Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 11th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2009
Director: Kengo Kaji
Writers: Sôtarô Hayashi, Kengo Kaji
Cast: Yû Aiba, Takeshi Ayabe, Miki Hirase, Mitsuru Karahashi, Asuka Kataoka, Aino Kishi, Mihiro, Dai Mizuno, Mao Shiina, Kentarô Shimazu, Eri Shinmoto, Sarasa Tani, Yukari Tateishi
DVD released: November 17th, 2009
Approximate running time: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
DVD Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Synopsis: A deranged scientist obsessed with resurrection creates a female killing machine from the body parts of eleven girls who were raped and murdered by two of his former creations.
Samurai Princess was co-written and directed by Kengo Kaji, whose other screenwriting credits include Eko Eko Azarak 3 – Misa the Dark Angel, Uzumaki and Tokyo Gore Police. The style and gore in Samurai Princess is in line with films like The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police. The special effects masterminds behind those two films, Tsuyoshi Kazuno and Yoshihiro Nishimura are also behind the special effects for Samurai Princess. Besides directing films like Tokyo Gore Police and Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, Yoshihiro Nishimura has an extensive resume as a special effects supervisor which includes films like Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf, Sukeban Boy, Suicide Club, Exte: Hair Extensions, Noriko’s Dinner Table, Strange Circus and Love Exposure.
The kamikaze / cartoonish approach to the special effects, lends itself perfectly to the absurd story at hand. The film features some unusual weapons like breasts that are used a weapon that can be thrown and explode, a chainsaw protruding from a chest, scissor feet and the sound which emanates from a guitar. The plot is simple and quickly set into action as a future world where Mecha’s (reanimated corpses) have become the hunted when a few of them go berserk. While the film’s main focus is clearly all about the bloodshed and dismembering of body parts that take up the bulk of the screen time. The ‘Samurai Princess’ character and her quest for revenge are what ultimately propel the plot forward. The film also features an obligatory love scene which feels out of place in the midst of all of the carnage of display. While the performances are not particularly memorable, the performances are engaging enough because of the caricature personas which populate this film are all deliriously entertaining.
Well Go USA presents Samurai Princess in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. For an interlaced transfer the overall presentation fares well as colors, flesh tones and black levels all look accurate and details generally look crisp throughout. Also while there are some mild instances of blurring / ghosting it is never excessive or intrusive.
This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese audio mix and a Dolby Digital 5.1 English audio mix. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow have been provided. Both audio mixes are crystal clear, balanced and at times robust. The unintentionally bad English dubbed is the weaker of the two audio tracks. The Japanese language track is superior in every way.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese, no English subtitles), an image gallery with music from the film playing in the background and behind the scenes featurette (22 minutes 6 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles). In between the behind the scenes footage are comments from the cast and crew about the film. Overall Samurai Princess gets a satisfying DVD release from Well Go USA.