Ninja Scroll (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, May 19, 1998
Jubei is a wandering ninja for hire, who happens upon a lady in distress. Little does he know that by saving Kagero's life he has just earned the attention of the eight devils of Kimon. When he is forced into helping the shady Dakuan find out more about these creatures, the swords and blood really begin to fly. Jubei must face an old-friend-turned-foe, and try to stop Kagero from killing herself. It's a samurai movie with some "Big Trouble in Little China" thrown in for good measure, with plenty of blood, guts and gore. If you're in for some good action, this is the movie for you.
Acting: Japanese: 4
I know people who love this move and I know people who hate this movie. It's one of the first anime I saw when I was reintroduced to anime a couple of years ago, so I guess I'm a bit easy on it. Usually I'm harder on action movies because of the lack of plot, but I thought that this movie tried hard to have some complexity to its story and its characters. While it's no Ghost in the Shell, it is a very good samurai action film. The animation is very smooth and fluid. Combine that with the sound effects in this film and you've got some great action sequences. The plot has a few twists, but generally goes in a straight line; you know our hero is going to face the villain in the end, the fun is in seeing him get there. The Japanese and English voice actors both did good jobs. I just prefer the Japanese audio track, because it's a samurai movie. The music fits the scenes very well and doesn't overpower. One of the main problems some people have with this movie is the fact that it is very, very bloody. It's too much. But I think that it's done in a stylistic way. We know that there is no way that much blood is in one person (or that their heart pumps fast enough or with enough pressure to have it spurt everywhere) but it's part of the visual impact of the film. It can also be argued that it's that bloody to sell more copies of the movie. But there are several quieter moments to this film that work well, and some very cinematic moments as well. In other words it tries hard to be more than just a action film and that's probably why I like it.
The sound and picture on this disc are both very good, this disc has some great show off scenes in it, if your audience doesn't mind lots of gore and death. The menu is seems to have a glitch or two in it, if you use it too much it seems to refuse to work (see the note below). The DVD comes in a keepcase, has an insert with chapter stops and has nice artwork on everything including the disc itself. The keepcase tells you what you get with no questions left unanswered. The goodies on this disc are average. You get some character bios, and a movie synopsis, and a trailer. Not too exciting, but better than nothing. If you like supernatural action, and don't mind lots of blood, and some nudity, than I'd say get this disc. It looks and sounds great and is re-watchable.
NOTE: This disc exists in two versions. The first print caused some problems on some players, such as sound dropouts and stuttering. If you are looking for the second print with the corrected version look for the small QC sticker on the front or back cover. This is the second print, without the problems. I own the first print as it doesn't seem to cause any problems on either set up I have.
Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Running time: 94
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ninja Scroll