Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     February 23, 2004
Release Date: February 24, 2004


Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #5
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Kyo faces incredible odds when the Mibu clan attacks again. And another fiery figure from Kyo's past emerges from the shadows to wreak even more havoc on Kyo's already treacherous life.

The Review!
Kyo gets things set up for the final big battles to come in the next and final volume, but they also decide to just completely throw lots of little bits at you here as well.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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 has picked up a bit since the last volume and is more noticeable around parts of the characters, but not a showstopper. Aliasing is about the same as the past volumes, but the strange rolling effect has cropped up much more noticeable throughout these episodes during panning sequences.

Packaging:
Similar to previous releases, the cover artwork here is fantastic with its wood look and feel. Hotaru and Akira get the cover this time with some really good looking blues and oranges mixed with their designs. 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. The features and production information is nicely listed as well, making it easy to check out the specs. The insert goes back to the multiple panel format with an interview with Akimine Kamijyo as well as a listing of the discs chapters.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
The only extra included in this release is the dub outtakes section.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the fourth volume of Samurai Deeper Kyo, we thought we had gotten back onto the right path with the series and understood where it was coming from and where it was going. The recap episode towards the end of that release did a great job of putting everything into perspective, getting all the important characters highlighted again as well as tying things together so that we could tell why things were happening as they were. While it didn't make the series better, it made it so we could understand what was going on. Something about the earlier volumes just weren't clicking with us.

With the start of this volume, it feels like this earlier volumes again as things seem to be just happening for the sake of happening. While I'm quite sure that's not the case, the lack of clicking is occurring once more and all I see is a series of actions and dialogue that doesn't really connect all that well. We start to see more of the duo that worked and lived by Kyo's side when he was the ultimate badass of the lands. Hotaru and Akira's desires for challenge and destruction while with Kyo during this time is shown quite well here, though there are differences in how each of them views things. Hotaru continues to look for the stronger challenges to fight while Akira simply enjoys the time with Kyo.

With Hotaru now being the one that has Kyo's body, he's intent on making Kyo fight hard for it and give him the challenge he's been craving for. This starts to show with Lady Okuni tracking him down and dealing with Meigara at the same time. Through her reaching Hotaru and his display of Kyo's body, we start to get more information on Meigara's past as well and how he's a special member of the family that can see into the future and is used to help keep the timeline pure so that the Mibu clan can keep their position. But even that's gone down the tubes lately, particularly since Masama having used the clans' special powers to reverse age himself so that he can deal with Kyo.

There's a number of other areas that get touched upon, such as Sanada trying to gain access to the Mibu clans power so that he can ensure that the Sanada's will remain in real power for some time to come, and then there is a piece that goes on about how Yuya will be the one in the end that will keep Kyoshiro based in reality while he goes against such a powerful adversary to get his body back. Her role has been destined to be very important since the start, but they're getting overt about it. But then again, considering that I've been watching this and each episode seems to make no sense for large chunks of it, I may be misinterpreting it completely.

In Summary:
The uneven nature of the series in the beginning with it shifting between serious and comedic isn't a problem here as we get closer to the end of the series, but the storytelling itself seems to be getting uneven as they try to bring in a number of elements to flesh out the backstory some more. This just continues to feel like last minute padding that should have been revealed earlier. With little action and mostly confusing dialogue, this section of the series left us cringing.

Features
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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