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Media Blasters presents
Rurouni Kenshin—Wandering Samurai #4: False Prophet (1997)

Kaoru: I wish we had students lining up at our doors.Yahiko: Yeah, but you're lacking sex appeal and mastery.Kaoru: What was that?!
- Miki Fujitani, Yuji Ueda

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: June 20, 2002

Stars: Mayo Suzukaze, Miki Fujitani, Yuji Ueda
Other Stars: Akio Otsuka, Mika Doi
Director: Kazuhiro Furuhashi

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence, some suggestive themes)
Run Time: 02h:04m:09s
Release Date: December 09, 2000
UPC: 631595200324
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- ACB- C-

DVD Review

Here, in the fourth volume of Rurouni Kenshin, things are a bit lighter than usual. Rather than a disc-length storyline in which Kenshin and friends are pitted against some great evil, here the stories are very self-contained and more "slice of life"-based, rather than fitting in to some grander scheme. As the disc begins, Kenshin and Kaoru encounter a sumo wrestler, Toramaru, who seems to be displaced from his training stable. In typical fashion, Kaoru takes pity on him and takes him in to her martial arts school. She decides to continue his sumo training, and while that sounds odd to Kenshin and the rest, she manages to accomplish it quite well, turning Toramaru into an impressive pupil. This bothers his former classmates and trainers, so the bulk of the sumo school comes after them all, hoping to beat up Toramaru enough so that he can no longer practice sumo.Later on, Megumi makes a return appearance (after having been previously rescued from a crime syndicate), and her medical practice has taken off quite well. Unfortunately, a group of scam artists move into the town, and pretend that their weird prayers and mysterious chanting is a cure-all for everything, so long as the price is right. Megumi must deal with this travesty with the help of Kenshin, of course. Eventually, things a bit more serious when it is later revealed there is another retired man-slayer in town, Kenshin's former master, who was a Battousai warrior, like Kenshin once was. Unfortunately, a gang of baddies want Kenshin's master to join their group, which puts everyone in a rather awkward position, even if he refuses. All in all, this is a very busy disc, with a lot going on, and with basically self-contained episodes. It's a nice change of pace from the linear aspects of the previous volumes, and while these stories technically qualify as 'filler', at least it's very good filler. It's amazing that the writing and directing team can keep hitting home runs like this, but as with previous volumes, there just isn't a bad episode in the lot. They're extremely well paced and filled with humor, personality, and some action of course. It's lots of fun and packs a lot of depth for just the basic, 25-minute run time of each show. The reputation of Rurouni Kenshin is upheld well, even though the stories have moved away, at least temporarily, from any singular plotline. Viewers simply can't go wrong with this series.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: While previous volumes always had little problems here and there, this disc seems to be weaker, overall. The biggest issue is the extremely washed out black level. There is an obvious, white haze over the transfer, that's especially apparent whenever there's a fade to black or an extremely dark scene. So, everything suffers, especially clarity. The episodes still look reasonably good, with a sharp, uncluttered transfer, but the washed-out problems lead to a very weak image when one considers the vibrant nature of the show. On the reverse side, though, the aliasing and hard "rainbow" edge problems of previous volumes are gone.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 2.0 track is pretty much just a stereo track, with so surround activity. It's active and well balanced, though, and the musical score is nicely charged up. The English dub is basically the same, but the dialogue stands out a bit more as most dubs do.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Fanart Gallery
  2. Outtakes
Extras Review: On top of the usual liner notes and examinations of Japanese terms is a gallery of Kenshin-themed fan art, the winners of a contest announced on an earlier volume. Additionally, there are some outtakes of the English dub, including flubbed lines and such.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Kenshin remains strong and bold, entertaining effortlessly. Consider yourself lucky if some store near you rents this series, because you'll be well stocked for quite some time. If not, your anime money could not really go much better spent when you're talking about TV series discs.

 


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