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DVD Reviews:  Ninja Scroll 10th Anniversary Special Edition (Uncut)


The Final Say!

Feature Score:
9.9/10
DVD Extras Score
7/10


Reviewed by Tory Favro
Distributed by:
The AV Channel
Running Time: 94 Minutes

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.

Video

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.

Audio

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

Extras

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.

Ninja Scroll 10th Anniversary Special Edition Features

  • Character Profiles

  • Director Interview

  • English Cast Interviews

  • History of Jubei

  • Trailers

 

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