Ninja Scroll: 10th Anniversary Edition (dts-es) Region 1 DVD review

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Phil Hinton, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" BGCOLOR="CC0033" ALIGN="CENTER"><TR><TD><TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="0"><TR><TD WIDTH="40">&nbsp;</TD><TD STYLE='font-size: 18px; color: white; text-align: center '>NINJA SCROLL: 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (UNCUT)</TD><TD WIDTH="40"></TD></TR></TABLE><TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="0" BGCOLOR="CC0033" ALIGN="CENTER"><TR><TD WIDTH="33%"><TD><TD WIDTH="34%" STYLE='font-size: 10px; color: white; text-align: center'>Reviewed March 2004 by Matt Brown.</TD><TD WIDTH="33%" STYLE='font-size: 10px; color: white; text-align: right'>

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    <IMG SRC="http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/NinjaScroll/NinjaScrollR1.jpg" ALT="NINJA SCROLL: 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (UNCUT)" ALIGN="RIGHT"><TABLE WIDTH="100%" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD COLSPAN="2" VALIGN="TOP"><B>NINJA SCROLL (1995)<B> <A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?compare=1593"><IMG SRC="http://www.totaldvd.net/images/comparedvds.gif" WIDTH="121" HEIGHT="18" BORDER="0" ALIGN="ABSMIDDLE" ALT="Comparison feature coming soon"></A></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Genres</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px"><A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=ANIMATION">ANIMATION</A>, <A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=ACTION">ACTION</A>, <A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=ADVENTURE">ADVENTURE</A>, <A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=HONG KONG ACTION">HONG KONG ACTION</A>, <A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=ANIME">ANIME</A></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Director</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px"><A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=director&search_for=YOSHIAKI KAWAJIRI">YOSHIAKI KAWAJIRI</A></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Stars</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px"><A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=RICHARD BARNES">RICHARD BARNES</A>, <A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=DEAN ELLIOT">DEAN ELLIOT</A>, <A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=RICHARD GEORGE">RICHARD GEORGE</A>, <A HREF="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=DOUGRAY GRANT">DOUGRAY GRANT</A></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" STYLE="font-size: 10px"><B>Region</B></TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px"><B>1</B> <FONT STYLE="font-size: 10px">(USA)</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN="TOP" WIDTH="65" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Supplier</TD><TD><FONT STYLE="font-size: 10px">Manga. Released Tuesday 30th September 2003</FONT></TD></TR>
    <TR><TD VALIGN="TOP" WIDTH="65" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Price</TD><TD><FONT STYLE="font-size: 10px">$34.99</FONT></TD></TR>
    <TR><TD VALIGN="TOP" WIDTH="65" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Discs</TD><TD><FONT STYLE="font-size: 10px">1</FONT></TD></TR>
    <TR><TD VALIGN="TOP" WIDTH="65" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Format</TD><TD><FONT STYLE="font-size: 10px">DVD 18</FONT></TD></TR>
    <TR><TD VALIGN="TOP" WIDTH="65" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Time</TD><TD><FONT STYLE="font-size: 10px">94 mins.</FONT></TD></TR>
    <TR><TD VALIGN="TOP" WIDTH="65" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Chapters</TD><TD><FONT STYLE="font-size: 10px">24</FONT></TD></TR>
    </TABLE><TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Picture</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px">Anamorphic widescreen 1.77:1 (side B) <BR> 4:3 (side A)&nbsp;</TD>
    </TR></TABLE><TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Sound</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px">English DD-<IMG SRC="http://www.totaldvd.net/images/EX.gif" ALIGN="ABSMIDDLE" BORDER="0" ALT="Dolby Digital EX Soundtrack"> EX 5.1 <BR> English <IMG SRC="http://www.totaldvd.net/images/dtsES.gif" ALIGN="ABSMIDDLE" BORDER="0" ALT="dts-ES Soundtrack"> Discrete 6.1 <BR> Japanese DD-<IMG SRC="http://www.totaldvd.net/images/EX.gif" ALIGN="ABSMIDDLE" BORDER="0" ALT="Dolby Digital EX Soundtrack"> EX 5.1 <BR> Japanese <IMG SRC="http://www.totaldvd.net/images/dtsES.gif" ALIGN="ABSMIDDLE" BORDER="0" ALT="dts-ES Soundtrack"> Discrete 6.1 <BR> French DD 2.0 <BR> Spanish DD 2.0</TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Subtitles</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px">English</TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Case</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px">Digipak</TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Extras</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px">Director’s interview <BR> English Voice Cast interview <BR> History of the Jubei feature <BR> Character Synopsis/Photo Gallery <BR> Manga Extras <BR> Theatrical trailer (easter egg).</TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2"><TR><TD WIDTH="65" VALIGN="TOP" STYLE="font-size: 10px">Notes</TD><TD STYLE="font-size: 10px">Unlike the R2 disc, this American Edition is completely uncut.</TD></TR></TABLE>
    </TD></TR></TABLE>

    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER" BGCOLOR="CC0033"><TR><TD WIDTH="100" STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>The Movie</B></TD><TD STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>6</B></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER"><TR><TD STYLE='text-align: justify; font-size: 10px'><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">Feudal Japan – a time of danger, intrigue and deception. After an entire village is decimated by a mysterious plague, a master swordsman named Jubei undertakes a desperate quest to find The Shogun of the Dark, an evil autocrat who plans to overthrow the Japanese government. But in order to capture him, Jubei must face The 8 Devils of Kimon, the Shogun’s fearsome force of demonic henchmen, each possessing awesome superhuman powers. Joined in his journey by the beautiful and deadly female ninja Kagero, they must together defeat the dominion the rules in terror and restore order to the land.</p><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">Well that’s the basic premise of Ninja Scroll – one of the more popular anime titles to come out of Japan, and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (<I>Animatrix “Program”, Vampire Hunter D</I>). At 10 years old, this remastered and unrated edition is – to my eyes – something of a mixed bag. It’s without doubt that anime fans will lap this up, containing a mixture of good animation, half-naked women and lots of gratuitous blood-letting, along with a suitably mystical theme with ninjas featuring highly. However, aside from the fact that the sex-scenes and excessive gore are largely unnecessary (especially the rape scene), the script is rather clunky and at times confusing. Dialogue in many places is incredibly cheesy (almost too much so), and overall the general flow of the film is inconsistent. The action is good, but the main “hero” instills no empathy in the viewer, something which is essential regardless of the film genre, and this is the main area where Ninja Scroll falls down.</p><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">If anime your thing – and gory anime at that - then you may enjoy Ninja Scroll, but otherwise you will likely find it a little too easy to find fault. </p></TD></TR></TABLE>

    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER" BGCOLOR="CC0033"><TR><TD WIDTH="100" STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>Picture</B></TD><TD STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>8</B></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER"><TR><TD STYLE='text-align: justify; font-size: 10px'><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">Presented both in the original 4:3 aspect ratio on one side of the disc, and in anamorphic widescreen on the other (framed at approx 1.77:1), the picture quality here is surprisingly good. Although betraying marks and scratches in places – you can’t quite hide the movie’s roots – we have on the whole a very clean transfer. </p><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">With colours looking well saturated, lines are clean and crisp (essential for an animation title) with not a hint of any bloom or jaggedness. Thankfully, too, compression artefacts are absent, and where we see large blocks of colour they remain bold and solid. Black levels are good – revealing everything that the animators intended – and with a lack of edge enhancement which only appears in some mild instances, we have a transfer which does justice to the “Remastered” title.</p><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">It is, however, worth noting that the widescreen version is simply a cropped 4:3 image, so those who already own a copy of the movie may find they prefer the original.</p></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/makeimage.php?image=NinjaScroll/NinjaScroll_1.jpg" ALT="NINJA SCROLL: 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (UNCUT)"></P>

    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER" BGCOLOR="CC0033"><TR><TD WIDTH="100" STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>Sound</B></TD><TD STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>7</B></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER"><TR><TD STYLE='text-align: justify; font-size: 10px'><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">The good news here is that we are offered the choice of both DTS-ES discrete and Dolby-EX soundtracks, both in the original Japanese flavour or dubbed English. In both cases, DTS is the more forward of the options, with more emphasis placed on the higher frequencies and a little more grunt in the bass department. </p><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">Regardless of your choice, however, we have a largely functional soundtrack. Dialogue – both on the Japanese and English language tracks – comes through clean and crisp with no sibilance, and the front left and right channels support the centre with the majority of the action. If not inspiring, the front soundstage is at least a solid affair. Surround action is reasonably low key, but there are some split surround effects in places that adds nicely to the front. Bass is particularly restrained on the whole, though, and it’s here where improvements could have been made: whilst there is some weight added to the action in places, more extension would have been welcome.</p><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">Overall not a bad effort, what we have is a very functional sound mix.</p></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/makeimage.php?image=NinjaScroll/Ninjascroll_2.jpg" ALT="NINJA SCROLL: 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (UNCUT)"></P>

    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER" BGCOLOR="CC0033"><TR><TD WIDTH="100" STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>Extras</B></TD><TD STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>6</B></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER"><TR><TD STYLE='text-align: justify; font-size: 10px'><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">First up we have a Director’s interview, which I imagine will only be of interest to die-hard anime fans. Shot on a camcorder, and with poor sound, it takes so long for the questions to be asked and the director equally slow in answering, that this quickly becomes a chore to sit through. Next up is a slightly more interesting English Cast interview, where two of the American voice actors offer their thoughts on the movie, and amongst other things, how they got into the industry. It’s worth noting that the video quality here is a significant improvement over the Director’s interview.</p><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">Added to the extras package are a couple of static features – History of the Jubei and a Character Synopsis/Photo Gallery – and rounding off the package are the “Manga Extras” which is essentially an extended promotional trailer for Manga showing clips from some of their biggest releases – those familiar with the genre will undoubtedly skip this, though others may find it of interest.</p><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">Overall the extras are something of a disappointment given that the packaging touts this edition of Ninja Scroll as being the “10th Anniversay Special Edition”; the extras are pretty unremarkable at best.</p></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC="http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/makeimage.php?image=NinjaScroll/NinjaScroll_3.jpg" ALT="NINJA SCROLL: 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (UNCUT)"></P>
    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER" BGCOLOR="CC0033"><TR><TD WIDTH="100" STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>Verdict</B></TD><TD STYLE="color: white; font-size: 10px"><B>6</B></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER"><TR><TD STYLE='text-align: justify; font-size: 10px'><P STYLE="font-size: 10px">Without a doubt this movie is one for anime fans, though the extras are disappointing: newcomers to the genre may find it of limited interest, but if gushing blood and ninjas are your thing, then this adult-orientated title – which packs a good picture and reasonable 5.1 soundtrack – is worth a look.</p></TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE WIDTH="750" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="2" ALIGN="CENTER" BGCOLOR="CC0033"><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD></TR></TABLE>
    <TABLE WIDTH="100%" BORDER="0" CELLPADDING="0" CELLSPACING="0"><TR><TD ALIGN="CENTER">Review disc provided by <A HREF="http://www.discemporium.com"><img src="http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/SuppliersLogos/DiscEmporium.jpg" ALIGN="ABSMIDDLE"></TD></TR></TABLE>
     

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