Blu-ray: Ninja Scroll (Sentai Filmworks) [2015]


Ninja Scroll

English Blu-ray Title (Region A)

Ninja Scroll


Japanese (2.0 Surround), English (5.1 Surround)

Aspect Ratio:

94 minutes
Sentai Filmworks
1.33:1 Anamorphic


Ninja Scroll



  • Menus (English)
  • Chapters (24)
  • Trailers: Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse (US), Mardock Scramble (US), Devil Survivor 2 The Animation (US), Nobunaga the Fool (US)
  • Commentary track with director Yoshiaki Kawajiri and animation director Yutaka Minowa



By: Anthony Romero

One of, if not thee most famous OVAs (original video animation, or direct to video Animes), Ninja Scroll hits the Blu-ray format for the second time in the US. The gory spectical, which launched numerous copy cats of similarly hyper violet and sex infused Anime, is well presented here. It has great video quality coupled with a nice audio presentation, making this a great way to enjoy the film. It is lacking, though, when it comes to the extras.

 Video: Star Rating

The movie has never looked better than it does on this release. The animation looks remarkably clear for a film this age, shows a great attention to detail in removing noise. Details in the frame are also very sharp, as whatever process was used to remove film grain did not compromise the sharpness of the picture. The black levels are also perfect, set slightly darker here than on the 2012 Sentai Filmworks release. The colors, while a little better than the earlier edition, still feel muted though. The earthy, less vibrant tones do feel a bit more at home with the darker subject matter of the movie, though.

Ninja Scroll is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, or "full screen". Being a made for home video release, it was never given a widescreen treatment.


 Audio: Star Rating

The Blu-ray offers two different audio tracks. One is the 5.1 English dub track, originally created by Manga Entertainment for their DVD release. This track, which is the default one, offers an iffy voice cast performance, although at least it doesn't make light of what can often be a darker film. Unfortunately, the downside of this track is the way the surround aspect is done. The voice work sounds fine, as it was recorded with a surround presentation in mind. The other elements of the film were not, though, and the sound effects carry a slight echo-like quality to them because of that.

The secondary audio track is the Japanese version. This is done in the original, 2.0 stereo. The result is fantastic, a great representation of the film's audio with no discrepancies to be heard. Clarity in both dialogue and sound effects is spot on too.

The Japanese track can be accompanied by removable English subtitles. This is a new subtitle track, created by Toho International. It changes a few things versus earlier editions. In particular it features Benizato's name with a "z", one can assume this being Toho's preferred spelling for her. Earlier translations always listed it as "Benisato", and given it has been decades with people familiar with that spelling it will be tough for Toho to get their preferred name to be widespread.


 Extras: Star Rating

The primary, in fact arguably only, supplement on this Blu-ray is an audio commentary track. This is done by director Yoshiaki Kawajiri and animation director Yutaka Minowa. It was originally recorded for the Flying Dog in Japan for their 2012 release of the movie on Blu-ray. In the commentary, the two talk lovingly about the production as the movie unfolds. While its clear they didn't really prepare themselves ahead of time, the information contained is solid. They cover a lot of details, big and small, such as the fact that the movie was once going to be broken and sold in two parts like Super Atragon (1995) was. This extra is spoken in Japanese and offers removable English subtitles to translate.

The other bonus feature on this disc isn't really a bonus at all. It's a collection of adverts for other Anime titles available from Sentai Filmworks. While the back bills them as trailers, in reality it's just a title screen for the movie followed by setting random footage to music. These aren't the original trailers, and even hard to consider them English trailers considering the lack of dialogue as well.


 Overview: Star Rating

This is a good release of the popular Anime title. It's light on extras, but excels in the video department and has a good audio presentation as well. Fans of the production, or just those who like more gory Anime in general, will love this release.

In terms of how this one stacks up for versus the 2012 Sentai Filmworks release: this one wins. The differences between the two are marginal, but are better presented here. The video track is the most obvious example, having better black levels of colors on this release. It also doesn't have the annoying The Anime Network commercial playing in front of it, like earlier edition had. On the less positive side, I prefer the cover on the 2012 one, even taking into account the slip cover design here. I was also unable to change audio tracks mid-viewing on this release, having to exit to the menu, while this was something that could be easily done on the older edition. So there are ups and downs, but of the positives this one comes out ahead.