Wrath of the Ninja - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 87
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Wrath of the Ninja

Wrath of the Ninja

By Chris Beveridge     June 15, 1999
Release Date: June 15, 1999


Wrath of the Ninja
© Central Park Media


What They Say
The year is 1580, and the unholy armies of Lord Nobunaga Oda steadily spread across Japan. Narrowly escaping the slaughter of her clan, a young ninja steals into the shadows. She is Ayame, the last of the Kasumi Clan, and the dagger she wields is one of three mystical blades. She is joined by Sakon and Ryoma - renegade ninja and the possessors of the sacred sword and spear. Now, these shadow warriors must unite their weapons and skills to fulfill the Prophecy of the Enchanted Swords - or die trying…

The Review!
Wrath of the Ninja's audio is pretty good. While focusing mainly on the front soundstage, there are several instances of sounds going to the rear channels that really sounds great during those sequences, especially the rain ones. Voices are clean and clear and ambient sounds are well placed.

The video is exceptionally clean and clear, and there are several very vibrant areas where colors just shine through. I initially watched this with my normal setup and then scanned through it again after getting my DVD player set up for S-video, and things looked even better. Very sharp.

I'm still pretty ambivelant about the packaging however. Artwise, it's pretty nice with a strong central character on the front. The rear jacket provides a lot of information about the disc and its features (always a plus!) and information on the DVD-ROM side of it as well. So where's the ambivalence? The keepcase is clear. Yes, clear keepcase. I'm guessing the idea behind it is to allow them to not have to do a printed insert (which some licensors won't allow, as it changes the product to some other category and costs more) and to let the back of the jacket show through for the various extra information. And there is a bunch of useful information on the inside now that's a lot easier to get to. But I'm just not sure on the clear yet. It doesn't really become noticeable on the shelf next to all the other discs, but everyone I handed it to looked at it in surprise.

The menus for CPM titles continue to improve. While there's nothing overly stunning about it, it's a definite improvement over this time last year. An animation runs in a right window, and colorful menu selections are available. Everything moves quickly and properly.

As for the show itself? I enjoyed it, though it was confusing at times. One point of early confusion came as the main character, Ayame, mentions the year. Then as we move into the second segment, the subtitles list the year earlier even though it takes place a year after where we had just left off. I'm even confused by that sentence!

Wrath of the Ninja, originally produced back in 1989, may seem a bit dated or even unoriginal compared to more recent shows. Over the years, portions have been lifted to other shows, and it's not as striking as it once was. The animation for the time was considered fantastic, and it still looks exceptionally good, but nowhere near where it was once listed as.

And for those wondering, this disc appears to be a near-dubtitle. The Wrath of the Ninja movie is essentially a cutting of three 45 minute OVA's into one 90 minute movie. Guess how much was lost? Essentially one episode. I don't know whether this was done in Japan as well, but the US release of the movie was presented as a dub only, while the OVA's were subtitled. Several sections of the subtitles vary from a little to a lot compared to the dub, but a lot of it is almost identical. Has dubbing come that far to be that close to the sub? I hadn't thought so, but maybe.

While the movie was enjoyable, and the disc of excellent production values, I would hope that in the future we can see a Wrath of the Ninja: Perfect Collection with the subtitled OVA's presented on them. I'd even pay another 10 bucks over the list price of this disc to have that.

Features
English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Language,Bonus Footage

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.

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