Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: C+
- Packaging Rating: C+
- Menus Rating: C+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 24.98
- Running time: 45
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Samurai, The
By Chris Beveridge
April 10, 2003
Release Date: April 22, 2003
What They Say
© ADV Films
Years ago, a samurai warrior defeated a Ninja master in mortal combat. Now, many years later, the son of the samurai is peacefully attending high school... peacefully, that is, until the two nubile young granddaughters of the defeated Ninja arrive seeking revenge! Fortunately, our hero has mastered all of the skills of his father's art... but unfortunately, the naughty ninjettes have discovered his one weakness! Can our chaste and honorable hero resist their nefarious plots and pulchritude or will the nasty ninja girls triumph? Is sex mightier than the sword? The entire Japanese educational system and most of the surrounding village gets leveled in THE SAMURAI!The Review!
ADV makes the surprising move of going back to the late 80’s and picking up a standalone OVA that doesn’t quite fit with most of its current catalog.Audio
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Both tracks are pretty standard stereo mixes with some good moments of directionality during some key scenes, but otherwise is solid with little standing out. Dialogue is crisp and clean throughout and we noted no dropouts or distortions on either track.Video
Originally released in 1987, The Samurai shows its origins in both animation style and age in general. The transfer itself is very good but it really brings out the natural inherent flaws in the animation itself. This is the kind of show where you can see things like thumbprints in the paint, the brush strokes that missed areas and other little things like that. There’s also a fair amount of jitter throughout the program, not just during scene transitions. Adding to the age is the continual presence of minor nicks and scratches throughout the entire program. Colors look good and there’s pretty much no noticeable cross coloration, but there is a fair bit of aliasing along the more detailed areas of line work.Packaging
With the simple shot of the lead character and the slightly staggered logo along the bottom, the first impression I got with this cover was some sort of weird Dragonball like show, though the two have pretty much nothing in common. The artwork here is pretty plain with Takeshi in his traditional outfit with a small part of his sword visible set against a blue sky and some trees. The back cover does a bit better as it provides a curved image with a collage of shots from the show that better indicate its style. There’s a simple summary of the shows premise and the basic production credits for both the original and the domestic release. The insert is another shot of the front cover while the reverse side has a key part of the show set against a listing of previews on the disc.Menu
With nothing on the disc outside of the show itself and some trailers, the main menu is a simple almost scary piece that’s hard to describe, other than it’s reminiscent of the front cover but with a much weirder character piece of artwork. With little here, access times are nice and fast and moving around is easy to do.Extras
: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When I first heard of this being licensed, I was curious to see what it would be like as ADV hasn’t really gone back to the vast well of late 80’s OVA’s that are still out there. There’s a number of good ones left, though most of the really high profile ones have been long released. When I first saw the trailer, I was even more curious since it looked like some of the more classic character designs that I continue to enjoy with the few series from the 80’s that continue to get released.
The premise of the show is simple. We’re introduced to Takeshi, a high school student who prefers to live with the traditional ways, which means he wears the classic outfit and gets away with carrying a sword to school. Takeshi does a lot of this out of respect for his apparently departed father, a master swordsman himself. Through flashbacks, we see a very young Takeshi and his mother watching his father and backer of the ninja style in a fight. The end result, with the ninja defeated, the important heirloom blade of the Toki family is transferred to the Chimatsuri family.
And all these years later, Takeshi Chimatsuri holds onto this sword as a strong memento of his father. Takeshi’s slightly different take on life is generally something that doesn’t affect his school life, but it looks like that school life is a bit weird to begin with. When we follow him to school, late of course, we find that his particular classroom is being held up by robbers. Talk about really nonsensical, but it gives Takeshi a chance to arrive in an action moment, whip out his sword, spout off some “classic” dialogue from the samurai dramas and then be the hero.
But this is all just minor setup. The classroom gets thrown into even more chaos as two new transfer students arrive in the form of twin girls named Akari and Kagiri. These two beautiful girls are night and day though in some important respects. As the class hunk attempts to date one of them and all the boys them try to muscle in, she essentially strips down on the teachers desk and waits for the victor. Akarai on the other hand cannot even stand to be touched by a man and goes ballistic whenever it happens.
This all leads to the rash revelation that the two girls are actually the daughters of the ninja that Takeshi’s father defeated all those years ago and are intent on winning back the heirloom. And so, they challenge him to a fight. Unfortunately for Takeshi, he’s such a schmuck when it comes to women that the sight of them often sends him into blood spurting fountain maneuvers. And with Kagiri having no problems taking her clothes off and doing more to get the heirloom, he’s in serious trouble.
Thankfully, he has friends and a teacher who come up with some cunning ways to help solve the problem so that they can return to a normal school life, and the show begins to move into that realm as well as exploring more of the pasts of the parents and bringing more of the families themselves into play. With it’s running time of forty five minutes, they do a good job of keeping the show moving and mixing the humor and action without really hitting you over the head.
There’s a lot of nudity throughout it as well, though more in the 80’s style that we’ve seen in a number of shows from that time. It’s very reminiscent, along with other aspects, of ADV’s original acquisition of Devil Hunter Yohko. The two definitely share a number of similar traits. It’s also been some time since they’ve acquired a single OVA show like this, which is something that’s been seemingly relegated to other companies as most of the “big” companies focus on the high profile series.
Shows like The Samurai generally go over well with us, partially from nostalgia to the time when we were really getting into shows with scripts and raws, but also for having some irreverence that you really don’t see in a lot of releases these days. The Samurai is a fun little show that achieves what it sets out to do, and that’s to entertain.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.