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Salaryman Kintaro Volume 1 
Written by: on April 21st, 2005

Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2005
Director: Tomoharu Katsumata
Cast: Taisei Miyamoto, Kiyoshi Kawakubo, Nachi Nozawa, Katsuhisa Houki

DVD Released:May 31st, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo
DVD Release: Artsmagic
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95

Yajima Kintaro is the former leader of a biker gang that at one point was 10,000 members strong. He disbanded the gang and decided to go straight after falling in love with a blind girl named Akami. Years later he returns to Hasshu his former stomping ground after the death of his wife Akami who died while giving birth to their son. Now Kintaro with a child to take care of and support is about to start his new job as a salary man.

Episode #1: Today is Kintaro’s first day at his new job Yamato construction. Kintaro quickly establishes himself from the rest of the pack when he angers one of the executive director’s Kurokawa. After an initial disagreement Kintaro becomes friends with the departing executive director’s Kurokawa who is leaving the company because of health reasons.

Episode #2: It is payday and a couple of Kintaro’s co-workers invite him out for drinks. As usual Kintaro is the life of the party and some Yakuza get jealous when one of the waitresses spends too much time with Kintaro. After Kintaro and his co-workers kick the shit out of the Yakuza at the bar the next day they show at Yamato construction with a few of their friends.

Episode #3: Kintaro is invited by the CEO of Yamato construction to go on a fishing trip. Once again Kintaro comes to the rescues as he saves and young girl and her family before their care falls off a cliff. The young girl that Kintaro saved has developed a crush for him and she also happens to be his boss’s granddaughter.

Episode #4: Kintaro on his way home from his fishing trip while riding on a train he is re-united with a former member of his gang Toru who now happens to be a drag queen. A few of the executive board members at the insistence of the Yamato construction president plot to get rid of Kintaro. Across town a group of co-workers are discussing their own sinister plot on how to remove the president of the Yamato construction.

Salaryman Kintaro focuses on primarily on two things his relationship with his infant son and his relationship with his co-workers. Even though Kintaro is a free spirit is he pushed hard enough his temper when unleashed is imposing. The series bares a faint resemblance to Kazuo Koike’s Lone Wolf and Cub which is also about a father and son who must overcome many obstacles. Kintaro as the series goes on and we are shown more of his past appears to be deeply moved by the death of his wife and now his tries to cope with his loss through helping others. Salaryman Kintaro features action and stylized violence that rivals classic anime series like Ghost in a Shell and Cowboy Bebop. Overall the series has a strong storyline that is benefited by well defined characters that are allowed to grow as individuals.

The DVD:

Artsmagic presents Salaryman Kintaro is an anamorphic widescreen that preserves its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors look bold and lucid with an exceptional amount of detail present through out. Black levels remain constant and there are nor problems with edge enhancement or compression. The overall source material used is in excellent shape.

This DVD comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Stereo. Both of these audio tracks are presented in this releases original Japanese language. The dialog comes through crisply and the action sounds robust as both mixes make full use of all the speakers. There are no problems with hiss or distortion.
Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.

The extras for this release are pretty standard for an anime release they include two interviews one with the producer and the other with the director of this series. They discuss the Salaryman Kintaro series and the future of anime.

Overall Artsmagic has put together another slickly produce package that showcases this series strong points. Salaryman Kintaro has all the makings of a classic anime series, recommended.

For more information about Salaryman Kintaro visit Artsmagic here.

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