Plot: What’s it about?
When it comes to handling the sword, none are superior to Shuranosuke Sakaki. Shuranosuke is a true master of the blades and is well known for his signature weapons, the Scythes of Death. He fears no man, warrior or ruler and makes his way across the lands alone and on his own two feet, but few dare to cross his path in spite. Whether it is a vicious wild tiger or a band of six gifted swordsmen, Shuranosuke can manage against whatever enemies attempt to stand in his way. From time to time Shuranosuke lends himself to those in need of his services and he has just taken such a mission. It seems as though the evil Seki Ninja clan has kidnapped Princess Mayu from the Tokugawa clan, with the ransom being a legendary sword of power which must be delivered by a single man. The Tokugawa Shogunate realizes only Shuranosuke stands a chance of defeating the Seki and rescuing the princess, so he hires him to do just that. But the Seki have no desire in allowing that happen and even call upon the spirits of undead ninjas to aid them.
As with most anime releases, Sword For Truth seems aimed at the loyal established fanbase, whom I think will accept this title with open arms. While I own and have seen many anime titles, I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject so this review will not be a lesson in the genre, but just my feelings on this release. I enjoyed this film and think anyone who seeks sword swinging action mixed into their anime will as well. I’d say a close match would be Ninja Scroll, so if you like that type of anime I recommend you check this one out as well. The animation technique used here is quite basic, with little in terms of complex motions or backgrounds but that doesn’t lessen the entertainment factor at all. Some of the characters seem realistic in nature while others take on a more comical notion, with the dimwit baddies usually getting the comical appearance. So while the animation isn’t dazzling and cutting edge, it is more than adequate in all ways.
While the animation seems much like an advanced Saturday morning cartoon, the target audience is much different from those manner of cartoons. This is an action/adventure film loaded with sword battles, chases, and all types of other fun stuff. In the battle scenes the violence is quite graphic at times, but never to an extreme extent. A few heads end up being chopped off and blood is shed around every corner, but if you’ve seen other similar anime you’ll know what to expect. This makes for a nice touch and adds an edge to the scenes, but never takes the blood and gore too far which is good. Mixed in with the hack and slash scenes are some love sequences, which show some serious flesh. This again isn’t too an extreme degree, but it does show the female form in all its glory, so if that isn’t your thing steer clear. So mix the adventure, sex, and swordplay and you’ve got yourself one heck of a great anime release. I recommend this disc to fans of sword swinging anime, though a rental might be in order if you’re a first timer.
Video: How does it look?
Sword For Truth is presented in a 1.33:1 or full frame transfer, which seems to be the correct aspect ratio. The animation doesn’t seem to have lost a step in the move to the digital format and the overall image is very good. The colors are based within a drab spectrum so the lack of vibrance is intentional. These colors tend to brighten during the battle scenes, but still never smear or bleed. The contrast is strong as well with no overly dark regions to obscure detail.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release contains both the original Japanese track as well as an English dub version. If you choose the Japanese version English subtitles have been made available. The tracks are both in the stereo format and provide an adequate audio experience. This isn’t a title that requires much in terms of audio power, so the front channels take care of it all well. The music and effects sound good with no overshadowing present, and the dialogue on both tracks sounds clear and crisp.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains some previews for other Manga and Palm Pictures releases, but no bonus materials specific to this title.