DVD Title
International Title
DVD Length Original Length
207 Minutes 207 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Image Entertainment 1998
Language Subtitles
Japanese English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 1.0 Mono
Menus (English)
Chapters (41)

Image Entertainment's first, and only, Toho release. Unfortunately, this very early disc is hardly anything more but a relic of the early troubles some companies were having with the DVD format. To put it simply, the video presentation here is marred heavily by the largest amount of digital inconsistencies seen thus far on a legitimate region 1 Toho DVD, while the audio is nothing special and the extras are nonexistent.

 Video: Star Rating

Honestly, it's so hard to enjoy the movie on this disc. To Image Entertainment's credit the movie is uncut (so all three hours are present) and Chushingura's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, or Toho Scope, is maintained... but that's where the positive aspects end. Everything else is either mediocre at best or poor. The mediocre aspects include the mostly subdued colors, noise levels and the shape of the print, which has scratches. The poor aspect is the huge amount of digital inconsistencies, which, overall, is the worst I have seen for any Toho disc. In fact, if someone isn't clear on what shimmering is then this disc is an excellent reference point, a clear as day example can be seen here. All in all, Image Entertainment simply compressed the movie far too much, as artifacting also runs rampant while the entire movie looks very blurred without any natural sharpness to it.

 Audio: Star Rating

The lone audio track here gets the job done, and nothing more. The track included is a 1.0 mono presentation in Japanese, which is audible in spite of some minor hisses and crackles that can be heard. English subtitles have been included, but they have been burned onto the print so they can't be removed. It would have also been nice had the subtitles translated all of the Japanese text in the movie, but no such luck, although at least the intro and outro text segments have been subtitled.


What extras? Nearly as barebones as they come, while the only menu on the disc is the chapter selection.

 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, Image Entertainment's Chushingura is a pretty poor disc all around. Unfortunately, it's the only release of the film on DVD in the states as well, so those interested in the movie will likely have to bite the bullet with this disc. It would be nice, though, if Image would lower the price a little, as they are still charging an unreasonable $30 for the DVD.

On a side note, Chushingura was originally released in 1998 by Image Entertainment in a cardboard snap case. The disc was later re-released in 2001 in a regular Amaray case. Due to rarity, the cardboard snap version tends to go for as high as $100, although no actual difference exists between the two discs themselves. For reference, the 1998 release was reviewed here.

- Anthony Romero  
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