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Kizuna: Volume 1

Keiji Fujiwara , Dan Green    Unrated   DVD
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product Description


Kizuna 1 is the first half of the old (1994) two-part OVA based on Kazuma Kodaka's manga, but with new subtitles. High school kendo champion Ranmaru was injured saving his friend Kei from an oncoming car, and gave up the sport. Three years later, Ranmaru and Kei are lovers, sharing an apartment while they attend college. When a lecherous professor tries to seduce Ranmaru, Kei's half-brother Kai comes to his rescue. Kai admired Ranmaru in high school, and hopes to steal him from Kei. As the half-brothers are martial artists and the sons of a yakuza kingpin, the rivalry turns violent. Kizuna is a yaoi classic: a romance involving handsome young men written by a woman for a female audience. The reissue was taken from a better print and features a more idiomatic English translation than the previously available version, but giving viewers only 30 minutes of animation on a DVD seems stingy. (Rated 16 and older: violence, brief nudity, sexual situations, including homosexuality, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

Product Description

Three's A Crowd

Ranmaru and Kei have a strong and passionate relationship built on years of trust, sacrifice and love. But when the mysterious son of a Yakuza boss begins to pursue Ranmaru's affection, tempers flare, and hidden emotions rise to the surface. Will Ranmaru and Kei's love survive, or will the emotional conflict finally come to a head?

Region 1 (Canada/USA)
Language: Japanese with English subtitles.
Age rated: 16+, contains violence, nudity and mild sexual situations
Released under the Be Beautiful label. Out of print.

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Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
OK, it's got some (poorly done, btw) guy-on-guy action. I can't imagine any other reason anyone would watch this movie, and even that doesn't save it from being too silly for words. Perhaps if you've read the manga it's based on you can fill in some detail from that, but watched on its own, as I did, it's the worst sort of shallow "Plot? What plot?" anime dreck.
It also showcases the strange anime phenomenon of the "aggressive" lover; ie near-rapist. Guy 1: "No, honey, I don't wanna". Guy 2 turns into wolf and forces the issue: "C'mon, you know no means yes!" Guy 1 caves, winces, bites his lip, and ultimately enjoys himself, but what a message! Makes me wonder about relationships in Japan, as this seems to be a consistent theme in this genre.
Bottom line: the script, such as it is, appears to have been written by brainless 13-year-old school girls. Animation quality: fair to poor.
If you want decent yaoi, try "Angel Sanctuary" or "Fake." If you like the "agressive lover" bit, scare up a copy of the harder-edged "Ai no Kusabi".
If you want really good anime, watch "Cowboy Bebop" or 'Trigun" and use your imagination for the naughty elements. If it hadn't been for those two shows, I wouldn't watch any anime at all.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I'd hold out for Gravitation Aug. 3 2003
By A Customer
Kizuna seems to have an old school anime look, and the feel of the movie is just akward... I'm willing to venture it has little to do with the actual series being a one shot movie. I would hold out for Gravitation if I needed to be selective with my DVD library. Fake is also a little better than Kizuna, but not by leaps and bounds. Just an opinion!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great love story Nov. 7 2001
By Gretchen - Published on Amazon.com
Don't listen to people who say that the Kizuna OAV is difficult to follow. All the information that you need is presented plainly, and the backstory is told through flashbacks. The story of Enjoji and Ranmaru's love enduring despite obstacles is very touching, and a nice change from the "doomed love" theme of some other yaoi anime. The characters are all well-developed for such a short OAV (two half-hour episodes), and the relationships between them are well-described.
The only problem I had with this DVD was in the structure of the DVD itself. The subtitling timing is WAY off, often appearing well before the character speaks, or in the middle of a different character's lines. Unless you listen closely it is sometimes impossible to know who is saying what. Also, there are no extras, no alternate soundtracks, and no scene access on this particular version of the DVD. All you get is two OAV episodes with Japanese voices and rather large white subtitling.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great yaoi July 31 2001
By Patrick - Published on Amazon.com
I'm a straight guy and don't speak Japanese and yet I managed to love this movie. I think what I like best are the characters and the relationships between them. The rest of the storyline kind of takes a backseat. At the end I was left wanting more.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Animation and a Nice Adaptation Feb. 16 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Kizuna, parts I & II, are a visually satisfying and entertaining pair of 1/2 hour videos based on the Japanese manga (graphic novel) of the same name, created by Kazuma Kodaka. The story involves the romance between a male couple, Kei Enjouji and Ranmaru Samejima, once a junior champion in the world of kendo (an oriental form of fencing). Ranmaru's future is crushed when he is struck by a hit and run driver, rather than the intended target - his lover. Other problems arise with the arrival of another mysterious young man who is obssessed with Ranmaru, Kai Sagano.
Romantic, sexy, and quite poignant. The silliness and violence factor are kept to a minimum, unlike alot of other anime out there. Splendid shounen-ai (boy's love).
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Amusing Oddity June 12 2000
By Drew Brainiard - Published on Amazon.com
The best part of this OAV is its pretty cover, which unfortunately doesn't reflect any incident in the anime. I guess that's okay because, equally unfortunately, nothing much in the anime reflects any incident in the (currently) seven volumes of KIZUNA manga.
KIZUNA, in case you don't know, is a very popular (considered classic by many) Japanese manga (or comic) in the yaoi genre. Yaoi stories are stories about "boy love" which are actually written for, and by, Japanese women. Yaoi is slowly building a (relatively) large western audience who buy the OAVs and manga--and write their own fan fictions based on them--without speaking or reading Japanese themselves.
The KIZUNA OAVs are English-subtitled but they are still rather hard to follow, partly because the stories veer wildly from the manga canon, and partly because they are just not very well done. They are also quite short (both flicks running something less than 30 minutes).
Video Volume II, as far as I can make out, lifts the event from manga Volume I, of Kai's unwelcome visit to Ranmaru and Enjoji's, expanding on Kai and Masa's feelings. Additionally there is a goofy subplot about Kai and Enjoji's jealousy over Ranmaru's mysterious assignation with an unknown girl. (Tiresome and un-KIZUNA like.)
Besides the confusing break in canon which does nothing to improve the story, there is no character development, and the artwork, though colorful, lacks the sophistication of the manga. One oddity: Ranmaru's hair color is red in the anime and blonde in the manga.
Due at least partly to increased western interest a new OAV is being developed, and hopefully this will be truer to the plot and characters of Kodaka's KIZUNA.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Classic June 12 2000
By Drew Brainiard - Published on Amazon.com
Ranmaru Samejima and Kei Enjoji are Tokyo college students who have been friends since junior high school. Enjoji is the illegitimate son of an Osaka yakuza obaybun (don), and Samejima (or Ran-chan, as Enjoji calls him) is the "white devil of kendo," a brilliant fencer who has devoted his entire life to the dream of becoming kendo champion of all Japan.
In their senior year of high school a rival yakuza clan puts a hit out on Enjoji. Ranmaru is critically injured in the attempt on Enjoji's life. Though doctor's believe he will never walk again, Ran's indomitable bushido spirit (and Enjoji's love and support) enable him to make a miraculous recovery--although due to nerve damage he can no longer do kendo.
That's the back story. The video picks up with Ranmaru and Enjoji enrolled in their 2nd year of college, and living together. Enjoji works part time as a host (male escort) in a host club, which causes some strain on their relationship because Ranmaru is extremely conservative, and in fact, for many years struggled against the erotic nature of his friendship with Enjoji. Ranmaru works after class helping out a professor.
One evening the professor insists that Ran accompany him to a bar. At the bar he slips a drug in Ran's ice tea and begins to take advantage. Ranmaru's 'chastity' (which is quite an issue for a number of characters in KIZUNA) is preserved by the intervention of Kai Sagano, who happens to be Kei Enjoji's half-brother. Kai, another kendo fencer, has had a secret passion for Ran-sempai since high school. He inserts himself into the lives of Ran and Enjoji, much to the chagrin of Enjoji. Kai makes no pretense of the fact that he intends to win Ranmaru for his own: painful news for Mansori Araki (Masa) the so-honbucho of Shouyuukai (#1 yakuza lieutenant of Sagano elder) who with stoic devotion has practically raised Kai since infancy.
That's the story, although you may have trouble following it in this EXTREMELY CONFUSING video, which is based loosely (very loosely) on the first two volumes of the KIZUNA manga by Kazuma Kodaka. The video is very short (less than 30 minutes), lacks the subtle nuances of the original, and takes many inexplicable liberties with the plot. Still, it is something of a classic, and remains many western fans' first introduction to yaoi (the manga genre of boy love stories). Some of the art work is rather nice, and the video can be regarded as amusing supplemental material. However, if your only exposure to KIZUNA is the anime, you are missing out on an original and vastly entertaining love story.
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