Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #6 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     May 24, 2004
Release Date: May 11, 2004

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #6
© Media Blasters

What They Say
The five true Muramasa come together for a final showdown with Nobunaga. The great warlord has absorbed the powers of Kyo's allies, turning them all against the red-eyed samurai. Kyo survives the combined attacks of his comrades, but it is soon realized that the real cause of the chaos in the world is Kyo himself. To save the future, Kyo must be destroyed!

The Review!
Bringing the series to its conclusion, the timelines collide as the big powerful forces of human nature known as Kyo get into some serious action.

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 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.

While the artwork is in the same style, this final cover has less of the woodwork feel sinc eit's so heavy on the black, which works really well in highlighting the two personalities that we see in Kyo and Kyoshiro that are presented here. It's dark looking but it works very well. 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 is a one sheet once more with the chapter listings on one side and advertisements on the reverse side.

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 are 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.

This final volume provides a good number of extras, most likely from a pretty recent convention which may explain some of the delay in the final volumes release, with interviews with the staff of the series. There's a brief section of outtakes that gets a couple of good chuckles but other than that it's all about the Japanese staff. The series director, producer and character designer all get to talk about their experiences with the show, what they knew of it going in and how they had to interpret it and condense down the story. The interview sessions are pretty interesting to listen to and it shows some of what goes on behind the scenes in doing a manga to anime conversions.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the final four volumes, Samurai Deeper Kyo manages to keep the uneven feel of the previous volumes intact, making for both an exciting and confusing viewing experience. I'm still thinking that I can chalk some of this up due to a general lack of knowledge of Japanese history beyond some of the basics since there's so many famous people running around this show and that can affect the perceptions of it. Regardless, the final volume provides an ending and sense of closure to a series that hasn't had that happen in the manga that it's based off of yet.

With this being something of a traditional samurai show, albeit one with more powerful people and some supernatural gloss to it, the final episodes are all about the style and action as well as some exposition on what's really going on. Alright, a lot of exposition, especially very early on. We're brought right into the thick of things as Kyo and Hotaru are about to start their battle at the home of the Mibu clan and Hotaru is just completely bored by how uninteresting Kyoshiro is. He continues to go on about how he's nothing like his former self and almost not worth bothering with. With that in mind, Hotaru goes into a lengthy spiel about their pasts and what's really gone on with his battles with Akira and the reasons behind his own fight against Kyoshiro.

While this is typically interesting stuff, Hotaru's voice actor is doing everything in such a bland and almost lazy way that his feeling bored with the situation makes you feel bored with the situation. His exposition goes on far too long and it really just started boring the hell out of me that I was tempted to skim forward.

While this is going on and other friends of Kyoshiro arrive, Yukimura has spent his time sneaking into the Mibu compound so that he can acquire the final missing Muramasa item, a polearm of sorts that holds quite a lot of power. Kyoshiro ends up going through a few opponents on his way towards getting his body back, including Yukimura. This battle is actually one of the more interesting ones since it goes back to the kind of warrior battles that are generally well done where you have two opponents that are both friends and adversaries that look forward to fighting each other so they can test themselves against someone they respect as opposed to the scum that they usually end up dealing with.

All of it of course leads to the final big epic battle with Nobunaga and those he's surrounded himself with. His plans are still very much what was revealed several episodes ago except that he's actually got the Kyo body in his possession now and a greater strength at his disposal. But with a big battle, we need more? exposition! The truth behind who Kyo and Kyoshiro is finally told by Sakuya and the potential fallout from it and how it's affected the timeline becomes pretty obvious. The "science fiction" elements of the story get a bit more detail since the results from it allow Nobunaga to create more of the creatures that we haven't seen for awhile to become an entire nation of them. His world conquering plans, only possible due to the Kyo/Kyoshiro split, are plainly revealed and are set in front of the group.

The series wraps up in a way that you know someone's not going to be happy since you've got the split personalities and the knowledge that only one can survive, if that. But then that fits with the series in general. It's been interesting in a number of areas and then it goes off and does something inanely boring or stupid that you lose interest in it, only to have it be saved at the last moment by something interesting again. It's hard to say how much of this show suffers from the condensation of the manga or from the approach taken. The director talks how he decided that he'd retell the story through the Yuya's eyes so that it could be the same yet different. This explains why Yuya is around pretty much throughout the show, but it suffers because other than a few moments early on when she's intent on hunting down her brothers killer, her side of the story is left dangling until the last episode when some truths are revealed. From her view, the story is poorly told.

In Summary:
Samurai Deeper Kyo started off with some interesting ideas but ended up being rather confusing, more so for me due to the number of real life personalities that were being used for the story. With a lack of clarity in storytelling style and some very uneven pacing, the show was very hit or miss not only with each volume but within each episode itself. Some were fantastic and explained things well but then the next episode would seemingly ignore half of what was said and rewrite the rest of it. There are some great moments throughout it and some solid animation in places along with the character designs, but as a whole piece it really doesn't hold up well, much like this final set of episodes.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes,Directors Interview,Producers Interview,Character Designer Interview,Message to Western Fans

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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