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Kamui Gaiden: The Feature Film Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Funimation
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 28, 2010
  • List Price: $29.98

[amazon-product align=”right”]B0043988KI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Kamui -

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Kamui Gaiden is a film from Korean-Japanese filmmaker Yoichi Sai (Blood and Bones) based on a series of manga and anime roughly in the Shōnen style. At the heart of the story is a ninja named Kamui (Ken’ichi Matsuyama), born into a lower caste and shunned by his village at a young age. Kamui was driven out into the world where he joined a ninja clan and became a fierce killer. Now older, Kamui is having second thoughts about his life and decides to leave his ninja clan and his killing ways, but this is not an option as far his the clan is concerned.

Now a lone ninja, Kamui must face the wrath of his clan as he journeys alone through the land, bringing danger to everyone that he befriends, including an old man in a fishing village who befriends Kamui and brings him into his family. Eventually, Kamui even finds time for a little romance with the old man’s youngest daughter, Sayaka (Suzuka Ohgo), but this tranquil time can’t last long, with his past in hot pursuit.

Kamui Gaiden works best when the action is intense. The filmmakers use a variety of CGI and wirework to enhance the nearly superhuman skill of the actors, for some exciting martial arts choreography, but the story, even though set forth by an animated prologue and advanced a bit by some narration becomes quite convoluted and difficult to follow, particular when a subplot involving a dandy of a feudal lord is interwoven into the story.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The 1.85:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer of Kamui Gaiden seems pretty pushed, hovering around a 22Mbps bitrate throughout and looking relatively soft overall, with grain often lapsing into the realm of video noise. Otherwise, black levels are deep and flesh tones seem accurate.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

There are two Dolby TrueHD lossless surround mixes provide on the disc, the original Japanese language soundtrack in 7.1 and an English dub in 5.1. I used the Japanese soundtrack with the English subtitles engaged as my reference for this review.

The 7.1 nicely utilizes the extra back channels for an immersive, but not overly aggressive sound experience. There is some use of the two back channels for discrete sounds, but they are more utilized in adding additional atmospheric sounds and widening the soundstage for a tighter, more encapsulating experience. The front channels also provide a lot of activity, with much directional panning to follow the action from side-to-side on-screen. Dialogue is clear, high frequencies are smooth, and the dynamic range is wide although the sound never becomes overwhelmingly loud.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

There are over forty minutes of extras that taker you behind-the-scenes of the production on Kamui Gaiden offering interviews with the actors and filmmakers. The two featurettes seem more informative than most, but will probably not offer much replay value in the long run.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Behind the Scenes (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:12.34) — Have a look behind-the-scenes at the work that went into the film’s action sequences.
  • Making Of (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:32.36)
  • Trailers:
    • Hana
    • Mushi-Shi
    • Hong Kong Connection
    • Shinobi
    • Love and Honor
    • Genghis Khan
    • Robogeisha
    • Synesthesia

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

When the action is going, Kamui Gaiden is as good as it gets, but it falters by tripping over an unnecessarily complex storyline. Still, fans of this genre will find much to enjoy here, particularly the rather immersive 7.1 lossless mix on this Blu-ray release.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B0043988KI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Kamui -

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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