Shinobi (2005)

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Released 16-Aug-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Visual FX of Shinobi and Explaination, Weapons of Shinobi
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Set Design And Construction
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Azumi 2, Aragami,
Game-Shinobido Ps2 Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 97:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ten Shimoyama
Madman Entertainment
Starring Yukie Nakama
Jô Odagiri
Tomoka Kurotani
Erika Sawajiri
Kippei Shiina
Takeshi Masu
Mitsuki Koga
Tak Sakaguchi
Houka Kinoshita
Shun Ito
Minoru Terada
Masaki Nishina
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Tarô Iwashiro

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 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

    I was in Japan last year when I saw a poster for Shinobi. Having a vague idea of the popular manga Basilisk (the source material for the film),  I asked my friend if he had seen the film. His reply was something along the lines that he was not interested in a 'ninja romance movie'. Unfortunately, it's not really either.

    In an attempt to make an emotion filled film where the feud between Koga Ninja clan and the Iga Ninja clan prevents young love from flourishing, the result is a disappointingly flat film that could've been much, much better. Fans wanting a ninja film will find that action takes a backseat to drama and filmgoers drawn to the film for the interesting ninja meets Romeo and Juliet premise will find that we don't really make an emotional connection to the main players.

    The film tells the story of Gennosuke from the Koga Clan and Oboro from Iga Clan. Their respective clans are traditional sworn enemies but have an uneasy truce by order of the Shogun. The Shogun's advisors are threatened by the powerful clans and convince him to end the truce so that the clans can destroy each other and diminish the threat they place on the Shogun's reign. This news causes havoc for the young lovers who end up leading their clans to battle the other. Oboro seems able to put her feelings aside and like a true Japanese trooper bows to the duty placed upon her. Gennosuke, on the other hand, refuses the call and seeks to get the truce re-enacted by the Shogun.

    The cast are first rate. Gennosuke is played by a solid Jo Odagiri and Oboro is played by the stunning Yukie Nakama. Their romantic scenes are a little stilted, but the two make the most of the situation with the rest of their scenes.

    Whilst the production values were certainly better than some other recent Japanese films, a lot of the effects were pretty cheap and distracting. The film was aiming high and to a degree it succeeds, but it certainly never reaches the class of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or some other recent Chinese competition. It is not the breakout, international hit that Japanese cinema needs. It's a shame because the premise had so much potential.

    Don't expect too much and you'll have a fun night in, but you'll soon forget what it was all about.

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Transfer Quality


    This film is presented in PAL, at the ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The film looks superb. For the most part the picture comes across clear and is quite impressive.

    Most of the film is set outdoors and the colours look vivid. The lush greens of the forest and the blues of the water and sky all make the screen come alive and make you wish you could reach out and touch it.

    Skin tones look realistic.

    The only complaint I can make is that shadows are not great. Black levels are a little murky and there are quite a few scenes that get lost in the dark.

    There are no signs of edge enhancement or other transfer problems.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio is an impressive Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) track.

    The dialogue comes through sounding clear at all times.

    Their are no synch or other audio issues.

    The soundtrack was beautiful and the music came through sounding great.

    Your surround speakers will get a workout. There's waterfalls, swirling fighters, darting arrows, mystical ninja effects and plenty of other directional sounds that add a lot to the excitement of the battles.

    The sub woofer track is pretty busy with plenty of floorboard shaking moments.

    English subtitles are available, and seemed pretty accurate to me in a bright yellow font that was easy to read.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation 


Visual FX of Shinobi (41:13) 

    Interesting, but overly long. I'm not used to having sub-titles for featurettes so it got old fast. Sometimes the sub-titles were on top of Japanese characters labelling what was on screen so that was really distracting. This showed CG and previz shots, so nothing really new.

Visual FX Explanation (4:38)

    On set footage. Not sure why this is not in the previous featurette as it is covering the same ground.

Weapons of Shinobi (8:53)

    Explains all of the ninja powers and weapons. A bit of ninja heritage from so called experts.

Set Design And Construction (8:45)

    Standard behind the scenes look at set building on location.

Storyboards (38:12)

    Showed the storyboards of various scenes as the actual scene from the movie was playing. It's amazing how close the manga like storyboard came to the final cut of the film.


    Teaser, Theatrical and TV spots

Character Gallery 

    Description of key characters


    Pictures from the film

Trailers - Azumi 2, Aragami

Game Trailer - Shinobido PS2 Trailer

R4 vs R1

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

    There is no R1 release yet so R4 wins. The Japanese R2 release has a 1 disc release with no special features or a whopping four disc release. Our R4 release seems to take some of the extras from the Japanese 4 disc release. That box set is insanely expensive and in my opinion a 4 disc set is overkill for this film so R4 wins.


    Overall, the film is decent but had the potential to be much better.

    The video is great.

    The audio is impressive and makes it feel like you are right in the middle of the action.

    The special features are good, but some featurettes are way too long.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

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