English: Sword of the Stranger
Synonyms: Stranger: Mukoh Hadan, Stranja
Japanese: ストレンヂア -無皇刃譚
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Sep 29, 2007
1 hr. 43 min.
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.451 (scored by 44826 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action historical samurai
SynopsisThe story is set in the Sengoku period. A rounin called Nanashi (meaning "nameless") saves a young boy named Kotarou at an abandoned temple. Kotarou has no family, is pursued by a mysterious militia organization from China, and hires Nanashi as his bodyguard. Amongst the men who pursue Kotarou is a man called Rarou, a skilled warrior with blond hair and blue eyes. He obeys an old man called Byakuran and is a member of the Chinese militia. Unlike his companions in the militia, he isn't serving any Emperor and just wants to fight with the strong.
(Source: Iwa ni Hana)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Stranger: Mukou Hadan
Other: Stranger: Mukou Hadan Pilot
Characters & Voice Actors
I happened to stumble upon a little hidden gem, a couple days back by the name "Sword of the Stranger". I was surprised by how few people were talking about the film. The only threads I found about the anime were very specific and spoiler heavy; no general discussions, no recommendation topics. Naturally this lead me to suspect the worst, but I figured I'd give SOTS a shot anyway. Besides, at only an hour and a half in length I wouldn't be wasting that much time. I'm quite glad I did, because this movie is the very definition of a hidden gem.
Sword of the Stranger takes place in Japan during its Sengoku period; I would estimate the year to be around 1550. It follows the journey of a vagabond rōnin, a young orphan and his pet dog; who are trying to reach the city of Shirato. Hot on their trail is a group of Chinese alchemists trying to capture the young boy for use in the creation of the elixir of life.
The story is well crafted and truly captures the environment of the Sengoku period. The tale starts out grim and holds its tone throughout the majority of the film. In many ways SOTS personifies the transition from the Sengoku period to the Edo period in Japanese history. The characters are made to suffer through great pain, just for the empowerment of others. There are no golden sun sets, just the cold grip of death at every turn. If I was too describe Sword of the Stranger with one word it would be consistent. The narrative flows at a steady rate, never leaving the viewer bored or overwhelmed. All of the action scenes are interspersed throughout the show to keep its audience constantly on edge. SOTS truly understands pacing and uses that to its full advantage.
As for the plot of SOTS I can't be as kind. The story is interesting enough, and definitely has some unique aspects; but turns into more of a back drop for the characters to develop on, than being an actual focus point. It could have been anyone chasing after our characters, and I would have enjoyed it just the same. The movie makes it clear from early on that it does not matter who is doing the chasing, or why; just that the characters need to be pursued so they can grow together from the experience. In addition, there are a couple side plots shoehorned in for no apparent reason. I won't spoil the movie, but these side plots could have easily never existed and the story wouldn't have changed in the slightest.
The art style and animation of Sword of the Stranger is easily its greatest strength. Talk about fluidity; the fight choreography is some of the best I have ever witnessed. The "camera angles" capture each masterfully crafted battle with speed and grace. Many times I was sent into an state of shock and awe from the gory intensity thrust upon me. It's been a while sense a movie has got me so excited that I've stood up, face glued to the scene without even noticing until after the fight subsided. Even the minor details that often get over looked are well taken care of. Horses gallop in a natural way, disabled people limp or hobble correctly, clothing reacts to movement and gravity as it should, etc. The addition of these little details really brings the world to life.
Speaking of the world, the art direction of SOTS is one of favorite in recent history. The weather and season (early winter) chosen for the backgrounds, brings out the harshness of the Sengoku period. The entire movie feels cold and wet; as if even the Earth itself is trying to kill the main characters. This was a refreshing change from the typical colorful, golden draped samurai series. The palate of SOTS is very grey and dreary; other than the color red, that is. Blood and gore is highly exaggerated, so each cut or stab unleashes a fountain of bright crimson. As subjective as the word is, I believe the "Art" of SOTS hits every mark perfectly.
The sound design of SOTS is good. There's nothing special about it, but it does everything it needs to. I never found myself turned off by the design, but it didn't make much of a lasting impression either. The only sections of note are the sounds of impact; be it sword on sword or sword on skin. The crack of bone or squelch of bodily fluids really intensifies the fight scenes. The English dub is quite similar in quality. Each actor fits the character he/she is playing and the emotional projection is spot on; but only a week after watching I'm already struggling to remember any moments worthy of note. Either way, it comes recommended; just keep in mind what I've said.
When it comes to the OST I give Sword of the Stranger a big ol' thumbs up. The soundtrack is mostly comprised of intense war drum solos and saddening flute melodies. My biggest complaint is the lack of variation between most of the pieces. While they are all good, the majority of the tracks reuse similar or the same melodies and rhythms.
As I started describing earlier SOTS is filled with many characters, most of which aren't memorable in the slightest. Beyond our main trio, there are only two other memorable characters. Both of which only make an impression, because of their design and amount of screen time they receive; neither develop over the entire movie. Don't get me wrong, I understand that not every character should have a purpose beyond cannon fodder for the battle scenes; but SOTS gave far too much screen time to side characters for there to not be any sort of explanation and development.
On the positive side the interaction and development between our main characters is quite good and a real treat to watch. This is where the heart of the film comes from. These three characters brought out the light in every dark situation and truly made the movie a whole lot better than it would could have been. It's not often that an hour and a half long movie can bring a tear to my eye; but these guys did it somehow.
All flaws aside, Sword of the Stranger was great fun to watch and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a entertaining and memorable film. As a side note I would highly recommend this as a starter anime for anyone new to the medium. The action is exciting, the atmosphere is tense and the animation is beautiful. I give it a rating of Must Watch on my scale of recommendation.
Try The First Couple Episodes
Run For Your Life-Worst
As usual I recommend you buy a copy, and help support our local dubbing companies and the anime industry as a whole. However, just taking the time to watch it is of greater importance.
As a final statement I recommend that you take my numerical scores with a grain of salt; as numerical scores are easily skewed and each person has their own understanding of the 1-10 scale.
Thunder Kings review no.3: Sword of the Stranger
When I decided to watch Sword of the Stranger my expectations were set pretty high and after watching it I can gladly say that they were completely fulfilled. I expected good story set in interesting period of Japanese history and great productions values that studio Bones are known for, all of this were there and even more. Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the review of a fine piece of art that Sword of the Stranger is.
The Story 8/10
I was always interested in asian culture and history, it fascinated me as a huge history nerd. It was something different from the European culture that I grew to know and I became interested in Japans history and culture particularly when I started watching anime. Sword of the Stranger is set in Sengoku Shogunate period when Japan was greatly divided in lesser clans who constantly declared wars on each other to gain more power. The stories setting is wonderfully presented and characters who various from Japanese Samurai Warriors to foreigners from China suit it very well. Despite some light mystery plot devices conflicts in the movie feel realistic and in place in this period of cruel politics and war makin.
Sword of the Stranger is a story of a boy, a hound and a former Samurai getting to know each other as they are chased by mysterious warriors from china and japanese government. The story is mostly about bright themes such as trust and friendship but it have some dark undertones such as greed for power and egoistic desires. When the story itself isn't especially original it is definitely very well presented. There is always something interesting going on and amazingly EPIC fight scenes thrown in to keep viewers entertain. Only sometimes it may feel that the movie is constantly slowing down to get from the one great part to another. The final climax definitely deserves mentioning, it is everything that any shows final climax should be, want to know why? Watch it.
Sword of the Stranger is a type of movie that rewards you if you pay attention to the details, there are many things that are easily missed but matters to the plot. If your eyes did not caught everything, you can just rewatch the movie, it is really worth it.
The Animation 10/10
Let us start with one of things that make Sword of the Stranger one of my favorite anime. Fights. Such words as EPIC are heavily overused on the internet but there is no better way of describing fight scenes in this movie. You can't call them very realistic but they still manage to suit medieval Japans setting very well. Animations are extremely fluid and movements mostly realistic. For a 2007 the facial expressions are also amazingly well done. The movie is set in the early winter, that makes Sword of the Stranger feel different from the other anime that are set mostly in summer. Backgrounds are well done, in fact I would give 9 or 10 to this movie for animation if it would be aired this year and not almost seven years ago.
The Sound 10/10
I found movies soundtrack very emotional, actually I think that music contributes a lot to the feel of a whole movie. Both the amazingly animated fights scenes and what comes between would not have the same impact without this wonderful soundtrack.
I did not found anything wrong with the voice acting. The only "problem" that I had was the chinese voice acting. Honestly I can't tell if it's bad voice acting or just chinese doesn't sound that good for me(no offense for chinese people out there).
The Characters 8/10
For a two hours long movie Sword of the Strangers characters are good developed. There are few characters that goals are explained, there are some greedy characters, good guys or just common folk that just care for the weather and market prices. With good diversity and development of the main cast we already have a group of maybe not completely original but interesting characters. The way different characters behave is fairly realistic and suit Japans Sengoku period and historical accuracy is always a nice touch to any series.
The Enjoyment 9/10
I really liked excellent sword play that anime have to offer and realistic medieval Japans setting. Story wasn't very original but definitely enjoyable one. I have a weakness for samurai movies. Final climax was also excellent and show rewarded my attention to details. Overall extremely enjoyable movie, and one of my personal favorites.
Sword of the Stranger is definitely fine piece of art and I can easily recommend it to anyone. Even if your not a fan of japanese culture you probably find this movie enjoyable anyway, thanks to its extremely high production values and simple story that everybody can enjoy, more or less. read more
both samurai and have awesome art and fighting scenes
Easily two of the best swordfighting series out there. Both are set in a fictional historical setting of Japan, where the samurai way of life is strong. When it comes to fight scenes, we see amazing choreography that does't require supernatural abilities. Fight scenes are realistic, fluid, without having to resort to superpower moves, repetitive movements, long in-between conversations, and so forth. Samurai Champloo is episodic in nature and more light-hearted, but Sword of the Stranger is a film with a straightforward and serious plot.
Both are recommended to to anyone looking for some impressive sword fights and strong characters.
If you loved the action in one of the two, you should definitely check the other out. Champloo's action focuses more on the details and fluidity while sword of the stranger's has a more emotion driven and cinematic 'feel' to it.
Both facing a similar plot: traveling samurai.
Both anime placed in similar ages, and both having pretty good strong samurai as main characters.
Sword of the Stranger is a pearl (sadly a single movie) of animation and i can say that both anime are masterpieces in their own way.
Both have beautiful art and thoughtful stories. Also both have action that is executed well and without being gratuitous or over done.
It has the same type of fighting style, in my opinion - it's wild, anything goes!
They're both samurai themed with verry stylized fighting sequences, and both Mugen and Nanashi have a thing for saving the helpless (then of course getting so attached to the ones they saved that they risk their lives for them em' everytime they get in trouble... -.-)
Both series has great and crazy fights, a lot of humour and also main characters are similar.
I think when you liked Sword of the stranger, you will definitely like also this one.
samurai era setting, and exciting swordfight with good animation to boot!
Both Sword of the Stranger and Samurai Champloo were well done, and had intense sword fighting scenes.
However Sword of the Stranger was more serious that Samurai Champloo. That being said, Sword of the Stranger had more realistic fighting scenes. You could actually see the swords being swung instead of white lines where they were swung.
If you can, get Sword of the Stranger in 1080p because the animation was really well done, and you don't want to loose any quality.
Awesome fight in both anime. They both take place in a feudal Japan. They both don't lack of blood.
One of the few shows that can truly rival the animation and pure intensity of the sword fights in Samurai Champloo.
Both have similar stories and great action, although Stranger has more action.
And both have gorgeous art as a bonus.
Both animes have a very similar story (a guardian figure, in the form of a very skillful warrior, protecting the weaker innocent.) Seirei no moribito, being a tv series based on an epic fantasy novel series, obviously contains much more details in terms of story, characters and the setting. Sword of the stranger lacks that detail since its only a movie targeted at a smaller audience.
If you want a more fast paced, adrenaline-driven version of moribito with better action, then you dont need to look further than stranger - Mukoh Hadan. Though moribito has much more depth in terms of story and is much more heavy on the characters. 26 episodes also make sure that there is enough 'lore' to give the series (moribito) a stronger 'soul'
both are great animes!
Serei no moribito has a similair plot with Sword of the stranger.
Both anime have a amazing production quality.
Sword of the stranger concentrate on the action scenes, while Moribito focust on a epic story with a lot of drama, a slice of life and fantasy scenes with also(less) amazing action sequence.
Titanic effort of animators that brought hightdetailed backgrounds close to real paintings among with great dynamic fight scenes that surpass your typical shounen battle with more blabbering about being mighty than actually kickass action.Also starting point for theplot is nearly the same.
Both with amazing animation, similar situations, background and some similarities in the characters.
Both involve the main character protecting and guarding their child with initial apethetic reasons, that quickly become more personal and emotional ones.
Both feature intense fighting sequences, brilliant music, takes place during ancient Japan, and have a great endings = Chanbara genre.
About a lone warrior with a secret past. They become the protector for a young boy who is being pursued. Historical settings, with a little bit of the supernatural. Politics, drama, and action. And fine animation. 'Stranger' is a LOT more violent.
About a warrior with a secret past. They become the protector for a young boy who is being hunted. Historical settings, with a little bit of the supernatural. Both are similarly animated.
Very similar style
Except one has a male samurai and the other has a female who uses a spear.
However, Moribito is tamer than sword.
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