Samurai X-Betrayal (2000)

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Released 30-Mar-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Reversible Cover
Notes-English Screenwriter's Notes
DVD Credits
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 61:32 (Case: 60)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Kazuhiro Furuhashi

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $29.95 Music Taku Iwasaki

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Samurai X: Betrayal contains the final two parts of a four part Japanese animated series dealing with the assassin Kenshin Himura. A review of the first half of this series may be found here.

    In these two final episodes, Kenshin and Tomoe move to the country and take up a rural lifestyle while they wait for the situation in Kyoto to calm down. During this time, they both learn more about themselves and each other. Unfortunately, their brief peace is disrupted by the events of the past which will inevitably draw them towards the tragic finale.

    This series is created with traditional animation techniques, but at a number of points live and computer-generated footage is also integrated. I personally found this mixed footage to be slightly disruptive to the flow of the episode, but as it only occurs at a small number of points it is not a major annoyance. Many people prefer the alternate naming for this series - Rurouni Kenshin - and happily Madman have again included a reversible slick for these viewers.

    This OVA series is not your typical hack and slash sword-fighting anime. It is often quiet and reflective and deals more with the consequences of the character's actions than the actions themselves. If you are looking for a fast-action fighting anime you may be disappointed with this disc, but if you are looking for a compelling, involving story, then you should take the time to view this series.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is consistently sharp and is able to show the high levels of detail present in the high quality animation. No low level noise was detected during the transfer. Excellent levels of detail are visible during the darker scenes with high levels of shadow detail present.

    The extensive colour palette used in this film is accurately reproduced and is able to easily display the intricate shading employed by the animators.

    Some small Gibbs effect artefacts may be seen during the closing credits for each episode. At no other time during the transfer were any MPEG artefacts detected.

    No instances of aliasing were detected during this transfer.

    A small number of very minor film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. The most obvious example of these may be seen at 2:10 but these are never distracting to the viewer. A small amount of film grain was noted,  but this was never distracting to the viewer.

    A single instance of telecine wobble is visible at 26:05. This is very brief and only minimally distracting.

    Unfortunately, there are numerous instances of dot crawl visible during this transfer. The most annoying examples may be seen at 9:44, 14:34 and 23:39 but minor instances are present throughout. These artefacts are unfortunately quite distracting.

    A single set of yellow English subtitles are provided on this disc. The subtitles do differ slightly in a number of places when compared to the English audio track. At one point, a comment regarding a duration of time is different between the subtitles and the audio dub which is unusual, as the same person was responsible for both scripts.

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


    English and Japanese Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 mixes are provided on this disc. I listened to both tracks in full and found both to be of high quality.

    During both soundtracks, the dialogue is always clear and easy to understand.

    As this is an animated feature there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync for each soundtrack. No audio dropouts were detected during the transfer.

    The emotional, classically-based musical score by Taku Iwasaki is extremely effective and provides excellent support for the on-screen action.

    The surround channels were not utilised during the movie.

    The subwoofer was used to support the effects and occasionally the score but never drew attention to itself.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The non animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Character Profiles

    A short single page character profile is provided for Kenshin Himura, Okita, Tomoe Yukishiro, Katagai, Tatsumi, Enishi and Iizuka. A small problem occurs when navigating this extra. If the viewer uses the up key on the remote and reaches the profile for Kenshin they are then unable to move to any other point. The only way to move from this position is to press the title menu key on the remote to return to the root menu, or to press the menu key to return to the resume point if this menu was accessed while viewing the feature.

Screenwriter Notes

    This is a short five page collection of notes by Lowell Bartholomee who was responsible for the English translation of the series. These notes claim to discuss the problems faced when translating material for an audience with different backgrounds and historical knowledge but contain little real information.

Trailer: Trust/Betrayal (1:36)

    This trailer for the OVA series is presented with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Trailer: Sin (2:08)

    This trailer is presented with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Trailer: Spriggan (1:16)

    This trailer is presented with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1.

Trailer: Neon Genesis Evangelion (1:08)

    This trailer is presented with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Trailer: Gunsmith Cats (1:39)

    This trailer is presented with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Trailer: Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 (1:27)

    This trailer is presented with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

R4 vs R1

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

    Both versions of this DVD appear to be nearly identical.


    Samurai X: Betrayal is an excellent conclusion to this well-written and involving OVA series.

    The impressive animation is unfortunately let down by a small number of artefacts present in the transfer.

    The high quality Japanese and English tracks will appeal to fans of both dubs and subs.

    The collection of extras provided are interesting, but could have been supplemented with the inclusion of a trailer for the movie or some details regarding the TV series.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Tuesday, August 21, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

Other Reviews NONE
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