Samurai, The (Onmitsu Kenshi)-Volume 3 (1962)

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Released 26-Sep-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Martial Arts None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 71:27 (Case: 66)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Toru Toyama
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Koiichi Ose
Shunsuke Omori
Bin Amatsu
Case C-Button-Version 2
RPI $24.95 Music Hirooki Ogawa


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/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

    This is the third volume of The Samurai. Please read my review of Volume 1 first, because I won't be explaining the background to this serial again. While you're at it, you might want to read my review of Volume 2 as well.

    Shintaro is getting closer to his destination, too close for the comfort of the leader of the Koga ninja society. Shintaro is dramatically reducing the numbers of the Koga masters, too, so they have another reason to desire revenge. Like all good evil organisations, however, they don't gang up on him — they continue to attack him one at a time. Shintaro is in the city (well, large town) of Kofu, and all these episodes take place there; this volume is another with a complete sub-plot arc, this time (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) the story of Shintaro versus Genzo the Spider.

    For the era, there are some moderately fancy special effects, including an interesting overlay that would be done with green screen today — I don't know how they did it here. It is quite clear that this was made before the invention of the steadicam, too — a moving shot where they can use a dolly is nice and steady, but a lot of the moving shots are hand-held, and bounce all over the place. A number of the shots of ninjas in motion have been sped up, which I often find amusing.

    This volume contains three episodes:

  1. The Spider (24:02) - Genzo, the Spider, appears. Shintaro rescues a girl who is being kidnapped in a litter, only to have his kindness rebound on him
  2. Die Like a Ninja (23:15) - a master ninja insists that one of his acolytes make restitution for failure
  3. Double Agent (24:10) - a ninja arranges that Shintaro face the best swordsman in Kofu

    It is interesting to see a gun appear in one episode — this is set during a period in Japan's history when they were fully aware of guns, but chose not to use them.

    This is the third volume, and the third type of case they've used. In terms of my personal preferences, they have gone consistently downhill — I don't mind the Brackley cases, I can respect the Click cases, but I really detest the C-button cases (I will be changing the disc into a spare transparent Amaray I have). Given how little a good case costs, I wonder at distributors making such seemingly foolish economies.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This series is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, as one might expect. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is variable, but generally quite soft. Shadow detail is poor. There is no noticeable low-level noise.

    This is a monochrome (black and white) presentation. The only colour is the menu, which is green. The picture is on par with the previous two discs, with adequate blacks, acceptable whites, and a decent range of greys in between.

    Once more we can call the roll for film artefacts, and get a "present" answer from every one: specks and flecks, hairs and threads, cuts and scrapes, spots and stains, and fine vertical scratches. In particular, the editing in Episode 8 is rather poor, with almost every edit producing a visible splice mark - have a look at 3:20, 7:09, 12:12, 12:13, 17:01, and 18:42 for some of the worst. Add to that some rather obvious interlacing artefacts (17:01 is very noticeable), and this is one of the worst episodes in the series.

    There is no aliasing or moire, no shimmer, and no MPEG artefacts of note. The disc has been reasonably well-mastered, but without restoration.

    There are no subtitles.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered. There is no layer change to worry about, and no problem, given the limited amount of material on this disc.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English (coded as "Other language"), Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. This soundtrack is about the same as the others: noisy, limited in range (both frequency and dynamics), but adequate.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand for most of the time. The audio sync continues to be entertaining. The English dialogue was written and directed by William Ross, and is more than a little stilted, possibly because it is close to the Japanese.

    The music, from Hirooki Ogawa, is an interesting amalgam of bamboo flute, tapping sticks, Wurlitzer organ, and sundry orchestral instruments. It becomes part of the atmosphere that is The Samurai.

    Your centre channel will get jealous looks from all your other speakers, because only it gets something to do while you are watching this disc.

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

Extras

    This extras on this disc belong to the fifth ring of the Go Rin No Sho: the Void / Emptiness.

Menu

    The menu is static and silent, listing the episodes, and allowing selection of one at a time.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is not available in Region 1.

Summary

    A classic TV serial, presented in poor condition on DVD. This disc, like the second one, contains a complete subplot arc.

    The video quality is really quite poor, but it doesn't prevent you enjoying the story.

    The audio quality is poor, but adequate.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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