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Salaryman Kintaro, Part 3
The pace picks up as well as the action in the third volume of Salaryman Kintaro. While the boardroom intrigues of the previous disc were interesting, this time the focus swings back to Kintaro and his unique way of motivating people. He's been assigned to a construction site where there's a lot of friction with the subcontractors. Can this previous gang leader succeed where college educated executives have failed?
Yajima Kintaro was the leader of a motorcycle gang 10,000 strong. A couple of years ago he gave that up and moved away to settle down with his new wife. Unfortunately she died in childbirth, and now Yajima and his infant son Ryu are moving back to the city. The ex-gang leader is hired by a large firm, Yamato Construction, to work as a salaryman, a white collar office employee, and though the job isn't a good one Yajima approaches it with the same gusto and philosophy that he used to run his gang: kick ass and take names. His straight forward and pragmatic method of dealing with problems and his strong work ethic are foreign to this top heavy corporation, and he may just shake up the way business is done if they don't fire him first.
Kintaro also soon finds out that things aren't as rosy as they first appear at Yamato Construction. Mr. Yamato, the chairman of the board, started the company and built it to a respectable size. The growth started to stagnate though so he hired a new president, Oshima, seven years ago. This man was able to make the firm grow by leaps and bounds, due to his connections within the government. Oshima is ousted by the board however due to his illegal use of company funds and taking kickbacks from subcontractors. He doesn't leave quietly though, and vows to destroy Yamato Construction for the disgrace they've dealt him.
Though Yamato Construction is free from their previous corrupt president, the problems that he created are still with them. One of these difficulties involves a tunnel that Yamato has been hired to construct. The subcontractors have stopped working because they were never paid the under-the-table bonus that Oshima had promised them. When the project fall two months behind schedule, the man from Yamato who is in charge of the operation kills himself. Yamato's new president, Mr, Kurokawa, puts Kintaro in charge and asks him to avenge their fallen comrade.
Kintaro goes in expecting to use his fists to solve the problem as always, but the subcontracting company is run by a former Sumo star. He puts Kintaro in the hospital with one punch, but that doesn't sap the salaryman's will to complete the job on schedule.
A romantic prospect also turns up in this volume. Kintaro is introduced to Misuzu, the lovely owner of a high class bar. She used to be the mistress of a high ranking government official, but since he died she hasn't taken a lover. When she sets her eyes on Kintaro though, things change. She's a good judge of character and can tell that he's an honorable man. She falls madly in love with him, but so does her 14 year old daughter. It's not clear how Kintaro feels about either of them, but it looks like sparks will fly before too long.
This series keeps getting better and better. Not only is it easy to get involved with the story, but the message that the show is conveying is obvious but not overbearing. The fact that Kintaro is willing to take responsibility for his actions is apparently a rare thing among salarymen who tend to keep their heads down, and his willingness to openly state how he feels is an asset. The way he wins over the confidence of the people working under him is fun to see. A very enjoyable series that's different from any other show that's been released in R1.
This volume contains the next four episodes of the series. The disc I received for review was the region two PAL release of the series. This seemed to have the identical specs as the R1 version, and I have no reason to believe that there are any differences. I've asked Arts Magic to confirm that the two released use the same transfer and audio tracks but they haven't gotten back to me with an answer yet.
This show comes with the original Japanese in both stereo and DD 5.1. There is not an English dub included on this disc, though there are optional subtitles. The audio quality is average for this type of release. There aren't a lot of space battles or explosions that would really make use of the LFE channel in the 5.1 mix, but the dialog is reproduced well in both audio tracks. There isn't any hiss or other audio defects present.
The widescreen anamorphic image looks good. The lines are tight and the image is sharp. The colors look good as well. Digital defects are practically nonexistent. A solid looking disc.
This disc, like the earlier volumes, also includes an interview with director Tomohuro Katsumata as well as one with producer Turo Nakano.
I'm really enjoying this series. It is very easy to get pulled into the salaryman's life and see things from his perspective. Not only do you learn a little bit about life in Japan, but the series is very entertaining too. Arts Magic has made a wise choice for their first anime release. Recommended.