Afro Samurai (2007)

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

Released 15-Aug-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-In The Booth: The Voice Talent of Afro Samurai (14:51)
Featurette-Character profiles with commentary by Eric Calderon (23:44)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-RZA music production tour (4:55)
Gallery-Production Artwork
Trailer-Madman Propaganda
DVD Credits-
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 130:30 (Case: 125)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Fuminori Kizaki
Studio
Distributor
Fuji TV
Madman Entertainment
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
Kelly Hu
Ron Perlman
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music RZA
Kendra Carter
Jamie Simone


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

Afro Samurai is a five episode anime miniseries which was developed from a Japanese dôjinshi manga series created by Takashi Okazaki. A second season of Afro Samurai has since been announced after the success of the miniseries in the US (Spike TV), UK (Adult Swim), Japan (Fuji Television) and Australia (MTV). Afro Samurai is notable for featuring the voice talents of Samuel L. Jackson (who is also co-producer), Ron Perlman and Kelly Hu.

Afro Samurai is a revenge saga set in a futuristic, yet feudal Japan – the anime combines shoot 'em up Western genre elements with science fiction and Jidaigeki.

In this uncertain world, it is said whoever becomes Number One, will rule the society. In order to become Number One, one must eliminate Number One and take possession of the ceremonial headband.

In this lawless society there is one rule – Only Number Two can challenge Number One. The consequence of this rule is whoever is named Number Two can be challenged by anyone.

Afro Samurai’s father Rokutaro, held the title of Number One, until he was challenged by his friend, the then Number Two Justice (voiced by Ron Perlman). As a child Afro saw his father mercilessly decapitated by Justice and vowed to avenge his father’s brutal death.

As an adult Afro (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) is a master swordsman and holds the Number Two title, slowly but surely Afro seeks his revenge.

The anime develops the main character of Afro through flashback – he is a lone hero as he is unable to make any relationships due to holding the Number Two title. Afro speaks very little and while he is a skilled and proficient swordsman – he receives no enjoyment from callous violence and unnecessary death he is often accustomed to.

Afro is often accompanied by Ninja Ninja (also voiced by Samuel L. Jackson). Other characters include the Sword Master (voiced by Terrence C. Carson), Afro’s friend Sasuke (voiced by Jason Marsden) and Otsuru/Okiku (voiced by Kelly Hu and Tara Strong).

This director’s cut of the cult anime miniseries adds approximately 3 minutes to each episode. The uncensored footage is composed of blood, gore, brief nudity and profanity.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

Afro Samurai is presented in 1.78:1 enhanced 16x9 widescreen.

The picture quality is quite good - the sketched style animation is composed of a dark colour palette and the black levels are well produced. Bold colours like crimson stand out against the dark backgrounds.

The transfer has been encoded over a dual layer DVD at an average bitrate of 4.63 Mbps. Despite the low bitrate MPEG compression artefacting and pixilation is minimal.

The image remains relatively sharp and clear through the feature.

English subtitles are available.

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

Audio

English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo are the available audio options on this DVD.

The dialogue remains clear throughout the feature. The sound is relatively encompassing with the dialogue at the front of the soundstage and music and sound effects emitted through the rear speakers. The subwoofer is used moderately.

The sound effects are well produced as is the wonderful and fitting score by RZA, who provided the memorable scores for Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) and Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003).The visceral sound mix is heightened with RZA’s score which features hip-hop beats with funk and rock influences.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

 Subtle use of a still image accompanied by a section of the theme music. The menu is practical and allows the user to easily navigate through the extra content.

In the Booth – Voice Talent of Afro Samurai (14:51)

A making of featurette featuring interviews with producer Taito Okiura, co-producer Eric Calderon, creator Takashi Okazaki and the voice talent Samuel L. Jackson, Ron Perlman, and Kelly Hu. (Full Frame)

Character Profiles (23:44)

A slideshow of character artwork and animation in different stages with commentary by producer Eric Calderon. (Full Frame)

RZA Music Production Tour (4:55)

A behind the scenes look at the creation of the music and specifically how each character has his or her own score. (Full Frame)

Production Artwork

1.Prop Designs - Line Art

2.Prop Designs -Coloured

3.Character Designs - Line Art

4. Character Designs -  Coloured.

Madman Propaganda

An anti-piracy warning precedes the following trailers:

DVD Credits

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.

Afro Samurai was released as a two disc Director's Cut set by Funimation in R1. The R1 release is identical to the R4 in terms of content except the R1 featured the episodes and a number of trailers on Disc 1 and Disc 2 was a extras disc.

Summary

 Afro Samurai is a relentless and brutal culture-clash tale of revenge. The appeal of the miniseries is the eclectic cast and crew. However for some viewers Afro Samurai may be too hip and knowing for its own good but it is ambitious and entertaining and features some interesting characterisations.

The Madman release is well conceived with good sound and image presentation and a great selection of informative extras which expand on the themes of the miniseries.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOPPO DV-980H, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE