Samurai, The (Onmitsu Kenshi)-Volume 4 (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 96:05 (Case: 88)
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
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

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

Plot Synopsis

This is the fourth, and last, 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 reviews of Volume 2 and Volume 3 as well.

Shintaro is really getting close, and the leader of the Koga ninja society is running out of ninja masters to send against him, too. Things are getting tense. These last few episodes are quite cool, in a stilted and jerky way.

Every so often there's sight of a piece of technology that I wonder about. On this disc we see ninja in the 17th century using signal rockets. That's not anachronistic, because the ninja could have stolen the technology from the Chinese, who definitely had it by then. But when one of the ninja masters refers to his "magic boomerang flying" (I'm not making this up!), I start to wonder. Perhaps the 17th century ninjas snuck down to Australia and stole the idea of the boomerang from the Australian Aboriginal people, and the translator is just using the modern English word for the Japanese ninja technique of bo mera ngu? Or maybe not...

This volume contains the final four episodes:

  1. The Hunter (24:08) - Chuso, a hunter and expert rifleman, is coerced into an attempt to kill Shintaro by sniper fire
  2. The Mystic Bridge (25:15) - an escapee from the ninja mine is hypnotised into leading Shintaro and Shusaku into a trap
  3. The Star Jumper (23:36) - Shusaku finds his pet monkey, but it is another trap for him, and for Shintaro
  4. The Magic Kite (23:46) - Shintaro confronts the leader of the Koga ninja, Ryushiro Koga, in the final battle

There's a bit more philosophising about freedom, but it doesn't reach boring levels. The ending is satisfying, but definitely leaves the door open for a sequel (whether we'll get that on DVD depends, I imagine, on the sales of this series).

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

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 seems a bit sharper on this disc, as though they've tuned up the telecine machine, but it is still rather soft. Shadow detail remains poor. There is no noticeable low-level noise.

This is a black-and-white presentation (OK, black, and white, and various shades of grey). The only colour is the menu, which is purple on this disc. The picture is slightly better than that found on the first three discs. Blacks are mostly quite black (there are a few scenes where the blacks are dark grey, but these are short), whites are acceptable, and there is a decent range of greys in between.

There are still lots of film artefacts; I doubt there's a frame that's completely bereft of artefacts. Spots, flecks, specks, hairs, scratches we get the lot; there's even what looks like a burnt frame at 2:20 in Episode 11. By the time we get to Episode 13, the opening credits are very scratchy indeed. And, there are plenty of interlacing artefacts, probably because this series was transferred from film to NTSC, then converted to PAL.

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 comprehensible, almost all the time, providing you aren't confused by Japanese names. The audio sync is a lovely example of awful dubbing, but I consider that part of the charm of this series.

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.

A mono soundtrack provides nothing for any of your expensive array of speakers, except the centre channel.

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

Extras

This extras on this disc are easily described nil, nothing, nada, nought.

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 brings the main storyline to a conclusion.

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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