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: 24.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Salaryman Kintaro
Salaryman Kintaro Vol. #3
By Chris Beveridge
November 15, 2005
Release Date: November 15, 2005
Salaryman Kintaro Vol. #3
What They Say
Kintaro's star is rising! Not only is the white-collar wonder landing lucrative contracts for Yamato Construction, he's also caught the heart of the beautiful bar owner, Misuzu, making him the envy of a wide section of the male population.
But will Kintaro be ready for what's waiting for him at the Mount Kousei Tunnel construction site...?The Review!
As Kintaro becomes a true Salaryman now with his move into sales, his position changes drastically and love enters the picture.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 next part of the directors' interview is here as well as the next interview with the producer.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Moving into the second half of the series, the show takes on a slightly different feel as Kintaro progresses up the corporate ladder. This means changes in general such as new people that Kintaro gets to work with and a change in location which turns out to be interesting for the way it connects him to more things.
Kintaro's life goes through the training process a bit more as he's taken under wing and moved into Sales Department One which has its own significance since one of the departments deals with just private sector jobs and the other deals with government based contracts. Kintaro gets to meet some of the basics in dealing with the private sector stuff and has some of his first meetings, this time dealing with Ushikiya, a supermarket retailer. What proves to be the most interesting about his time spent in sales is that he goes in to do some of the standard salaryman things of going out drinking afterwards and through his past connections he ends up with old man Mita and his new boss on one of the nights which completely freaks out his friend. Even worse, they're taken to Jardin, a very high scale place with beautiful women. This is where many deals and connections are really made.
What proves to be the most amusing though is that Jardin's proprietress is a stunning woman named Misuzu who has an ongoing bet with Mita about him finding her a woman that she'll fall for and take home. They've had it for years apparently and it still hasn't paid off but with the introduction of Kintaro, she falls completely for him and takes him home on the first night. Kintaro's surprisingly quiet about all of this and isn't sure about what he's really getting into but he tries to deflect things by talking down his performance and abilities. She has none of this though and has just become completely smitten by him, from his smell to his looks. Though Misuzu does become something of a puppy dog in this, it's done in a most disarming way and his new connection to her just drives at every male that he knows. The best is when the President of Yamoto Construction finds out as he'd been chasing her for some time and he just can't believe Kintaro's luck.
Kintaro doesn't get to stay too long to enjoy the lifestyle change once he gets into Misuzu's good graces he's sent off to the company's Mt. Kousen project where their first tunnel is being worked on. Things have gotten far behind and the previous project manager committed suicide for a few different reasons but partly attributable to what was going on there. It's standard practice to send the new guys into the field for awhile and Kintaro goes at it with full gusto, taking his usual stands against things that he finds are wrong but also spending every other waking moment learning about what's involved with the project including the safety aspects of it. Much like other parts of the show, this arc continues the whole concept of connections and the who you know aspect as it provides ways for Kintaro to get things done. With the shift outside of the office for awhile and more personal relationships, it's a welcome change for the show.
One of the things that felt odd with this release is the possibility of a time speed up along the way in terms of the how the show is telling its story. When we see Ryuta at one point he's a bit older which is fine but at the end of the volume he seems even older and much more vocal than he did earlier. The introduction of Misuzu to the show certainly brings Kintaro into a new realm and it helps promote the idea that some of the office managers have that Kintaro will certainly rise up high in the company but it's not just her that brings the show to an interesting place but her daughter Mimi as well. She's a cute fourteen year old that's been kicked out of school in England and has returned home where her book of photographs of nude women is a constant big seller. Both women bring some much needed sexuality to the show, especially in how cute it is that both of them find Kintaro attractive for different reasons.In Summary:
Salaryman Kintaro surely isn't burning up the sales charts by it's a damn enjoyable show because it tries to play itself over the top while still being rooted in some of the realities of what a salaryman goes through. This is the kind of show that's empowering to people in the same kind of position as a sort of wish fulfillment fantasy come to life which is why it's long been popular among not just that segment of the audience but others as well since almost everyone knows someone in these positions. The show is such a welcome change of pace from so many other similar shows out there that I can't help but enjoy it as it just wants to have fun and tell an overly dramatic story in an almost comical manner while keeping a straight face.
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.