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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Basilisk - The Complete Series" comes with the following special features spread out onto three Blu-ray discs:

Disc 1:

* "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.

Disc 3:

* 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.

JUDGMENT CALL:

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.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
So what does it ake to get one such as me to recommend the umpteenth version of the classic Romeo and Juliet tale of star-crossed lovers when every avenue has been explored? Three words: just add ninjas. Actually, that's not fair. This is no mere family feud. This is a brutal conflict between ninja clans in the aftermath of the Warring States period of ancient Japan. This anime is based on a manga which was based on a 1958 Japanese novel which was also adapted into an excellent live action film, Shinobi - Heart Under Blade. In it, the Tokugawa Shogunate invites the Iga and Kouga ninja clans to decide which of the shogun's grandchildren will succeed him. The contest: a 20-man/woman battle to the death. This is complicated by the fact that Hattori Hanzo'a cease-fire pact between the two competing clans has kept them from each other's throats while both have been in service to the Shogunate. But with the country unified, what use is there for two clans of spies and assassins anymore? The conflict between Kouga and Iga had been long and bloody and now all of the the tension was set to explode. 10 people from each side, last man or woman standing determines the victor and the shogun's successor. But the complications are complicated by yet another factor. The successor to the Iga clan's leadership, a beautiful but unskillful girl named Oboro is set to wed the Kouga clan's successor, Gennosuke, in an attempt to permanently heal the old wounds. And now with the government has gone and ordered the two clans to slaughter one another once again. What's a warrior of the shadows in love to do?

If you thought Ninja Scroll was something, then prepare to be blown away. This is one of the best anime series out there. Period. The characters are memorable, the supernatural ninjitsu powers are utilized to outstanding ends, the art is wonderful to look upon, and the story is as heart-rending, beautiful, and violent as it is action-packed. You really get to know the 20 shinobi warriors (double the film's cast) before they meet their invariably gruesome demises. You feel every single death and every one of them is a devastating blow to Oboro and Gennosuke's relationship. Ancient hatreds boil over and old grudges kept hidden are brought back to the forefront as the two clans battle their way to the palace where the survivor(s) will decide who is named the next shogun and the infighting in the government can end.

Each warrior in "Basilisk" has a unique personality and a supernatural power they wield. There's Saemon who can imtiate the voice and appearance of anyone, his tomboy sister Okoi who can suck the blood through skin-to-skin contact -making sexuality her most devastating weapon, the villainous Tenzen -host to a parasite that grants him immortality, and my favorite, Hotarubi, who can summon up a swarm of beautiful incandescent butterflies and keeps a trained venomous snake up her sleeve just to name a few. As the plot unfolds we learn about all of the relationships within each clan and get chances to see both sides of the story. An episode focusing on the peaceful days of the two clans is truly revealing and drives home that the characters are not simply one-dimensional killing machines, but caring individuals who were happy playing with little Oboro as a child or fishing at the creek before all this happened. Only when driven into this conflict do murderous intentions begin to arise and once the killing starts, there is brutal vengeance all around. The time taken to craft and add meaning to these characters' lives is part of what makes this a cut above any other ninja anime out there.

The anime's finale is very different from the film's and far superior. The end of the carnage brings a certain happy release to both the viewer and remaining characters and is damn romantic in my opinion. Like any good Shakespearean tale, "Basilisk" ends with a lot of corpses, but also a feeling of having experienced a masterful story that was perfectly paced and as satisfying as they come. Anybody who hasn't seen it should, and the same should be said for "Shinobi". This is the furthest thing from animated cartoons for children; this is just amazing entertainment in any form.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2008
Format: DVD
The box set itself is the finest I own, but the contents make this an absolute jewel. This is wonderfully amazing stuff.

This work will pull the entire spectrum of emotions from you. Love, hate, anger, outrage, excitement, humor... and sadness. (Everything but boredom)

The characters are deep and inspiring.
The artwork is amazing.
The "Romeo and Juliet" theme is absolutely heart wrenching...
The music is seemingly rich with tradition. (I say seemingly because it sounds very traditional to me, but I'm no real judge of that type of thing.)

This is another amazing anime you really shouldn't miss.

The women are voluptuous, sexy, and strangely genuine for all of the fantasy that this anime demonstrates.

The men are heroic and majestic and again very honest for this class of animation.

I highly recommend this to anyone who can taste a "bitter sweet" story and bask in it. You have to be able to stomach high degrees of turmoil and human devastation at a very personal level to really appreciate this. The anguish and pain is in stark contrast to the backdrop of love and peace that our two lovers share and desire for their clans.

The families on both sides demonstrate amazing levels of warmth when dealing with their own people. Yet, they also display powerful aggression when confronting each other. This make them very human, and makes it easy to like even the most terrible characters.

This one is not for kids, and I think it may have left me emotionally scared for life... hehe

The story is rich and it also speaks to the horrors that people on the "front line" experience because of "the abuse of power" by those who pursue politics before compassion.

This is truly an anime that delivers on everything. The story, the creativity, a sense of belief, and an honest way of telling the story is very striking.

In this case "you get what you pay for" really doesn't do this justice... I think here you get MUCH, MUCH more than you pay for.

It is fantastic, do yourself a favor and get it. You will find it to be a remarkable journey.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This anime series tackles the conflict between two ninja clans and is tastefully done. Underneath the bloody fights between the ninjas is a simple story that unlies the entire series. I find the characters believable and enjoy the development of the story. I consider it one of the animes that should be watched by anime lovers who are into the fighting genre.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
The brief description given from the amazon website pretty much gives for the most part the storyline of the series.The animation and audio are by far the best for most series anime the subplots are also very well done.I would like to tell most viewers about the smaller subplots but it would take to long to explain the very core of the ninja characters suffice it to say both the Kouga and Iga ninjas have personal tragedies either in past conflicts with each other or because of the current contest their now competing against each other with.This series is not for children as there is a near rape scene in one episode and a near hentai scene on another episode there is no outright nudity to much except for a few quick topless shots here and there.The dvd video comes in widescreen format and 5.1 english audio or 2.0 japanese audio.The english and japanese voice actors do a superb job with this series and the ending at the end of this though very heart-breaking is one that truly fit with the story.The price of this set is high but if you like anime like Samurai 7 or the movie Shinobi Heart Under Blade this set would be great for your collection.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2010
Format: DVD
This show has alot of good and alot of bad in it. For starters, I was incredibly pleased with the creativity of it all. The Ninjas have really cool, unique abilities such as lethal body hair, blood-sucking touch, and one guy is an armless, legless astrologer with a tongue like a Chameleon and a knife he hides in his own freaking throat! The story is good and loaded with espionage. During the first 5 episodes, theres a monsterous heap of spectacular action scenes and top-notch animation. It also helps the intrigue of the show that it relates to factual historical events.

Unfortunately, after episode 5, action scenes become scarce and disappointingly breif. Also, animation quality drops, theres almost no comedic relief whatsoever and

**WARNING! SPOILER WITHIN THIS BRACKET** --> ]

One last tick-off this show provides is Tenzen. He rapes, tortures and is one of the most loathsome villians I have ever seen (which DOES make it all the more satisfying when he finally gets what he deserves... still, Tenzen is such a gnarly villian that re-watching certain episodes calls for keeping one finger on the Fast Forward button...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2010
Format: DVD
Basilisk is a beautiful & dark action packed love story that centers around the Kouga & Iga ninja clans. I would describe it as Romeo & Juliet meets Ninja Scroll done VERY well.

Kouga Gennosuke & Iga Oboro are to be married, ending the longstanding fued between the two clans once & for all. Unfortunately, before the happy occasion can take place & in order to decide which of the retired Shogun's heirs will succeed him, the treaty that prevented their clans from waging war against each other is broken. Ten Ninja from each clan are chosen to represent each of the heirs to the shogunate. The clan that succeeds in wiping out the other will determine the next Shogun. One can pretty much tell that this is not a story with a happy ending. Despite that, the action is plenty (& fairly violent) & the storyline interesting. Basilisk is not all dark & depressing. It does have its lighter moments (mostly in flashback form), but in the same breath, it makes the story that much more tragic.

For those of you who like to know about the packaging (Hey, I like to know these things too!), here is a (not so) brief description:
All six DVDs are housed in a fold out like "booklet" made out of a heavy card stock type paper embossed with a snake skin type pattern. The DVDs are held in place by a clear plastic holder that allows the artwork of all the main characters to show thru. When folded back up, there is a red ribbon that is tied to keep it held together (& to make it pretty). In addition, this set includes all six booklets (that also came w/ the individual limited editon DVDs) that has more artwork & interviews with the Basilisk creators. The booklets have their own little case that they are held in. All of this is then stored in a cardboard slipcase depicting the Iga clan (the one pictured for the product, NOT the customer image of the wooden Ltd. Edit. starter box). What is not shown is the slipcover that slides over the slipcase. The slipcover depicts the Kouga clan & it is also embossed with a snake skin type pattern. Imo, this is one of the nicer series box sets out there & well worth adding to any anime collection.

I very much enjoyed this series & highly recommend it. However, due to its mature content, I do not recommend children under 16/17 watch it. The deaths can be a bit graphic, there is some nudity, violence towards women (including a near rape & an implied rape scene), sex & a bit of rough language. Basilisk consists of 24 episodes on six discs with a run time of approximately 600 minutes. Funimation did a good job with the dub as well, Imo. I also enjoyed the music & think that it fits the series well. DVD extras include: History of the Ninja, Character Cast Auditions, Director/Actor Commentary, Original Japanese Extras, Textless Songs & Trailers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
This series was a great love story about two feuding ninja clans. the story dose relate to romeo and juliet, however it's execution was original.. this series sucked me in and didn't let me down..this anime was fascinating from beginning to end....If you enjoy ninja or samurai based anime this is a must have....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is one of my favourite anime series. There is a deep hatred between two ninja clans which has been fostered for hundreds of years. Now, a "no hostilities" pact between the clans had been nullified and the clans allowed to war with eachother. The leaders of the two clans however are deeply in love with each other and are both torn between what they feel their duty to their clans are, and what their clans feel their duty to them is. Although the story line can be predictable at times, there are continuous twists. The action sequences are amazing and there is a good chance of becoming attached to manhy of the characters. Deep and dynamic the whole way through. This is definitly an ADULT anime series and I would not reccomend it for younger teens. Enjoy!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2007
Format: DVD
No doubt about it. This anime drama is one of the best I have seen. You will definitely not be disappointed. Action, drama, and some comedic moments at appropriate times makes this anime to die for! Graphics are superb, couldn't have been any better. The story is addicting that it makes you crave more and more, and the voice acting is so well played (English and Japanese), that I would be a fool not to recommend this anime. Two thumbs way up. Get this. (not for younger audiences there is lots of blood and minor nudity)
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