Oh my god, what a great movie and a very
special way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this wonderful film! Ninja
Scroll is the tale of a Ninja without employer who acts as a sword for hire
throughout Japan and his skills are venerated by all who have heard his name,
Jubei Kibagami. Having happened upon a young female ninja being the
victim of a rape attempt, Jubei rescues her and gets caught up in the local
politics of the area where there is a group who are after but nothing but the
destruction of the local government.
After being saved in return from death, Jubei
feels compelled to assist and after being poisoned by a spy really has no
choice; assist and get an antidote, refuse and die.
I think that folks who have seen this feature
before will find it worth their while to get this special edition in order to
see a more pure version of the film. Fans of the classic Vampire Hunter D will
be pleased to know that director Yoshiaki Kawajiri is behind the helm of this
title and as always controls the pacing of this movie perfectly adding a
cinematic feel to one of the last cel shaded animations. To top it off,
there's a gratuity of blood, sex and violence to make even the jaded viewer
happy, and no mum and dad, it's not one for the kids.
I've seen Ninja Scroll before and it's always
fascinated me for the very simple reason that there are not a hell of a lot of
anime that deal with feudal Japan as you would expect there to be with the
rich history that the country has. The history of the ninja is a secretive one
with it's own codes and ways of looking at right and wrong, much in the same
way that there is a code of the samurai. Ninja Scroll makes for some extremely
compelling viewing coupling nail biting action, character development and a
great storyline to boot.
A crystal video transfer is here for the
taking, however occasionally the source material (hand painted cels) do show
up as what you would think to be a fault where it is not. This feature was
done when artists would still paint each cel by hand and then the individual
cels are cycled quickly to give the impression of movement, whereas today it's
all done on computer and then the computers give them movement.
The feature is presented here as a full
screen pan and scan 4x3 which looks good on the TV, however knowing they had
to cut some of the picture still gets my goat as I would have liked to see
what the initial movie was meant to look like.
Sound on this feature is exemplary regardless
of whether you choose the Japanese or English version. Everything is nice and
clear and every channel is used including the subwoofer during the movie. An
interesting point to note is that the Japanese dialogue is a fair bit quieter
than the English one, although both are still very clear.
For those of you with the right setup you can
enjoy this film in Dolby Digital 6.1 ES
For the special edition a bit more work has
been put into the DVD and it certainly shows with some good extras adding to
the overall experience offered by this disc. Interviews with cast (English)
and director round out the DVD and then we can explore character bios and
history of the time the story takes place in.
These extras have been created especially for
this release and should be viewed in this context.
The interviews are not as high quality as the
feature and may bore some, all I can suggest is that you persist as you will
find out a lot of interesting things about the movie.
Fans of anime and Japanese history really
should own this disc.
10th Anniversary Special Edition Features
English Cast Interviews
History of Jubei