Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: C
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ArtsMagicDVD
- MSRP: 24.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Salaryman Kintaro
Salaryman Kintaro Vol. #4
By Chris Beveridge
January 31, 2006
Release Date: January 31, 2006
Salaryman Kintaro Vol. #4
What They Say
Our super salaryman once again runs headfirst into trouble when his extraordinary success sees him transferred to a new department, headed by Sub Chief Igo, the only man at Yamato Construction that can [maybe] put Kintaro in his place. As Kintaro faces numerous attempts on his life from old enemies and new, he learns just how deadly office politics can be.The Review!
Kintaro's past is explored fairly deeply and those connections play a vital role in the present day.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 of character artwork together so it has a less than clean and defined look. 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's face showing him to be quite angry 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 previous volumes, 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)
Salaryman Kintaro hits a couple of interesting areas as Kintaro's family history gets explored a bit more beyond just his deceased wife but now back to his parents. An interesting area in and of itself, it leads into becoming something more important as Kintaro finds himself sent off to another region and his usual array of connects becomes an integral part of moving forward. And that's what Kintaro is all about, moving forward.
After the success at the tunnel project and returning to Tokyo, Kintaro actually takes a bit of time off to be with his son but also to head back to his home town so he can pay his respects to his mother's grave. The train ride allows for some brief returns to his past where we see her dying in the hospital while he was young but during all of it she only talks about how good her husband and his father was. His later years get touched on later on as well from the time spent living with his aunt and uncle up to the time he left for the big city and ended up becoming involved in the motorcycle gang. It's very minimal all told but it gives enough time to show where he comes from and the basics of what motivated him to become who he did in the biker world.
As a character, Kintaro doesn’t so much grow over time but more becomes comfortable in his new skin as he uses the various skills acquired over the years in different ways. At the core, which we see here, he really is simply a good guy whose had some interesting turns of luck. As Shina says at one point, luck can change overnight but fortune follows for a lifetime and Kintaro is certainly being followed by fortune. With the kind of awkward relationship he surely could have with his father, who apparently spent twenty years in jail for murder and he never visited him, when he finally does come across him he's in a far different place than he would have been even five years prior. His change to becoming a father himself allows him to have a very different view on family and just how much a child can mean. Their reunion is one of the best scenes of the show so far.
His ability to connect with people continues to be his strong suit though as is his straightforward good nature. When a friend of his runs into some mild yakuza trouble in a pachinko parlor, his standing up for him ends up bringing him into contact with what turns out to be one of the biggest money washers in the area as well as several other higher ranked yakuza who have some deep connections to his past that he never knew. All of this is going on at the same time that some amusing changes are talked about in Yamato Construction about the companies future and foray into Asia itself as a new rival comes in to try and change things. The coincidences are of course quite strong and impossible to not notice but that's the basis of Kintaro really when you apply the fortune side of it to him. People of various walks of life and circles invariably come across his path and they're almost always coming back to him in different ways.
All this set up leads to the next stage in Kintaro's career of a salaryman as the President sends him off to the Tohaku region and the city of Kahoku to help the north east branch with his skills but more so to undergo the training under the main man there, Sub-Chief Igo. Igo's unlike other people that have been shown in the series as part of Yamato so far as he's got his own style to him that keeps everyone else away. He looks like he's continually either drunk or half dead but part of this is just due to the kind of conditions that the construction industry is like in this town. He's in no way interested in dealing with someone like Kintaro and the two thrash it out some but it's when he learns that Kintaro is slated for Kurokawa's position someday that he starts to really put Kintaro through the ringer so that he can understand exactly what the real world is like outside of the main office.In Summary:
Salaryman Kintaro continues to be a really fun show as it tries to balance being over the top yet still based in a semblance of reality of the salaryman and other office workers. Getting into his past brings some amusing moments as does the time spent with the old woman who turns out to be more than you suspect at first. The cast has grown quite a bit now but the secondary characters really help make the show, from the way his co-workers deal with changes at Yamato to women who are trying to make him their own. The entire mother/daughter pursuit team is amusing enough in and of itself. With only one volume to go I don't expect the show to do much beyond set up Kintaro for the next phase of his life. Regardless, this has been a fun over the top journey with some very colorful characters in the business and crime worlds.
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.