Samurai Showdown: The Motion Picture -

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Mania Grade: D

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 80
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Samurai Showdown

Samurai Showdown: The Motion Picture

By Andrew Tei     October 14, 2003
Release Date: March 04, 2003

Samurai Showdown: The Motion Picture
© ADV Films

What They Say
One hundred years after their deaths, six legendary holy warriors are reborn to seek justice against the former comrade who betrayed them into the hands of an evil god! The six warriors search the feudal province of Edo questing for the last Saint Soldier, Haohmaru, and their sworn nemesis Shirou Amakusa. Will the followers of the divine light triumph over the forces of darkness, or is history destined to repeat itself? Before their hundred-year journey has ended, six samurai will prove that the only thing stronger than their holy blades is the steel of their wills!

The Review!
From the depths of the ADV catalogue, comes Samurai Shodown. Based on the SNK arcade game, this TV special that aired in Japan is unleashed as a movie in the United States. And we all wish it stayed in Japan.


We?ll never know what the Japanese got to listen to, since the original language dub isn?t provided. So I set myself to listening to the ADV?s dub. This is one of the oldest ADV dubs I?ve ever listened to. When?s the last time we got to have Matt Greenfield as Earthquake, and Tiffany Grant using a French accent as Charlotte. It?s a stereo soundtrack, though except of the music, nothing takes advantage of it. All dialogue and sound effects are targeted towards the front soundstage.


Samurai Shodown aired in Japan in 1993, but I?m very impressed with how the video quality has kept up. There were only a few marks on the print used to encode this. Colors were for the most part bright, and very few compression artifacts were present.


Twelve characters from the game adorn the front cover, surrounded by flames and lightning. The logo is on top, with the following placed above, ?You?ve played the Game. Now see the Movie!? On the back, we?ve got a pretty good description of the show, three screenshots, and some more character art. No inserts are present.


Before we get to see the main menu after loading up the DVD, we get a front-loaded ad for Newtype magazine. BOOOOOO! Except for the scene selection screen, every menu is motionless. No artwork from the show is present in the menus, and the ending theme song from the show plays on every menu. You can really tell that this is part of a budget line of titles.



Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Take a video game, grab as many characters as you can from it, get them to fight a lot, and add a plot to it. Samurai Shodown accomplishes all of that, poorly.

In 1787, Japan is in a state of chaos as war rages on. Amakusu Shirou has betrayed the other six members of the holy warriors by selling her soul to the demon Ambosia. The remaining holy warriors, led by Haohmaru, lead a final attack against Amakusu, but they all end up losing their lives. At the last minute though, their souls escape to be reborn one hundred years later. This stops Amakusu?s plans also, and she prepares for their reincarnation.

One hundred years later, Japan seems to be in peace. Haohmaru has been reborn, but he has no knowledge of his past, but his fighting skill and strength are present. The other five holy warriors have already gotten together with their memories, and are seaching for Haohmaru. Amakusu is also preparing for the coming of the holy warriors, and sends her warriors out to search for them.

Eventually the holy warriors find Haohmaru, but he?s unconvinced of his past. Unfortunately, his discovery by the holy warriors leads Amakusu?s forces to him, where they proceed to destroy his village. This only leads to an enraged Haohmaru, but that?s exactly what Amakusu wants. Haohmaru discovers that Amakusu is the enemy, and goes after her alone. In the end though, only when the remaining six holy warriors are together, will it be possible to defeat Amakusu.

A large number of characters from the game are present in the anime, to its detriment. Since there are so many characters present, there?s very little focus on the characters themselves with the exception of Haohmaru. Amakusu?s back-story could have used some fleshing out. In the end, it?s hard to feel anything for any of the characters.

Of course, there are plenty of fight scenes, though for the most part, they are extremely one sided. Either the characters from the game are fighting some pitiful normal human, or if they are fighting one of the other characters, one character always obviously has a huge advantage. For a fighting anime, the fights sure aren?t very exciting.

Perhaps if I?d ever have played the fighting game, I might be a little more interested in the show. Since I know nothing about the characters, all that?s left that I could enjoy are the fight scenes and the plot. Neither kept my attention at all, as the plot is precariously thin. Unless you?re a die-hard fan of the game, you?re going to be skipping this.

English Language

Review Equipment
Toshiba 3109 to a Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears


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