Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #3 -

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: 100
  • 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     November 14, 2003
Release Date: October 28, 2003

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #3
© Media Blasters

What They Say
Deep within the Sea of Trees, a young boy waits for Demon Eyes Kyo. Just like Kyo, Sasuke wields a katana sword and is rumored to be the Tenrou, one of the True Muramasa with power to change the world. There is one way to prove who is the real Tenrou. Lurking in the shadows is the evil army of Jyunishinshou, and they want to destroy Sasuke and Kyo!

The Review!
Bringing the series to the halfway mark, Kyo’s journey to find his body brings him to the Sea of Trees and some interesting new challenges.

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. While with some tracks it’s not as easy to discern stereo mixes – particularly if you have a wide forward soundstage, but there’s several excellent moments in this release including an amusing left/right sequence with some of the music. 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.

Similar to previous releases, the cover artwork here is fantastic with its wood look and feel, this time with Benitora striking a “cool” pose that he’d naturally do. This looks quite good here with the color and artwork style, giving it a rough natural feel that you don’t get from the slick and colorful animation. 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 only extra included in this release is the dub outtakes section, which while still having several good moments like the previous volume, only runs about half the time.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the third volume bringing us up to and past the first half of the series, the usual formula slides nicely into place where some time is spent with the secondary characters, the journey brings in some new people and the animation tends to slack off in a few areas.

The opening episode is a pretty decent one that gives Benitora some focus as it goes to explore more of his past, something we’ve gotten hints of in previous episodes. As he continues to travel along, occasionally splitting off from Kyo and his group and returning later, he ends up in a place that brings back a number of memories from when he was a pupil in the arts he’s chosen. Though not expecting anything, he’s not too surprised when Brother Gihyo shows up. Gihyo was a fellow student along with Benitora who went to learn the Shinkage style many years back at a time when the style was just truly starting after the master had split from the Tokugawa.

Though both men gained skill and strength through the training, things did not work out as Benitora would have thought as Gihyo ended up slaying their master and he’s now a part of the current group of villains stalking the land and hunting down Kyo. With a past that he feels needs to be avenged and an equally solid reason to take him on in the present, Benitora and Gihyo go for the big fight sequence, mixed in with elements from the past, to try and resolve their issues. It’s a fairly standard story, but it’s nicely told and it keeps Benitora mostly serious for the duration of the episode, something that’s needed after all the light and comical moments he’s brought into the show so far.

While back on the trail proper, Kyo and the group continue their journey for him to find his true body that will bring him back to his real power level. Yukimura continues to play a game of his own in leading and directing Kyo towards it, though Kyo resists against him at the strangest of times. The journey this time will lead them through the Sea of Trees, as massive area of forests near Fuji where things are no longer the same as they once were. The people who live in there, though few outside of the Sea will call them people, rarely leave there home because they’ve become different over time. It doesn’t seem to be physical, at least from the few we meet here, but they’re like others who have been changed in the recent years with stronger and more deadly skills and abilities.

Since Kyo doesn’t know his way through the Sea of Trees, Yukimura has sent a young lad named Sasuke to lead them through since he’s a native of the area. While Yukimura has some form of control over Sasuke, Sasuke is still someone who has his own pride. Upon finally coming across Kyo, the two end up in a near instant challenge over their swords, since both are Muramasa swords and supposedly the same special kind, something that should not be. Between the duel and the uneasy alliance that the two have, their journey through the Sea of Trees is interesting just in that.

Of course, the Lord is continuing to send his various minions to find Kyo and this time is no exception, as the arrogant and powerful warriors are eager to take him on believing that they’ll be victorious. Some local flavor is added in as well as the current overly powered up transforming villain has brought a resident of the Sea of Trees with him as well, which leads to some past memories and tense moments when Sasuke and he finally meet up and Sasuke finally recognizes him.

In Summary:
There isn’t a heck of a lot of revelations or new things going on these episodes as the show is really just moving along in the journey and filling in the cast. While the cast has grown, it’s kept relatively small during the individual episodes which is giving more of a chance to get familiar with them, though Kyo still gets plenty of screen time. With this being the slow down period, some of the animation takes a slight dive in how it looks, particularly during mid-range walking sequences where the characters don’t even feel like they’re in the same show, but they’re pretty minimal.

Kyo doesn’t make any radical changes in story or direction here, so if you’ve liked what’s come before, this is essentially more of the same.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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