With another disappointing release. Not to sound too cynical but Manga really have a habit of promising the world and failing to deliver. Ninja Scroll is one of my favourite ever Animes and it deserved the ultimate version, this falls way short.
First problem, albeit not the biggest one but still needs to be mentioned; the aspect ratio is '16:9 pillarboxed' which means big black borders down the sides of the screen. This I can almost forgive as Ninja Scroll was in 4:3, and when it was released on DVD in widescreen people complained about the stretched picture. It's not an easy compromise but there you go. The DVD version included is also the same ratio.
Transfer quality looks good but it has been touched up to the point of removing all the grain from the picture. This is a personal choice as some people like the smoother look, while others prefer it in its original state. It is however littered with white specs of dust and dirt throughout, why these weren't cleaned up ill never know. Ignoring this though, the picture is nice and smooth and looks good for its age, but considering this is one of Mangas major releases for the year, it really should have had a full restoration job done on it. It is the best Ninja Scroll has ever looked in the home, it is just not what it should be.
The other massive flaw is the total lack of bass in the English 5.1 audio track, which is so tinny it almost has an echo; it is an absolute disgrace. The Japanese 2.0 track is much punchier and will be most peoples choice as a result; there is no comparitive English 2.0 track unfortunately. It would have been nice if the previous audio tracks had been added to this release as well, as opposed to one DTS master audio (English) and Japanese 2.0.
The extras are a Directors commentary, 2 trailers, and the booklet is basically about the Director, Yoshiaki Kawajiri.
The Steelbook itself looks great, however most steelbooks are limited editions and worth something, Manga - like they did with their Akira release - will probably produce tens of thousands as demand dictates, almost removing any real collectors value.
If your a Ninja Scroll fan you really have no choice but to buy this I guess. It's a cracking film and the Bluray is nice, but for such a big release I really shouldnt be talking about any flaws, unfortunately this is littered with them, and they are the kind that will annoy a lot of people.