Most helpful positive review
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Blu-ray: I enjoyed the series a lot...but the picture quality has some problems...
on January 4, 2010
The popular 1958 novel "The Kouga Ninja Scrolls" by Futaro Yamada was adapted into a manga series titled "K'ga Ninp' Ch'~"" (Basilisk: The Koga Ninja Scrolls) in 2004-2005 by Masaki Segawa and winning the 2004 Kodansha Manga Award.
The anime series adaptation was then produced by Gonzo Studios in 2005 and is now the complete series is now available on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.
"Basilisk" is about two ninja clans at war, the Kouga and the Iga clan who have fought each other for four hundred years but a "no hostilities" pact is made to prevent the two from going into war.
We are given a glimpse of the past when the Iga clan's Princess Ogen and the Kouga clan's leader Danjou. Two people from opposing clans who were planning to get married. With the two clans living in peace, it looked as if marriage was possible until fighting began in the Iga village and survivors from the village were killed by the Kouga clan.
Needless to say, the two lovers became hated enemies but due to a "no hostilities" pact, there would be no fighting between the two clans.
Fast forward many decades later and now Ogen is the elder of the Iga Clan and Danjou of the Kouga clan. With the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu now retiring, their is a dispute of who will be taking over as the Third Tokugawa Shogun. So, in order to decide, Tokugawa lifts the pact and the rules are each clan can select 10 of their best ninjas. Whoever is the last one standing and has complete control of the scroll will be the rightful heir.
As Ogen and Danjou have been waiting for this moment, their own offspring are in a similar predicament that they were in when they were younger. Princess Oboro of the Iga clan and Gennosuke, leader of the Kouga clan are planning to get married. With peace in their land, the two feel that their marriage can hopefully end all hostilities.
But it is too late. For Ogen and Danjou, they know that their offspring will now face what they faced but this time, the two clans will go to war. With Ogen and Danjou part of their clan's top 10 ninja, the two fight each other and are the first to go down. The Iga clan are the first to learn about the pact being lifted and while Oboro invites Gennosuke to her village, unbeknown to him is that the Iga clan are waiting to kill him.
The war begins as now Gennosuke and Oboro, two lovers are now in opposing sides of the war. Their job is to lead their clan to annihilate the other but with the two deeply in love, which is stronger...their love for each other or their clan's 400-year hatred for each other.
"Basilisk - The Complete Series" features the following 24-episodes on 3 Blu-ray discs.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Basilisk - The Complete Series" is featured in 1080p High Definition (16×9). The character designs by Michinori Chiba is quite awesome. I really like the character designs of each of the characters and how the characters blend into the actual painted backgrounds. Part of the challenge that I'm sure Gonzo had to face is the number of characters featured in this series but for the most part, the animation was solid.
As for colors, colors are not as extremely vibrant compared to a series such as "Burst Angel - The Complete Series" on Blu-ray which utilize a lot of reds and oranges but its important to emphasize that "Basilisk - The Complete Series" is a TV series and not an OVA or film. The series takes place tends to put more emphasis on the character designs rather than the surroundings (since mostly everything is either Japanese homes, walls or trees and lush green scenery). Also, focusing on the action sequences and the characters abilities.
Not all is perfect with this upconvert though. There are a few times that I've noticed compression artifacts and also some discoloration (nowhere near the amount of colorful globs that I spotted on the Blu-ray release of "Samurai Champloo" but you do see it during the dark sequences) which is probably due to the DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) filtering.
As for audio, the lossless audio soundtrack is primarily the English audio track which is presented in Dolby TrueHD English 5.1. Also, included is a Dolby Digital English 2.0 (for the commentary track) and Japanese 2.0 soundtrack. I was hoping for this anime series that the audio would include a Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack but it doesn't. Fortunately, the English dub was very good and was able to get into the dialogue.
The lossless soundtrack features clear dialogue coming from the center channel as the front channels features the music and sound effects. The surround channels also feature the sound effects of swords clanging, abilities that are explosive, thunder and rainstorms, you name it...there is a good use of the surround channels in this series. As well as the use of LFE through the subwoofer for large and short rumbles.
Subtitles are in English.
"Basilisk - The Complete Series" comes with the following special features spread out onto three Blu-ray discs:
* "The Onslaught of War" Audio Commentary - Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Tyler Walker, Mark Stoddard (voice actor of Tenzen) and discussion about Tenzen's character.
* Behind the Scenes of Basilisk: Japanese Original First Press Extra Features #3 - (31:54) Featuring voice talents Kousuke Toriumi (Gennosuke), Risa Hayamizu (Kagero), Youji Ueda (Saemon) and Haruka Kimura (Okoi) discussing the figures that come with the special edition DVD releases in Japan, discussion about their characters, reading letters from fans and more.
* Behind the Scenes of Basilisk: Japanese Original Extra Features #4 - (31:22) Featuring voice talents Kousuke Toriumi (Gennosuke), Risa Hayamizu (Kagero), Youji Ueda (Saemon) and Haruka Kimura (Okoi) discussing their favorite scenes in the episode of that DVD volume and reading letters from fans.
* Behind the Scenes of Basilisk: Japanese Original Extra Features #5 - (31:22) Featuring voice talents Kousuke Toriumi (Gennosuke), Risa Hayamizu (Kagero), Tomokazu Sugita (Hattori Kyohachiro) and Fumihiko Tachiki (Hattori Hanzo) discussing their characters, the Hattori family, favorite scenes in the episode of that DVD volume and reading letters from fans.
* Behind the Scenes of Basilisk: Japanese Original Extra Features #6 - (32:39) Featuring voice talents Kousuke Toriumi (Gennosuke), Risa Hayamizu (Kagero), Tomokazu Sugita (Hattori Kyohachiro) and Fumihiko Tachiki (Hattori Hanzo) discussing their favorite scenes in the episode of that DVD volume and reading letters from fans.
* Behind the Scenes of Basilisk: Japanese Original Extra Features #7 - (33:07) Featuring voice talents Kousuke Toriumi (Gennosuke), Risa Hayamizu (Kagero), Naoki Yanagi (Yashamaru) and Miyuki Sawashiro (Hotarubi) discussing their characters, favorite scenes in the episode of that DVD volume and reading letters from fans.
* Behind the Scenes of Basilisk: Japanese Original Extra Features #8 - (32:44) Featuring voice talents Kousuke Toriumi (Gennosuke), Risa Hayamizu (Kagero), Naoki Yanagi (Yashamaru) and Miyuki Sawashiro (Hotarubi) discussing their favorite scenes in the episode of that DVD volume and reading letters from fans.
* Behind the Scenes of Basilisk: Japanese Original Extra Features #9 - (33:02) Featuring voice talents Kousuke Toriumi (Gennosuke), Risa Hayamizu (Kagero), Yasushi Miyabayashi (Hyoma) and Misa Watanabe (Akeginu) discussing their characters, favorite scenes in the episode of that DVD volume and reading letters from fans.
* History of the Ninja - A text based info. on the history of ninja. This may be hard to read for those viewing with smaller screens.
* Cast Auditions - Audio featuring ADR director Tyler Walker who talks about the casting process and cast auditions with the American voice talent and what he was looking for.
* Textless Songs - Featuring the textles opening theme "Kouga Ninpo Cho" and the two textless closing themes "Himemurasaki" and "WILD EYES".
* Trailers - Featuring FUNimation Entertainment trailers.
I was absolutely captivated by "Basilisk". Each episode had meaning... were action-packed, gripping and no filler episodes that was just making the series question myself of when certain situations were going to happen. Each episode has its consequence and the fact that the series features so many characters with interesting capabilities, it definitely made my viewing of this series worthwhile. I literally was watching each episode one after the other and enjoying it.
In the end, "Basilisk - The Complete Series" gets my pick for runner up for best anime TV series on Blu-ray for 2009 (behind "Fullmetal Panic! The Second Raid"). Where "Basilisk - The Complete Series" comes up short is that the DNR filtering tends to add to the discoloration of the upconverted picture quality of the anime series and also the lack of the a lossless Japanese audio soundtrack was a bit of a bummer. The problems that were quite evident on "Samurai Champloo" is quite visible in "Basilisk", especially in disc 2 since most of the action take place during the night and the color blobs become a bit more evident.
Aside from the PQ shortcoming, fortunately, the English dub was pretty solid. For a period-based anime series, I was hoping for a lossless Japanese soundtrack but with a modern receiver, I suppose we can compensate by selecting audio on all channels.
But truthfully, the storyline of "Basilisk" is just too captivating to pass up on Blu-ray. The original DVD's didn't have great picture quality to begin with, so things do look much better on Blu-ray. I felt "Basilisk" had the best story plot-wise compared to the other anime TV series released on Blu-ray in 2009 thus far. And for those who want more of Futaro Yamada's "The Kouga Ninja Scrolls" can purchase the Blu-ray release of the live action film "Shinobi: Heart Under Blade" also available from FUNimation Entertainment.
For those wondering about the TV MA rating, the anime series is quite violent and there is quite a bit of blood and bod part dismemberment. The violence is fitting for this anime series but if you are into violent anime, then "Basilisk - The Complete Series" may not be for you.
Overall, "Basilisk - The Complete Series" is a very good release with a few shortcomings. Fans who have enjoyed anime series such as "Ninja Scroll" to action-based (and very bloody) ninja battles and many characters featured to watch and enjoy. In the end, I feel that "Basilisk - The Complete Series" is just an enjoyable and a highly entertaining anime that deserves being included in your anime on Blu-ray collection.