Love and Honor (Bushi no ichibun) (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 17-Oct-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Teaser Trailer-(2)
Theatrical Trailer-(1:43)
Gallery-10 Stills
Trailer-Zatoichi At Large; Rashomon; The Myth;Incident at Blood Pass
Reversible Cover
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 117:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (81:04) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yji Yamada
Studio
Distributor
Shochiku
Madman Entertainment
Starring Takuya Kimura
Rei Dan
Mitsugoro Bando
Takashi Sasano
Kaori Momoi
Nenji Kobayashi
Ken Ogata
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Isao Tomita


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese dts 5.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

Shinnojo Mimura (Takuya Kimura) is a clan squire, serving in the not-very-highly coveted position of poison taster. His doting wife, Kayo (Rei Dan), is regarded as the most beautiful woman in the town and Shinnojo dreams of one day opening a Kendo school for children and lower class citizens. Life couldn't be more peachy for a man of his rank, but Kayo underestimates the hazards of her husband's job, much to his bemusement. The inevitable happens and Shinnojo is poisoned by a toxic, poorly prepared shell fish. He is returned home barely alive; unconscious, with a fever, and after a lengthy battle in bed ends up blind for his efforts. Now with no steady income and certainly unable to support his wife, their prospects aren't particularly good to say the least.

While Shinnojo is initially furious and deeply burdened by his reliance on others, Kayo is optimistic in the face of life's challenges. Her willingness to work as a maid is frowned upon by her family, and they are relieved to learn she has been offered assistance by a high-ranking samurai admirer, Chief Superintendent Shimada (Mitsugoro Bando). All this drama eventually amounts to good news, as the grinding wheels of bureaucracy grant Shinnojo the right to retain his 30 Koku stipend for the remainder of his life, along with a pat on the back for his services to the clan.

Time passes and nasty rumours begin to circulate of his sweet wife, Kayo, being seen of an evening in the company of an unnamed, decorated samurai in a bawdy local tea house. Obviously upset and suspicious of Kayo, he dispatches his servant to spy on her, only to have his fears compounded when her teahouse rendezvous with the samurai lord is confirmed. Confronting her, Kayo explains to Shinnojo that the samurai took advantage of her, promising to use his bureaucratic influence to help maintain their lifestyle. He furiously ejects her and begins training day and night, with the intention of fighting for his honour. Despite the urges of those around him, Shinnojo insists his blindness is a strength that will catch his opponent off guard. Will Shinnojo's sheer rage towards his foe be enough to do the trick when it comes to the final showdown?

Love and Honor marks the third and final instalment in veteran Director Yoji Yamada's Samurai Trilogy; the first two being The Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade. These are not your usual blood-letting Samurai swordplay films, rather they are deep character dramas with detailed insight into character's formal daily routines and roles within their clan. They are beautifully picturesque, emotionally rewarding films that only strengthen in appeal the more you view them. Yamada is truly a master filmmaker, and it may be some time before we see Samurai dramas directed with this calibre again.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

This is a very nice PAL video transfer, presented in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The feature transfer is also 16x9 enhanced.

The level of visible detail is good for an SD transfer. Shadow detail is excellent and the many dark scenes exhibit good depth and detail. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

Colours appear slightly muted and may have been manipulated to accentuate the various seasons in which the film is depicted. There are no dire colour issues to speak of.

MPEG compression artefacts are minimal, in fact there were none that stood out to me as particularly noteworthy. Film artefacts are present in the form of tiny specs of dust that can be seen intermittently, but are not even slightly distracting in nature. A mild degree of film grain can be seen on occasion which is totally acceptable.

An English subtitle stream is activated by default and is comprised of a white font with a thin black outline. The text is very easy to follow and void of any annoying errors.

This disc is DVD9 formatted, with a layer transition placed during the feature. There was no noticeable pause on my equipment.

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

Audio

There are two soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD; both of which are the film's original Japanese language. The default soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). I couldn't resist the full bitrate (1536Kb/s) dts 5.0 alternative, which is mistakenly listed as "dts 5.1" on both the cover slick and disc menu.

The dialogue is crystal clear and always easily discernable in the soundtrack. There are no obvious ADR or audio sync issues at all.

Surround channel usage is limited to some light atmospherics and a bit of score here and there. Otherwise, this mix is mostly frontal. This film doesn't really demand an aggressive surround mix, so I'm content with the mix we have here.

The dts is obviously the pick of the two here, with a depth and brightness that is barely hinted at in the Dolby default. Due to the obvious lack of low frequency effects, the LFE channel is certainly not missed in the dts soundtrack.

The score is melodic, orchestral and traditional Japanese in flavour, building to an exquisite rage in the film's second half. This is a highly memorable, perfectly moving score that compliments the film superbly.

The LFE channel present in the Dolby Digital default only really springs to life during a thunder clap at 80:57. Otherwise, there isn't really a lot of work for the subwoofer.

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

Extras

Menu

The 16x9 enhanced menu pages are animated and include a very subtle audio clip taken from the score.

Teaser Trailers (2)

Two brief, thirty-second trailers presented with English subs and 16x9 enhancement.

Theatrical Trailer (1:43)

The Japanese theatrical trailer is presented here without 16x9 enhancement.

Gallery-Stills (10)

Ten individual stills captured from the film, covering each of the main characters.

Madman Trailers (4)

Trailers are included for Madman releases Zatoichi at Large, Rashomon, The Myth and Incident at Blood Pass.

Reversible Cover Slick

The other side of the slick has identical artwork but is void of ratings logos.

R4 vs R1

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

The Japanese (Region 2 NTSC) disc from Shochiku is available in two editions; one a single disc release with the film only, and another 3-Disc Special Edition box set. Neither of the releases include dts audio. The broad range of extras include (but are not English subtitled):

With its fantastic dts audio option, I believe ours is a great package for English speakers.

You may be interested to know that all three films in Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy have been released in Japan on the HD DVD format. Unfortunately, they do not include English subtitles. My message to Madman; if you are considering throwing your hat in the proverbial HD ring, local renditions of these films on HD DVD would be a great place to start.

Summary

Love and Honor is an outstanding piece of work and a fitting conclusion to Yamada's trilogy.

The video transfer is great.

The audio transfer is very good.

A couple of small extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using HDMI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE