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. #5
By Chris Beveridge
April 01, 2006
Release Date: March 28, 2006
What They Say
As Kintaro climbs higher up the ladder of success, he comes to the attention of certain parties who would like nothing more than to see him taken out of the picture.
With the yakuza orchestrating a series of deadly explosions that threatens everything and everybody Kintaro holds dear, our honorable office worker must struggle to maintain his composure and not revert back to his violent past self.The Review!
The competition with Hokuto gets really intense as the series draws to a dramatic and over the top close.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:
While it's less of a piece where the collage of different character designs are coming together, this cover manages to flow better than a lto of the earlier ones with the color design and the fact that most of the lower background is made up of his biker group and the shot of him in anger in the foreground blends well with it. 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.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 final part of the directors' interview is here as well as the final interview with the producer. Between both of them, they run about twelve minutes or so.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In its final arc, Salaryman Kintaro gives Kintaro the biggest challenge he's had to face yet and one where once again the yakuza and darker side of business surfaces. While he's had some lucky dealings in the past where he reputation preceded him, he's less fortunate this time around but as is the nature of the series, each incident has a coincidence that sets the stage for great things to happen.
The move to Kohoku has been an interesting one overall since it gives Kintaro a chance to actually take on the position of a full salaryman but one where he hasn't spent the time earning the trust and respect of those around him. He's been working hard in the mindset of doing good for the company but so much of what's come before has been him mastering a team of people or being the single person that's had to go in and correct things that he does make some mistakes along the way. A lot of it is just pure Japanese business style and how lifetime employees and other salarymen deal with each other. But Kintaro has found that he's taken the wrong approach with this branch for Yamato and has not worked with them as a team. So much of what he's done, even after earning the sub chiefs trust, still has him on the outs with most of the staff.
In a way, it's not too surprising considering how the construction business in Kohoku has been changing in the past seven years since the arrival of the bureaucrat driven Hokuto Construction. Their move of being a company that doesn't do any real work but contracts out to others that they end up acquiring in mergers and buyouts is a fairly standard business practice but it leads to a lot of the kinds of issues that surprise Kintaro here. The level of corruption is pretty strong and we see it displayed easily in both the bid-rigged contract method and even in the regular method when everyone realizes that they may have a shot at working on the Civic Center. The entire bid process for that was a lot of fun to watch as other companies realizes what kind of opening that Kintaro had given them and how they felt that there might really be a chance at getting a job in with the city.
Salaryman Kintaro does of course go into the over the top realm with some of the things it does by playing the yakuza into things where they actively send off mail bombs to take down people that are close to Kintaro and the Yamato folks. His reaction to it isn't surprising and it was something that's been long expected since the beginning of the series where we'd have a huge number of members of his old gang coming out at his call to bring down revenge on those who need it. The two episodes where this plays out is incredibly fun to watch but mostly because it is so over the top. You have to love the kinds of headlines that get thrown out at Kintaro's arrest such as the reckless driving and the like. You get five thousand gang members out there and this is the best they can do.
One thing that became very apparent at the end of the series is that a lot of the best characters were sadly shuffled off to very minor status as the whole thing progressed. As much as I've enjoyed both this arc and the previous one with the tunnel construction, it's taken us away from the President and others at the top level that had been affected by his arrival and style of business as well as his connections. They make some good appearances at the end here and are key characters in the events but they serve more to remind of just how good those opening episodes were. The characters that end up missing out the most though, and ones I really want to see more of, are the mother and daughter pair that both have that attraction for him. Having seen the mother bed Kintaro already and the kind of waves that caused, it really deserved a lot more attention.In Summary:
Sadly, as enjoyable as this show was, it hit a really limited market due to there not being a dub and the very limited advertising that ArtsMagic could do for it. I'm glad that they took a chance on it and finished it out, but at the same time this is the kind of show that you wish could have been picked up by someone who would have been able to tentpole it with the manga releases since that series would really fill the need. Salaryman manga are wildly popular among salarymen for obvious reasons but there's little real chance of it catching on over here in any degree even though there would definitely be a level of interest. The anime series has been a real joy to watch because it's unlike so many other shows out there and its clichés and quirks are new in their own way. Salaryman Kintaro is incredibly melodramatic and over the top at times as well as filled with coincidences that would make a man feel gifted, but in the end it was a very entertaining show that just ran wild and did what it wanted to do. If you're looking for something quirky and different that you haven't seen a million times before, this is the show to check out.
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.