Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 5th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2005
Director: Tomoharu Katsumata
Cast: Taisei Miyamoto, Kiyoshi Kawakubo, Nachi Nozawa, Katsuhisa Houki
DVD Released: January 31st, 2006
Approximate Running Time: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
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 works as a salary man at Yamato construction.
Episode #13: Kintaro takes some time off from work so that he visit his mothers’ grave on the anniversary of her death. While he is away a new worker arrives at Yamato construction. His name is Takatsukasa and he has many new ideas how to restructure Yamato construction for the future like expanding through out Asia and hiring more non-Japanese workers. Kintaro is visited by an unexpected guest while visiting his mothers’ grave. It is his father who he hasn’t seen since he was a young boy.
Episode #14: A pachinko parlor and its patrons are being harassed by some local yakuza. Kintaro can only take so much until he losses his cool and beats up a yakuza boss. The yakuza want revenge and Kintaro instead of continue the fight outside slips out the back door where he runs into an old woman who invites him to her place for tea. Kintaro while at her place finds out that this old woman is rich and that she has been laundering money for the yakuza. Kintaro also learns something about his fathers past from a yakuza boss who once ran with his father back in the day.
Episode #15: On his way home one evening Kintaro is hit by a car while walking home. After he recovers from his injuries he learns that Yamato construction is relocating him too its northeastern branch to work with sub-chief Igo. Immediately after Kintaro’s arrival it becomes apparent that sub-chief Igo doesn’t want him here and the two quickly butt heads. Kintaro moves in with a co-worker named Takako and her mother. Takako has a crush on Kintaro and she becomes frustrated as he is oblivious to every one of her advances.
Episode #16: Sub-chief Igo makes Kintaro his errand boy and he gives him the lowly job of working as a contract bidder at city hall. Takako becomes jealous when a woman from Kintaro past shows up. Kintaro gets help securing bids for the Yamato construction from a politician at city hall who is repaying him for the time Kintaro saved his dog from drowning.
Salaryman Kintaro is a well written series that is filled with interesting characters who are flawed and realistic in the way they are portrayed. The character of Kintaro as the series has progress has become less aggressive as he now controls his anger better. These four episodes included offer a nice cross section of who Kintaro is and where he came from. There are a handful of flashbacks in these episodes that reveal where Kintaro’s anger originated from. Overall these four episodes are four of the strongest in the series to date.
Artsmagic presents Salaryman Kintaro Volume 4 is an anamorphic widescreen that preserves its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors look vivid and are nicely saturated through out. The black levels are solid as they exhibit a strong amount of detail in every frame. There are no problems with artifacts, compression or edge enhancement. Overall source material used for this transfer is in immaculate shape.
This DVD comes with only one audio option a Dolby Digital 5.1 which is presented in this series original Japanese language. The dialog crisp and the action sound full. There are no problems with hiss or distortion. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release consist of two interviews. The first is a seven minute interview with Tomoharu Katsumata in which he speaks about the differences between the Manga and the T.V. Series. He also talks in length about the Kintaro character. The second interview is with Toru Nakano and it is about five minutes in length. Toru Nakano discusses the difference between Japanese and Hollywood cinema as well as the business end of the movie making business. Overall both interviews are nice to have they just don’t dig deep enough to required multiple viewings.
Overall Artsmagic have put together another solid DVD presentation and each new volume of Salaryman Kintaro continues to impress me, recommended.
For more information about Salaryman Kintaro visit Artsmagic here.