Salaryman Kintaro Vol. 1 (2001) – By Duane L. Martin

It’s
been a long time since I watched something that I didn’t want to
end. Usually when I watch films, my moods fluxuate between
enjoyment and never wanting to see it again, but once in a very great
while, I come across something that’s so incredibly special that it
makes me wish I could just go on watching it indefinitely. Such
was the case with Salaryman Kintaro.

Salaryman Kintaro is the story of a young man named Kintaro who was
once the leader of a biker gang 10,000 members strong, most of whom
would give their lives for him, and still would to this day even though
the gang is no longer together. He did some time in a reformatory
and when he got out, he married his one true love and had a child with
her. Unfortunately, she died shortly after giving birth to their
son and he’s sworn to raise their child to be a good boy.

After an incident in which he swam for seven hours in the sea just to
help someone who was stranted in a boat that had a broken down motor,
the grateful fisherman, who owned a huge construction company, gave him
a job, no questions asked. Kintaro was now entering the
white-collar world of the salaryman, which he would soon find holds
it’s own set of problems involving corportae politics, backstabbing,
and machinations by corrupt corporate factions that are hell bent on
forcing out the kindly old owner so that they can take over and run
things their own way.

Kintaro is an anime series, and each individual show flows from one to
the next in a running series of events. What makes this show so
extraordinary is that it’s so incredibly well written that you feel
yourself not only connecting to the main character, but actually
aspiring to be the kind of a person that he is. He loves life and
he looks at things rationally. No politics or machinations for
him. He says what he thinks and respects those who deserve
it. He’s tough as nails, and yet he’s a loving father and the
best friend anyone could possibly ask for. He’s selfless and at
the same time aspires to advance in the world so that he can make a
good life for his son. And he loves. He loves his dead wife
and misses her horribly, honoring her memory every day. Now for a
show to be so well written that it can draw you so tightly into a
character that it makes you aspire to be what he is, that’s just
something special.

The show has a mixture of love, humor, violence, respect, inspiration
and honor that I don’t think would ever be possible to achieve in a
live action show. Takashi Miike actually did make a live action
movie version of this show, but there’s no way, no matter how you do it
or how it’s written that the live action version could ever measure up
to the animated original.

The show’s frightningly accurate portrayal of corporate politics and
intrigue is every bit as immersive as the criminal world of the yakuza
as portrayed in so many other shows. There are political factions
within the company, corruption, and backroom deals that are all going
on under the nose of the kindly old honorable chairman who although he
still owns the company, has lost the ability to fully reign in the
corruption. He wants to adopt Kintaro and go off to run a small
side company he owns that’s not connected to the huge construction
firm, but Kintaro tells him that the only reason the workers are happy
is because he’s still in charge, and that if he leaves, the workers
will constantly be afraid for their jobs and constantly looking over
their shoulders because the corporate politcs will ruin the company and
make their lives miserable. Kintaro tells him that he can’t
leave, because it would be abandoning those who have worked so hard and
were so loyal to him.

Salaryman Kintaro is one show that is an absolute must see. Not
just for anime fans, but for anyone who loves to be immersed in a rich
and involving storyline that’s full of characters they’d actually like
to know and be friends with in real life.

If you’d like to pick up this disc, or check out some of ArtsmagicDVD’s other releases you can check out their website at http://www.artsmagicdvd.com.