Ninja Resurrection (Essential Anime Edition) (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, March 01, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
What They Say
Join a nightmarish journey through faith and betrayal as the infamous warrior Jubei confronts the ultimate evil!
Japan, 1614, the Tokugawa Shogunate bans the practice of Christianity and ruthlessly slaughters its adherents. The scattered survivors place their faith in a prophecy of salvation: a Child of Heaven will be born to deliver the faithful from their enemies. Yet hidden within the same prophecy is a dark omen. For it is written that, should the promised savior falter, he will be reborn as Satan.
Set in early feudal times, the mix of Christianity and the rebirth of Christ into the world in Japan brings violence to a new level.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its new English language 5.1 remix. The two episodes here make out a fairly well with the upgrade, though it takes awhile for it to be noticeable since such a chunk of the opening is exposition. The forward soundstage benefits the most with a clearer and more distinct elements track while the music itself comes out well but not too much better over the stereo mix. Dialogue was nice and clear throughout on both tracks and we had no problems during regular playback.
Much like Plastic Little, the main change in the video transfer here is that it's been authored under more current knowledge of things as opposed to several years ago and the bit rat management is much better. The opening sequence is still the worst part in general with the pixilation inherent in the source material with all the tightly drawn pieces showcasing the old text artwork, but the main show itself looks very good with the darks being the main plus as they're very solid among the varying shades presented throughout the show. Cross coloration otherwise is very minimal as is aliasing.
The cover for this re-release is identical to the original cover in just about all forms with the exception of the dual purple stripes with the top one listing the collection name and the bottom listing the 5.1 remix for the audio. The main cover artwork has numerous character shots from the show itself in a very appealing and colorful collage. The back cover is also identical to the original release I just about every way with only a few tweaks for what's different here. The insert has one of the really nicely painted full color artworks with Jubei in the lower right corner and one of the castles behind him against the night sky while the reverse side is just boxart advertisements.
The menu layout is identical to the original release with a close-up shot of Jubei while music plays alongside the otherwise static menu. Selections are made quickly and are accessed without any trouble. The design is nicely done overall and very appealing.
This re-release of Ninja Resurrection manages to avoid the controversy that plagued the original where it was tied to the Ninja Scroll series. The release doesn't avoid the main problem however of being incomplete with a cliffhanger at the end of the second volume. As each year goes by, it looks less and less likely that they'll restart it again as was once promised. Taking in these two episodes I once more found myself enjoying the show a lot for both its visuals and for the way it plays out in the time period, particularly as I keep learning more and more about this era from non-fiction books I'm reading. Ninja Resurrection has had a divisive effect on fans since its initial release for a variety of reasons, but it's a show that I still find engaging since it doesn't avoid religion and provides a different take on things that normally isn't done in anime.
This re-release's main draw will be the English 5.1 mix for people and the improved video quality overall. The original DVD release came out nearly three and a half years ago and the market has changed considerably since then, so a re-release with some minor upgrades and a price drop is most welcome for the growing throngs of new fans and a chance to get something a touch better for those who passed it over the first time.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 17 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 80
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ninja Resurrection