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Salaryman Kintaro, Part 3

Artsmagic DVD // Unrated // November 15, 2005 // Region 2
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted January 31, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Show:


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?

Series recap:

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.

This volume:

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.


The DVD:




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.

Audio:

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.

Video:

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.

Extras:

This disc, like the earlier volumes, also includes an interview with
director Tomohuro Katsumata as well as one with producer Turo Nakano.

Final Thoughts:

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.

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