Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 29th, 2005
|Theatrical Release Date: Japan, November 15th, 1980
Director: Norifumi Suzuki
Writers: Fumio Konami, Ichirô Ôtsu
Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Sonny Chiba, Etsuko Shihomi, Yuki Ninagawa, Tetsuro Tamba
|Approximate running time:||112 minutes||117 minutes|
|Aspect Ratio:||1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen||2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen|
|Sound:||Dolby Digital Stereo English||Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese with English subtitles|
|Region Coding:||Region 0 NTSC||Region 1 NTSC|
Brentwood’s Region 1 DVD
Adness’s Region 1 DVD
The Film :
Hideyoshi Toyotomi a power hungry warlord makes a pact with Shogen Shiranui (Sonny Chiba) too destroy the Momochi clan and find out were their cache of gold is hidden. After Shogen Shiranui and his men slaughter of the Momochi clan they are unable to retrieve the knife which contain engravings that are a map that tells were the gold is hidden. While his family was murder Takamaru (Hiroyuki Sanada) was secretly taken away by a loyal servant to his family and they took with them the knife that everyone is looking for. Ten years later now a man Takamaru returns to Japan to reform Momochi clan and exact revenge on those who killed his family.
Brentwood’s release is cropped and slightly letterboxed at about 1.85:1 instead of the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors’ bleeding into each other and the overall image looks worse then the VHS tape it was most likely sourced from. This interlaced transfer suffers for excessive artifacting which makes this release damn near unwatchable. Adness’s release presents Shogun’s Ninja in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 Toei scope aspect ratio. Colors look vibrant and are nicely saturated. Details remain sharp as the black levels remain strong through out. There is some noticeable grain and some minor instances of specs of dirt, still nothing that ever becomes too distracting. There are no problems with compression, artifacts and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. Overall this progressive transfer looks amazing as the image remains stable through out.
Brentwood’s release comes with only one audio option a English dubbed audio mix that is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. This track just completely runs that movie as the voice actors used sound just as bad as the ones typically used for classic Kung fu movies. The audio is easy to understand and there isn’t too much in the way of audio defects on this mix. The music and effects do sound distorted at times as they overpower the rest of the mix. Adness’s release comes with only one audio option the films original Japanese language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. Note there are also a few scenes in which a few characters speak in Chinese which like the Japanese dialog has been subtitled in English. This audio mix is in great shape as there are no problems with hiss or distortion. Dialog sounds crisp as it is always even to follow and understand. The music and effects sounds evenly mixed as they never over power the other. Another thing about the music and sound effects they sound fuller then they have ever sounded before. Overall this sound mix beat all my expectations and then some. This release comes with English subtitles that are easy to read and follow.
Brentwood like most budget companies DVD’s come with no extras. Shogun’s Ninja is part of Brentwood’s 10 Faces of Sonny Chiba set which includes nine other Sonny Chiba films. Adness’s release comes with the following extras trailers for Shogun’s Ninja, Karate Bullfighter, Karate Bearfighter, Karate for Life, Shogun’s Shadow, The Executioner and The Executioner 2: Karate Inferno.
Adness’s release besides being in the films original aspect ratio it is also five minutes longer then the Brentwood release. Adness’s release is hands down the better of the two as it easily beats Brentwood’s release in every way.