“…I think I forgot to turn off the oven.”
I always liked Samurai anime and manga. Feudal Japan was always a great source for good stories, and they helped to the internationalization of the media with works like Ninja Scroll, Lone Wolf and Cub,Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) or Samurai Deeper Kyo (Funny to notice these works are also known for the high degree of violence they depict. That also shows the Americans like to see spilled guts and blood like a otaku likes his loli figurines.)
Blade of the Immortal doesn’t stray far from it, with this new anime adaptation of the manga. With a plot of a immortal samurai looking for redemption and a orphan daughter looking for revenge, this promise lots of action and battle scenes (along with the ocasional rape or two, but that’s almost like a standard in samurai works…)
Manji, the Killer of a Hundred
That’s why you are Emo’ing in a dark corner?
This first episode starts with Manji. the main “hero”, in a confessionary with a priest and revealing a bit of his past. Tricked by his master, Manji killed a group of farmers who were innocent. After finding out the truth, he killed his master and anyone who’ve tried to follow and hunt him, giving him the nickname of The Killer of Hundred. The priest, exploiting this moment of weakness, shoots a bullet through Manji’s head. He’s actually a bounty hunter which usually disguises as a priest to get wanted criminals during confession. But suddenly his neck is surrounded by 2 hooks and chains. Manji is still alive and pierces the bounty hunter, killing him. Then, his head injury is healed by a bunch of red worms coming from inside the wound.
The scene then jumps to a young girl, Asano Rin, kneeling in a tombstone and having a flashback of the moments prior the death of he parents by the hands of swordsman called Anotsu Kagehisa and his group, the Itto-Ryu. Another scene jump, this time to Anotsu itself, which is debating with a samurai called Habaki if the Itto-Ryu will be the bodyguards of Habaki’s master’s dojo and it’s views about killing people.
She’s legal, guys.
The focus comes back to Manji, which is returning from the church to meet his younger sister, Machi. Altough he meets her while she’s playing around in a field of red flowers, he also meets Yaobikuni, the old woman responsible for giving him the worms that make him immortal, the Kessen-Chu. Herself has the blood worms too and has lived for 800 years as the name imply (Yaobikuni, “800 year old nun”). Yaobikuni states that Manji should put down the sword for the sake of her sister.
Machi acts like a kid and is slow on learning in spite of being 23. The reason for this lies on Manji: in the past while he was running away and had already the fame as the Killer of a Hundred, he faced Tatsumata Saito, a law officer. He had issues with Manji, since his father has a bodyguard for the lord Manji killed. For the dishonor of failing to protect his master, Saito’s father commited sepukku. While Manji and Saito battle, a girl appears. It was Machi, Saito’s woman and Manji’s sister, who arrived just in time to see her husband being beheaded by her brother. That event broke her soul and made her mind regress in age.
Back to the present events, Machi disappears while Manji’s asleep. It turns out a bunch of thugs lead by Shido Hishiyasu has her and wants to have revenge for the death of Shido’s brother (the fake priest Manji has killed). Manji tries to solve the issue without resorting to the sword and asks for the release of his sister. Shido does so, just to slash her up by behind and stab Manji while he holds Machi’s body. Manji regenerates in a instantand slashes Shido with his 12 swords, then proceeds to kill the rest of the gang.
Having an extra foot is the latest fad in Edo
The last scenes shows a mangled Manji ( and with his right feet in his kimono instead on the end of his leg..) appearing in front of the Yaobikuni and makes a oath: as redemption for the killing of 100 people he did in the past, he will spend the rest of his life slaying 1000 evildoers. Then he collapses into the ground.
Does it live up to the manga?
As a introduction for Manji’s character, this episode only missed one thing, VIOLENCE. The manga didn’t had the constraints that an anime has in terms of what can be depicted, so most of the details got toned down. Hiroaki Samura, Blade of the Immortal mangaka, has a rough and more realistic drawing style than the average manga, which led to a emphasis on body poses and hands depictions. Too bad we don’t get the same effect in the anime. Even so, not all is bad; one good point I’ve noticed is the removal of superfluous elements for the sake of drama, mostly during Manji’s interactions with Machi.
It isn’t a Swastika…well it is, but not related with what you think it is!
If you aren’t blind, you’ve noticed the swastika in the back of Manji’s kimono. Before the weaboos, jerks and random assholes start flaming the deal…..It’s a Japanese Buddhism symbol!!! Oh, and what a coincidence, it’s called a manji! The swastika existed way before it’s usage by the nazism party and was common in several cultures like India, China and even native americans. Don’t make a deal from a thing it isn’t intended to be nothing else than 8 lines…
Opening and Ending
Let’s make a quick test; how many of you guys heard the op and thought: “Wtf, Ali Project?”. Fortunely, it isn’t or it would sound EXACTLY like the 8 previous op’s they did. The Op is in charge of Makura no Soshi with the song “Akai Rabbit”, which clashes nicely with the heavy content of the Op’s animation. (Heck, bondage, high-speed battle scenes, blood galore….I’m getting a hard on from it.)
Like always, the Ep has a slower pace with “wants” by GRAPEVINE. But I’m still not sure if the mix of modern and past background in the ed’s animation makes me like it or hate it.
And yes, I know, my screenshots are dark as licorice. Blame my .Mkv’s.