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Sword of the Stranger ending (warning: spoilers!)
MyAnimeList.net Forum »» Anime Discussion »» Series Discussion »» Stranger: Mukou Hadan »» Sword of the Stranger ending (warning: spoilers!)

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#1
02-03-09, 9:30 PM

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My roommate and I are having a tough time figuring out the ending. So far, the way we interpret the ending is 50/50 and we need some other opinions. What do you think happens at the end? Does Nanashi die, or not?
 
#2
02-04-09, 10:51 AM

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It's an impossible question to answer, because we're never shown whether he dies or not. It's left to audience interpretation. I personally would say that it looks like he's going to die, but I like to think he's not going to because you just gotta love Nanashi. :P
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#3
02-04-09, 7:00 PM

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You sided with my roommate, she also thinks that. I think he dies because there's no way he could survive with those wounds in that time period. Plus the kid's facial expression at the end leads me to believe that Nanashi died. But hey, it's anime and the biggest lesson you can get from it is that dying is exceptionally hard to do in anime!
 
#4
02-07-09, 7:44 AM

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Well yea I think it kind of sucks to think he dies and to me it appears he did. We go through this epic adventure with this awesome character who conquers most everything- and all he gets is a slow death... Oh and his little buddies life is prolonged somewhat but who knows how long he will live without a guardian or parents. Still I think the director wanted viewers to feel pain for the Nanashi to see him die that way was incredibly powerful closure to an awesome movie.

I think he dies because if you pause the movie at the last few seconds and take a good look at the snow, you see horse footprints, dog footprints, and then what appears to be a few big drops of blood on the white snow just as they are riding off immediately before the credits.

Modified by Alderban, 02-09-09, 6:05 AM
 
#5
02-07-09, 2:15 PM

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I dont think he dies though. I mean the blood that just dripped off was just to show that he was still injured. ..... I guess it can be interpreted either way. I find open endings as a scapegoat from writing a proper ending and bringing real closure.
 
#6
02-07-09, 2:48 PM

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NamariKirei said:
You sided with my roommate, she also thinks that. I think he dies because there's no way he could survive with those wounds in that time period. Plus the kid's facial expression at the end leads me to believe that Nanashi died. But hey, it's anime and the biggest lesson you can get from it is that dying is exceptionally hard to do in anime!


We never actually saw Nanashi's wound though, and he was still standing after he defeated Rarou. Kotarou had a determined look on his face at the end as well, as if to say that he's going to make sure Nanashi doesn't die. Theres a strong chance that someone in Nanashi's position could recover if taken to a doctor in time.
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#7
02-07-09, 7:17 PM

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I think he dies, but I hope that he lives.
 
#8
02-09-09, 6:07 AM

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I agree open endings suck major @$$ i dont get why so many animes choose to end this way its like a half done novel
 
#9
02-09-09, 6:50 AM

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Sword of the Stranger's ending wasn't exactly open. Nanashi saved Kotarou and the Chinese group were defeated. That's closure right there. Nanashi's death was just left for the audience to decide, that's all. It's much better ending it that way anyway. A 'and they lived happily ever after' ending wouldn't have suited Sword of the Stranger and they can't exactly kill off Nanashi right at the end, that would just plain suck.
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02-09-09, 6:13 PM

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Alderban said:
Well yea I think it kind of sucks to think he dies and to me it appears he did. We go through this epic adventure with this awesome character who conquers most everything- and all he gets is a slow death... Oh and his little buddies life is prolonged somewhat but who knows how long he will live without a guardian or parents. Still I think the director wanted viewers to feel pain for the Nanashi to see him die that way was incredibly powerful closure to an awesome movie.

I think he dies because if you pause the movie at the last few seconds and take a good look at the snow, you see horse footprints, dog footprints, and then what appears to be a few big drops of blood on the white snow just as they are riding off immediately before the credits.



I agree. If there was still blood coming from Nanashi at the end, plus the fact that it must of been jarring for him to be riding on top of that horse, I think he died. Plus there was a quick moment of sadness on the kid's face before he shook the reigns for the horse to go faster at the end. It all leads me to believe that he died, even though I didn't want him to. (And I'm being blamed for being a pessimist.)
 
02-10-09, 11:48 AM

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Touka Said
Sword of the Stranger's ending wasn't exactly open. Nanashi saved Kotarou and the Chinese group were defeated. That's closure right there. Nanashi's death was just left for the audience to decide, that's all. It's much better ending it that way anyway. A 'and they lived happily ever after' ending wouldn't have suited Sword of the Stranger and they can't exactly kill off Nanashi right at the end, that would just plain suck.



I agree a disney like happy ending is not suitable for this type of movie, but an open ending in my mind is an ending that just introduces more questions. Does he die? Does the kid make it to the doctor in time? Does the kid die? And so on. I give this movie a 10/10 but the ending was strange to me.
 
02-10-09, 11:51 AM

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Nanashi dies. No question about it. If he lived, then the last shot of the movie wouldn't have been of his blood on the snow, and of him slumped against the kid.

However, they should have been clear about it. Instead, seemed like they were trying to cater to people who only like happy endings with a pretty bow by not completely showing his death.
 
02-10-09, 1:31 PM

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Alderban said:
Touka Said
Sword of the Stranger's ending wasn't exactly open. Nanashi saved Kotarou and the Chinese group were defeated. That's closure right there. Nanashi's death was just left for the audience to decide, that's all. It's much better ending it that way anyway. A 'and they lived happily ever after' ending wouldn't have suited Sword of the Stranger and they can't exactly kill off Nanashi right at the end, that would just plain suck.



I agree a disney like happy ending is not suitable for this type of movie, but an open ending in my mind is an ending that just introduces more questions. Does he die? Does the kid make it to the doctor in time? Does the kid die? And so on. I give this movie a 10/10 but the ending was strange to me.


I get what you mean, but asking questions like if Kotarou dies or not is just like asking 'so what happens after they live happily ever after?' The main plot was over and done with by the end. Leaving us with one or two questions on our minds doesn't mean it has an open ending. Nearly every film leaves you with a few questions in your mind once it's over, despite whether it actually has an open ending or not. Well, whatever though, this isn't really a debate that can be settled. To each his own. :P

naikou said:
Instead, seemed like they were trying to cater to people who only like happy endings with a pretty bow by not completely showing his death.


Well leaving his death up to debate isn't exactly a happy ending anyway, so I doubt they're trying to appeal to people who like happy endings. It's just how they wanted to end it and how it was best to end it.
Modified by Touka, 02-10-09, 1:34 PM
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02-10-09, 2:33 PM

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Touka said:
Well leaving his death up to debate isn't exactly a happy ending anyway, so I doubt they're trying to appeal to people who like happy endings. It's just how they wanted to end it and how it was best to end it.

They wanted to have an artsy ending, but they didn't have the balls to go all the way. Solution? Make the masses and the critics happy by leaving it ambiguous. Everyone is happy!

Except me, because I'm just mean like that.
 
04-21-09, 5:04 PM

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I want to believe he lived, but there are too many hints from the director that he died.

- the often used "let's leave this place" discussion preceding a character's death
- Kotarou's realization that the town is too far away, then his forced smile
- intentionally drawing attention to a blood trail in the final frames
- an emotionally building soundtrack that screams "SACRIFICE"
- the symmetry of having saved a child's life in exchange for his own

There are other leading factors, like having the story end with him remaining nameless, something that surely would change if he lived on with Kotarou, but I believe those 5 are the main ones. I really wish he hadn't died (he really was awesome), but to me, it's a definite that he did.
 
05-25-09, 8:46 PM

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I think everyone is looking too much into this. The "treasure" is supposed to have saved Nanashi, there was only a drop of blood that fell on it. Although the pool of blood that fell just near it seemed to be of Nanashi initially, I now think it was from Rauro's wound.

Firstly, Nanashi was standing in a normal way after the fight. He didn't even try to hold any wound on his left side giving me the reason to think there was no serious wound in that final blow from Raoro, although there was definitely a lot of blood on the left side of his body.

Secondly, Rauro's sword in that scene (originally Nanashi's) had no blood on it. Compare that to Rauro's sword held by Nanashi, it was covered in blood.

Thirdly, the blood on the tracks in the final scene was most probably from the wound on nanashi's hand as it was shown in that scene.
Modified by Sapta, 05-25-09, 8:58 PM
 
05-28-09, 8:28 AM

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Sapta said:
I think everyone is looking too much into this. The "treasure" is supposed to have saved Nanashi, there was only a drop of blood that fell on it. Although the pool of blood that fell just near it seemed to be of Nanashi initially, I now think it was from Rauro's wound.

Firstly, Nanashi was standing in a normal way after the fight. He didn't even try to hold any wound on his left side giving me the reason to think there was no serious wound in that final blow from Raoro, although there was definitely a lot of blood on the left side of his body.

Secondly, Rauro's sword in that scene (originally Nanashi's) had no blood on it. Compare that to Rauro's sword held by Nanashi, it was covered in blood.

Thirdly, the blood on the tracks in the final scene was most probably from the wound on nanashi's hand as it was shown in that scene.


I thoroughly agree with this. +1 Sapta. :)

We would be ignoring the story teller's intention with that treasure piece if we come to a conclusion that he died. Its not that I would want him alive just because the dude rocked. :D

The last scene with the blood drop can also be seen as attention to detail and not just an indication. Because if you make it an indicative proof of his death then as mentioned before the treasure piece loses its own indication. It would be pointless to keep him alive for that short duration and have him die in the end after the dramatic save (because of the treasure).
 
05-31-09, 10:20 AM

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Despite everything, I still gotta give it to the story writers for having the guts to kill off practically all their characters.
 
06-30-09, 11:54 PM

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He wasn't holding on to Kotarou at all, you could see his hands flopped down the side of the horse, and right at the end blood on the snow from his wounds, plus as someone said, Kotatou's facial expression aswell, it's pretty certain that he dies.

He killed a couple kids, never wanted to draw his sword again, but then finds a reason to - to protect, he saved the kid and done his good deed, and now he can die, that's how I see it.

Edit: About the 'treasure', if you were paying attention, it was cut clean in two, it did absorb a lot of impact from Rauro's final blow, but that just means it didn't kill him instantly like nanashi's final blow did to Rauro, it still wounded him badly but able to stay alive long enough for the next 5 minutes of the film or whatever.


Of course, I would prefer if he didn't die, I like happy endings as much as the next guy, but there's too much evidence pointing to him dying :[
Modified by Sunwind, 07-01-09, 12:00 AM
 
08-25-09, 6:05 PM

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I'm kinda on the fence for this one as well.

In my opinion:
- The jade treasure was used to save his life to show that by doing a good deed towards Kotarou he was to live on and be forgiven for killing the boy in his past.
- Nanashi asks, "Are we near the town?" Then Kotarou replies that they are almost there. To me this is a reference to earlier in the movie when they are riding to find a town to treat the dog after being poisoned and Kotarou keeps asking if they are almost there. In that case the dog was saved, why not the same here?
- All the people in the movie were injured far worse than that and still kept on trucking. (Although they did end up dying later on, but this was because they got a few more sword strokes to their body, or a few more arrows stuck in them.)


But on the other hand, who would show all the blood dripping in the snow in such a dramatic way unless he was dying?
 
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