned, there are several single line dropouts throughout the film. The most noticeable of these are at 5:51 and 61:11. No film artefacts were seen, which is not surprising since this transfer was not taken from film.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks on this disc, an English 448kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a Japanese 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I listened to the default English soundtrack at 4dB less than my normal reference level as this is a relatively loud soundtrack.

    The dialogue was extremely clear and easy to understand throughout the entire movie. No distortion, clicks, pops or dropouts were heard. Since the original movie was in Japanese and then later dubbed into English, the lip sync is not something we have to worry about, since it is never correct.

    Kaoru Wada's musical score adds to the on-screen action nicely.

    The surround channel use is extremely aggressive. In fact, it is a little too aggressive in some instances, as some of the foreground sounds start to sound like they are coming from behind, but this probably being a little too picky. This aggressive surround channel use creates a totally enveloping sound field during the action-oriented sequences, which there are plenty of.

    The subwoofer is almost continually being used to subtly add bass to the soundtrack. It underscores the music and is quite active during many of the fight sequences. This further enhances the kicks and blows that the on-screen characters are delivering.

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

Extras

     The extras consist of Theatrical Trailers and advertising for other titles as well as some good information on the characters of Ninja Scroll and a plot synopsis.

Menu

    The menus are presented in 1.33:1, with theme music on the main menu. We also get the animated Manga logo before the main menu appears and after you select 'Play the Movie'. The Main Menu selections are; Play the Movie, Chapters (24), Language Selection and Additional Materials.

    The Chapter Selection menu is beautifully laid out and has an index.

A Guide to Ninja Scroll

    The Guide to Ninja Scroll contains a plot synopsis and a single page of information on each of the following characters; Jubei, Kagero, Dakuan, Lord Gemma, Tessai, Yurimaru, Benisato, Zakuro, Mushizo, Shijima and Utsutsu.

Manga Video Commercial (4:05 minutes)

    This features snippets from the following titles; Ninja Scroll, Perfect Blue, Sword for Truth, Street Fighter II V, Blackjack, Macross Plus, Shadow Skill, Rayearth, Vampire Wars, Fist of the North Star series, X, Devilman, Giant Robo, Psychic Wars, Red Hawk, The Guyver series and Ghost in the Shell. The picture quality is very good, presented in 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Manga Video Fan Club Trailer (4:01 minutes)

    This trailer is made up of still pictures of currently available titles. The picture quality is very good, presented in 1.33:1, with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Ninja Scroll Theatrical Trailer (4:25 minutes)

    The Ninja Scroll Theatrical Trailer is actually made up of two trailers, The Original and another. The first trailer is spoken in Japanese and the second has an English-speaking narrator. Again the picture quality is very good, presented in 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Looks like the R4 and R1 picture and sound quality are basically equal. The big problem with our disc is the 52 seconds of cut footage thanks to the BBFC in Region 2. The cut footage will not be missed by the first time viewer, but for those familiar with the film, you will certainly notice at least one of the three cuts. In an ideal world, we would have our own dedicated R4 R-rated version with the extra footage, but alas this is not the case. Until an uncut PAL version becomes available, the R1 disc is the better disc, especially for those who want to see the whole film.

Summary

    I enjoyed Ninja Scroll much more than I did Fist of the North Star because the gory scenes are at a much more palatable level - for my taste anyway. It is unsatisfactory that our R-rated version has missed out on 52 seconds of footage because of Region 2 film regulations, but I guess it's better than nothing (maybe).

    The picture quality is good, but since the transfer has been taken from an analogue tape source there are noticeable artefacts.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    There is a pretty reasonable selection of extras present.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Friday, October 20, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SV919THX
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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