The year is 1614 AD. Two warring ninja clans, each supporting a son of Hidetada Tokugawa as the next shogun, send ten representatives each to fight to the death for the possession of a scroll. The prize: the annihilation of the other and the staunch support of the Tokugawa government for the winning clan for the next thousand years.
I can actually make a 3 word summary for this anime. It would go like this : KILL, KILL, KILL.
Heartless killing, endless dying. That pretty much made up the story. Almost every character was just blood thirsty, all except this anime’s Romeo and Juliet, aka Gennosuke and Oboro. It’s another story of forbidden love, I suppose. The forbidden love was a foot note for me – I was more engrossed by the fight scenes and the dramatic deaths of the ninjas.
The concept was actually new to me, but I was able to understand most of it. I was familiar with Samurai – themed anime, but
I have never watched a serious shinobi anime like this one (that’s right – Flame of Recca doesn’t count). I’m not sure what separates the two, but from what I notice, Ninjas are less moral and are more likely into killing, that’s why the Iga and Kouga ninjas were chosen to fight it out with each other to come up with the decision on who will succeed the third shogun. I am not sure whether or not this really happened (I don’t think so) but there were a lot of historical references that were explained (thank God!). It's another opportunity to learn about Japanese culture and history!
So the characters ended up killing each other in the way they knew how – using their different techniques of course. They all had unique techniques, from super sticky phlegm to blood sucking skin to deadly glances. These techniques gave spice to the already violent carnage.
Like their techniques, their respective practitioners were equally impressive and different (Although the girls looked alike, and Koshirou and Yashamaru as well). I was sad that some were only shown for a short time, because their personalities and character made it seem like they were going to stick around longer.
I have to commend the voice acting for this one. Even though I’m not that fluent in Japanese, I know well enough Japanese slang to tell that the language they’re using was the one used in that era. They seem to say “Gozaimasu” a lot. Generally, the seiyus brought out the personalities of their respective characters, and that’s always a good thing.
The drawing style was pretty good, but I found that it can be a bit exaggerated sometimes. Body proportions were kinda weird. Everyone and everything seemed to be big. The women had huge, nipple-less chests (Found out from all the naked girl fight scenes). The men had overly large frames, but they are ninjas so I’m not sure about that. The wrinkles on the elders were a bit too extreme. They were kind with Danjou, but poor Ogen. She was so beautiful in her youth and when she got old they made her look REALLY old. There were a lot of hair too - everyone just seemed so hairy. The landscapes and backgrounds were nicely drawn though, and I did detect a hint of CG just to compliment some scenes. I was kinda ticked that a lot of the scenes were in the dark, which made it hard for me to tell what was happening. Oh well, they didn’t have light then anyway. When the scenes were during the daytime, you could tell the colors were done nicely and complimented each other instead of clashing with each other.
I noticed there was a great variety of BGM – most of them were gloomy though. It did fit the series well, but that’s about it. They didn’t heighten the mood of the scene or anything like that. The opening theme singer’s voice (which is actually Oboro’s seiyu) sounded a bit operatic, so I didn’t like the opening theme that much. I liked both the ending songs though, they seemed more current compared to the opening theme. Anyway, all in all the music fit the mood of the anime.
Again I was hesitant with this one – Didn’t really want to watch it at first since I thought it was going to be too serious, but it ended up to be very exciting and likable. Let’s not forget the violence and gore either, It may seem like I like shojo more, but I actually love violent series just as much.
Story: (9/10) - Great
The story is simple - two warring ninja clans kill each other. Don't let the simple plot fool you though, there is a forbidden love story thrown into the mix aswell, and that is pulled off well. The best way to describe this would be a ultra-violent Romeo and Juliet sort of story. I enjoyed the story very much, but it had it's flaws. Many of the characters that appear only last for a few episodes, and I felt that they could have been kept along just a bit longer. But, after all, the main premise of this anime is two ninja
clans killing each other, so I'm not really that upset.
Art: (10/10) - Outstanding
This is some of the best art I have ever seen in Anime, period. I am not exaggerating one bit. Even if you don't like the plot, the sound, or the characters, you should watch this Anime just for the art. If I could rate the art eleven out of ten, I would. Simply epic art. Much detail is put into everything that you see. The backgrounds are rich and colorful, but not too colorful, and seem to pop out of the screen at you. The characters are well designed, and convincing. Even some of the CGI, although it is rarely used, is well done. The only bad point I would give the art would be that some of the characters were designed rather oddly, with massive deformations which takes away from the otherwise blatant realism of this Anime.
Sound: 9/10 - Great
There really isn't much to say about the sound. I watched this series dubbed for the first five episodes then switched over to subtitles. The dub is well done, but it is very strange watching Ninja's in seventeenth century Japan speaking English. The subtitles are well done, but they were a tad bit small for my taste, although I do have rather bad vision. The one bad point about the sound is that a lot of the characters that are voiced are given very unrealistic voices, and it is hard to see a character in real life speaking that way. Also, some of the sound effects are a bit overdone.
Character: 8/10 - Very Good
The characters aren't anything special in themselves, but a good amount of character development is done. As said earlier, the two main characters resemble Romeo and Juliet, in a forbidden love scenario. A complaint I have about the characters is also as mentioned before in the art section -- many of them are massively deformed with huge tumors and the like. I am not sure if they meant to do this to show that they had no modern medicine, but some of the deformations are so over the top that they would be almost impossible in real life unless the character was suffering from a severe case of elephantiasis. Also, some of the characters are killed off way too soon, and I feel that they could have had use in the plot.
Enjoyment - 10/10 - Outstanding
I watched this show in a matter of three days, which is pretty good if you ask me. This series if very, very enjoyable, one of the best around. If you have some spare time, I would recommend putting aside a weekend and marathoning it with some friends. This anime has a rather good re watch value also.
Overall: 9/10 - Great
This is a very good anime series, and despite some of it's flaws, is a must see for any fan. I would say that about 95% of the people who watch this will like it. I would say that this series is appropriate for children over the age of fifteen, because it does include violence, scenes of rape, nudity, blood, and mildly suggestive themes. Main Verdict - Buy, rent, or download this anime -- it is great!
Oh my word, this has got to be the greatest ninja/shinobi anime ever made.
It is romantic, gory, action-packed, dramatic, deep and beautiful in every way.
The story is a revamp of the old Kouga/Iga ninja conflict. It is interesting and involving. The story is a historical piece, but it becomes so much more because it reminds you that the people involved were PEOPLE, who had lives and loves and everything in-between. The plot follows a bloody death match; there's execution-style story-telling, and it reels you in from the first episode to the chilling final one.
The art was excellent. Couldn't do any better. It
has a unique style, the colour pallet was amazing, the background art was gorgeous and the animation was astounding (excellent fight scenes).
The characters were deep and three-dimensional. There are more than 10 people you will see who has the focus on the anime on them, but each is interesting and has a backstory to them so it helps us understand who they are.
If you think Naruto is the greatest ninja anime ever, this isn't for you, because you wouldn't know quality if it stuck you in the eye with a kunai. There was nothing unfabulous about this anime, so do watch it.
I absolutely adored Basilisk. Firstly, it probably had the most beautiful and well designed graphics in all the animes i have watched. The characters are well drawn, and the backgrounds and sceneries are simply breathtaking. It is most certainly a breath of fresh air from lesser animes with low quality graphics.
Secondly, Basilisk is extremely fast paced. Expect to see lots of action in every episode, and at least one person dying in each episode. This is widely in contrast with slow paced but highly raved about anime like Naruto. Furthermore, the fight scenes are well paced and thought out. It is anyone's guess who gets
to fight who next, keeping one in much suspense throughout the show.
Also, this anime is not just about killing and fighting and killing and fighting. Because, underneath these violence belies the main crux of the story, which is the tragic love between both main characters of the opposing clans which spanned two generations. The final episode is a fitting albeit predictable (to most) ending to the story, and is simply touching. Expect to shed more than a few buckets of tears, if you are the emotional sort.
Moreover, the reminiscence episode in the middle of the series brings in a tone of bittersweet happiness of the characters' past, which showed that the beginning of an acceptance of each clan before the killings started.
Lastly, i have to express my surprise that this series is not more well known than it is. And has grown to become one of my favorite animes. Highly recommended to all.