Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Samurai Deeper Kyo

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     September 03, 2003
Release Date: August 26, 2003

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #2
© Media Blasters

What They Say
Benitora enters the tournament to prove his independence from the Tokugawa family, but his first opponent is none other than Demon Eyes Kyo. Even though he is overmatched, Benitora swears to fight to the finish!

The Review!
After a hectic and action filled first volume, the show settles down a bit here and lets the characters spend some time breathing and getting more familiar.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show has a pretty solid stereo mix with some good moments of directionality and depth throughout. Dialogue was nice and clear and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2002, Samurai Deeper is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is encoded for anamorphic playback. The bulk of the transfer here looks great, lots of rich colors with nice depth and no visible bleeding and no noticeable edge enhancement. Cross coloration is also pretty much non-existent here, though the main problem we ended up having was a fair amount of aliasing cropping up during the camera panning sequences, both left and right as well as up and down. Other than that, this is a really nice looking transfer.

Using the same dark and highly detailed style, the second volume has a fantastic image of Migeira on it with his hand over the mask on his face. There?s lots of dark colors and wood backdrop imagery here that really gives it a great earthy and rough feel as well as the eye-catching logo. The back cover provides a number of animation stills and some collage pieces while providing the shows summary. The discs features are clearly listed and accurate, unlike the first volume. The features and production information is nicely listed as well, making it easy to check out the specs. The insert is a very detailed piece that has two panels worth of historical background, attack moves and a glossary as well as providing basic chapter stops.

The menu layout is nice with selections ring in the four corners while the central ?play all? feature is in the Kyo logo in the center. Through the center bar is various images from the show playing back. When you move to submenus, there?s a brief transitional yin/yang animation that plays as well. Access times are decent and each menu loads pretty quickly.

The on disc extras this time around are accurate and good, which include the textless opening and ending sequence in anamorphic. There?s also about five minutes worth of dub outtakes and these are better than a lot of what we?ve gotten recently in other series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of the series introduced a somewhat new setting by having the storyline set earlier than most anime series work in and by bringing in an element of the fantastic by having a meteorite crash, thereby causing all sorts of changes and powers to exist that normally wouldn?t. Add in the mix of real world people and their politics and ambitions, though twisted to fit the needs of the series, and there was simply a lot to take in quickly. Especially when your lead character is the secondary personality for the first couple of episodes in another body.

With the second volume, Kyoshiro is pretty much submerged entirely and only makes a brief flashback appearance. Otherwise, Demon Eyes Kyo is definitely the dominant personality in the body and he?s moving along to his objectives and his agenda, which just happens to coincide with a few other people at the moment. Yukima Sanada continues his belief that he?s using Kyo for his own purposes, but this is a situation where Kyo is in completely control but just letting others believe their own thing. When he jokingly calls a couple of them his servants, they take offense, but don?t realize that they really are simply serving his goals.

Those goals bring him to Edo along with Benitora, Yukima and Yuya where there?s a tournament competition being held by Tokugawa for the strongest fighter in the land. The prize is supposedly something quite powerful and priceless. Naturally, the three men end up in the competition though there are issues with it. Yukima changes into Kohaku to avoid immediate notice while Benitora tries to avoid seeing too many people since he?s in the bad position of having refused successorship of the Shogunate from his father. The competition itself though brings a few episodes worth of interesting fight sequences and a good number of revelations.

The most interesting comes from someone new, a powerful and mysterious white haired man named Migeira. He continually talks about the various people he comes across, such as one situation where he?s describing Kohaku?s opponent to Yuya, but describing him as what he?ll do in his lifetime as opposed to what he?s done. Much of what he talks about is in the future tense, which serves to only confuse Yuya. His later dialogue, after various events have brought about situations that have diverged even more from what we know as history come up, Migeira goes on about how none of this is right anymore and that the five Muramasa swords must be brought together to fix everything.

Naturally, Kyo?s got one of those swords. But his interest continues to be only in finding his body so he can again become the truly strongest in the land. His agenda takes center stage again after dealing with the tournament, but he also learns who his real enemy may be as we discover the bigger forces at play here working for a mysterious entity known simply as The Lord. He?s also in search of Kyo?s body for his own purposes, and this sets things up for the next part of the series as we see Kyo face off against his minions, interesting ones to be sure.

The first volume of Kyo left us really uncertain about the show. It didn?t have the best balance since at times it seemed like it was inserting the humor into the wrong places. There?s still humor to be found on this volume, but it?s considerably less and it?s better placed than before. The show has gotten more serious and the plots are shaping up as we get to know the entire field of characters better. The biggest part that caused problems early on in my mind is the entire two personality/one body confusion as we were trying to figure out was who. With that out of the way, things have smoothed out nicely.

Samurai Deeper Kyo has gotten more interesting in the second half of the first ten episodes. The arrival of a tournament made me cringe, based on so many action series using that as a fallback, but this one provided some interesting historical context to it and it played out quickly and with a purpose. Kyo definitely provides an entertaining samurai/action fix.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes,Textless Opening,Textless Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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