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ADV Films presents
The Samurai (1987)

"Is sex mightier than the sword?"
- from promotional description

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: April 21, 2003

Stars: Hori Hiroyuki, Hidaka Noriko, Nagai Ichiroo
Other Stars: Ikeda Shuuichi, Inoue Yoo
Director: Kazuo Tamazaki

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity)
Run Time: 00h:44m:12s
Release Date: April 22, 2003
UPC: 702727025624
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BBB D-

DVD Review

It's pretty much a fact that the longer you watch Japanese animation, the more likely you're bound to stumble across stuff that's pretty wacky and altogether insane. A lot of people who don't know much about anime tend to think of the genre as something completely out there, filled with kinetic images of violence, nudity, and almost incomprehensible humor. That's obviously an exaggeration, but it does accurately describe the occasional anime film. In this case, The Samurai is precisely the kind of far-out movie that will leave most viewers scratching their heads, but probably laughing up a storm as well. It isn't serious drama, nor does it have a complex plot. Instead, it's just an excuse to get really, really wild, and for the most part, it works.

The story concerns young Takeshi Chimatsuri, a high-school student who also thinks he's a master swordsman of supernatural ability. Actually he is quite amazing, but his talent is muddled by his insistence on behaving like a feudal-era warrior, and also by the fact that the sight of naked, female flesh renders him utterly useless as a fighter. His troubles begin when, out of the blue, his class receives two new female students, Akari and Kagiri. Though they seem to be your average high school girls, they actually have a sinister motive for joining Chimatsuri's class: they wish to get revenge on him because his father won a sword in battle from their father many years ago. So, by getting naked and then applying their combat skills, they figure they can easily defeat Chimatsuri, take back the sword, and bring back honor to their family. Luckily, Takeshi has help in the form of his friends and teacher who want to "train" him to not collapse into a useless pile whenever he sees nude women.

This short (45 minutes) film basically revolves around this storyline, that Takeshi needs to build up resistance to nakedness and fight for his own honor. The problem is that he and the two mysterious girls virtually never stop fighting. In class, on the streets, wherever; they're constantly taking shots at each other—so much so that it becomes a threat to those around them. Underlying all this chaos is a story about whether or not all this obsessive swordsmanship and honor is worth all the fuss it has stirred up. The result is an amazingly strange but very funny piece of anime. While, yes, there's plenty of fan-service and nudity, it's done in a way that's more hilarious than merely gratuitous. Like a quick read through a comic book, The Samurai delivers a short jolt of frenetic entertainment and does the job well. There's little in the way of drama or serious plot to really get involved in or critique; it's a spoof of itself, really.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Although there are some age issues, mainly in the form of very minor source print marks and scuffles, the transfer is without any issue. Recorded at a high bitrate with no intrusion from poor mastering, the image looks to be about as good as it can get on DVD without access to superior prints.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Both the Japanese and English tracks are in what seems to be a 2-channel expansion of mono, with no real stereo effects apart from the opening song. Still, it's a functional track in which all of the elements mix together well and are as active and energetic as most of the film requires. The English dub, while not terrible, lacks some of the comic timing and cleverness the natural Japanese has.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extra features are contained on this disc, but the presentation is pleasant with an animated main menu, decent chapter stops, and reasonable cover art.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

If the above description of this film sounds remotely fun to you, than you'll probably like this short but super-silly comedy of errors that has some great moments to it.

 


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