Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: C
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ArtsMagicDVD
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Salaryman Kintaro
Salaryman Kintaro Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
October 25, 2005
Release Date: September 27, 2005
Salaryman Kintaro Vol. #2
What They Say
Salaryman Kintaro Part 2 sees Kintaro taking them all on... the girls, the gangs, the corporation... AND coming out a winner. As well as saving his son's life, our super salaryman leads a challenge to the corrupt faction in Yamamoto Corporation and finds an unlikely ally in a powerful yakuza who has warmed to his moral & physical strengths.The Review!
Kintaro's battles are a little more controlled this time around as what he fights parallels a larger fight within the corporation.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The release includes both a 2.0 mix and a 5.1 mix but in comparing the two I liked the more natural sound that the stereo mix provided and stuck with that. It does a good job of providing a warm and full feeling for the forward soundstage and had some decent dialogue placement and a fairly wide feel for various ambient effects and other sound effects throughout the show. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally airing in 2001, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The materials for the show are pretty decent but you can tell it wasn't a high budget show and that it was trying to keep to the feel of the original source so it has something of a rough look to it. Combined with the early digital effects and the learning curve at the time some of the scenes look a little awkward while others a bit more polished, giving it a somewhat uneven feel at times but nothing terribly distracting. Colors are good with a wide range and a solid feel to them without any gradient issues. Aliasing is minimal and cross coloration is virtually absent here, resulting in a clean looking piece.Packaging:
The cover art for the release again mixes different pieces together so it has a less than clean and defined look but it's not bad overall other than just a bit too busy. The logo for the series is huge and takes up almost half the cover it feels like which makes the artwork underneath it feel really crowded and cramped. The back cover works the various hues of green for a background and uses a headshot of one of the guys in his headband as the main image alongside the summary and individual episode summaries that take up a good chunk of the cover. The discs features and technical information is sort of scattered around a bit and at times not easy to really find. The production information is pretty minimal as well. No insert is included but the reverse side cover is in full color and has the larger shot of Kintaro from the front cover on one side while the other panel lists all sorts of critical acclaim for the show.Menu:
The main menu is a decent looking layered static image that has a background of the city that's obscured slightly while a shot of Kintaro is in the foreground. You get individual episode selections and a play all feature alongside the other navigational areas and all of it set to a brief clip of the opening song to the series. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is quick and east to move around. Due to the language setup of the release it didn't matter what our presets were.Extras:
Similar to the first volume, there are some good extras here. The second part of the directors' interview is here where he laments on the lack of original anime creations and the way that his works are perceived overseas. The second interview with the producer of the series is also on this volume.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Salaryman Kintaro was a fun show in its first four episodes as it brought a mix of gang mentality and office politics together in a very Japanese way. The comparison to GTO are obvious and they do work on some levels though Kintaro continues to be more pure in his own way than the lead of that series. While the first volume focused on introducing all the elements that will make up the foundation of the show, this set of episodes moves us through a bit of corporate politics.
The make-up of the company has been something that was brewing in the previous volume and it becomes a bit clearer this time around as we learn more, such as the President having been part of one of the Ministry's before coming to Yamato. The belief that he's there to make more money through graft and connections than he could at the Ministry is fairly obvious but a hard thing to prove. While this is something that's been ongoing for quite some time, what's changed now is that the group of people who have been emboldened by the presence of Kintaro in the company are taking action on their own instead of just letting things go as usual. They attempt to try and get the information that they need through the regular channels to prove what financial shenanigans he's up to but in the end they have to resort to trying to get it via the companies' computers.
This power play goes through some interesting permutations as it goes up and down the corporate ladder and different people get involved as well as those on the President's side who have the Chairman's office tapped and use that to try and gain advantage over the group that's trying to bring the President down. It's an interesting look at the office politics in general where seniority actually means something to people and you can put someone in place just by the time you've been there. Everything comes to a head in this volume regarding the plot though which is nice since it doesn't become terribly long and lose interest along the way and they even get to have fun with a big confrontational board meeting segment where people toss out accusations and make interesting stands.
Working in parallel to that, we do spend a good deal of time with Kintaro who is essentially left to just continue making his sharpened pencils. His problems tend to be fairly minimal at the moment and mostly just dealing with women, such as Yuki the schoolgirl who continues to be way too blunt in her desire for him. This actually comes to a head in an amusing way early on and Kintaro has her, two of the office ladies and one of the manager types all trying to get his attention outside the office and laughing as one or the other gets shot down by him. His rejection of Yuki though causes some problems that later has her showing up at his apartment at three in the morning and raging against him. Kintaro handles her well enough but he's strong against the guy she's with who is more concerned about his car after he bangs it up than whether she's ok.
Naturally, any young guy who has a car this hot and looks like he does obviously has some influence so when Kintaro goes and breaks the kids jaw, you know it'll come back to haunt him. It even comes back to haunt him at work as the boy's father is an infamous fixer man and he's sent a watcher and a ruffian to teach Kintaro a lesson. The way all of this plays out in parallel to the board room storyline is interesting since it covers similar themes about how to deal with things. Kintaro's having to deal with the ramifications of what he's done is something that those in the board room are trying to adopt themselves as they look for a new way to do business and handle these kinds of relations.
A lot of little moments make up some good times on this disc, such as the woman who makes dinner for Kintaro and what that reveals as well as the way the hacker type spends his time in a small phone booth with his laptop plugged in hacking away while using phone cards. Watching the office politics at play is fun since it's got a very different feel from how it's portrayed in the kinds of office politics films and series I'm used to seeing. The one bad area on the disc is the entire "Train will crush little boy" piece which just felt really weirdly forced and in the end almost not really worth the time and effort other than to create some tension.In Summary:
Salaryman Kintaro surely won't be blazing the charts but it's the kind of show that I definitely enjoy as it's a real break from so many of the other cookie cutter shows out there. It has its moments where you want to roll your eyes but it also has enough that you smile and just enjoy the way it all flows together. This volume runs a bit differently than the first as there's less interaction between certain characters that dominated the first but it's still a lot of fun and it sets Kintaro on a new path that should be a real highlight for the next couple of volumes.
Japanese 2.0 Language,Japanese 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Director's Interview,Producer's Interview
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.