Basilisk: The Complete Series
Blu-ray | Box Set
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Feudal Japan is set to bear witness to the bloody clash of titans as two fearsome ninja tribes are unleashed, one upon the other. For wretched within the Edo Castle loyalties have been severed into warring factions, as two sons struggle to inherit the title of Shogun. If this rupture goes unresolved, the Tokugawa kingdom will be torn apart. A solution must be found, one befitting a samurai family.
The Kouga and the Iga, two ninja clans with four hundred years of hostilities between them, meet at the request of Lord Ieyasu. There they learn that the peace forced upon them is to be broken by the whim of royalty, and that the outcome of this battle will determine the next Shogun. The passions of the past quickly reignite as two scrolls are sent out into the night.
Ill-fated is this event indeed, for lovers stand with hands entwined as travesty approaches on the wings of a hawk. Reared from birth as sworn enemies, Gennosuke and Oboro, each the heir of these rival clans, seek lasting peace between their peoples. But the terms have been set, and two lists seal their destinies. Two lists from which a name can only be crossed out in blood.
No mercy will be spared to the enemy.
The Onslaught of War commentary
History of the ninja
Behind the scenes of Basilisk (Japanese original extra features): First-Press Extra nos. 3-12
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I think if you took the ending from Ninja Scroll and used it for Basilisk--you'd have THE (!!!) complete ninja story. Basilisk does a very rich job of developing its main characters and also compelling the viewer to identify with one of the rival ninja factions.
I don't know why I'm so in love with this series, I'm on my 3rd screening in the past two years, because the ending is just so awful. It is NOT an ending, that I can imagine, any viewer would desire. I have no idea whether it's a faithful translation of the Kouga Nina Scroll novel mentioned by the other review, but goodness--if this series could have been punctuated with an ending like Ninja Scroll--it would easily be a 10/10--but it didn't, and as such I give it a 9/10 or 4.5/5.0 stars.
Another reason I think it's not quite the 5-star showing it could have been is the English dub is awful. I prefer English dubs when available so I'm not so distracted by following the dialogue and can concentrate on enjoying the action more, but the English dub seems to change some of the conversations on the fringe but enough so that it changes the story in subtle ways that I believe alter the viewer's ability to enjoy the identity of characters. It seems like minutiae but changing the essential fabric of a character's identity, even if at the fringe, nonetheless changes it. Think of it in terms of a frame for a picture, the frame doesn't change the picture itself...but it can either complement it or take away from it. And I think that's what the English dub does...I originally watched the Japanese dub 'cause a friend gave me the version he D/L'ed and I loved the series. I tried watching it recently (after buying the blu ray) in English* and was just disgusted. The English voice characterization absolutely takes away from the character given by the Japanese dubs. The Japanese dialogue is sooooo much better and this coming from an anime fan who prefers English dubs.
So if you're a fan of ninjas and anime, this has it all...it has an intelligent story that's rich with character development and super high on action, the sequences of combat are soooooo intense! I love it! I'm notta perv, but damm--if Okoi was a real woman, hahahaha...she's a smokin' portrait of a woman.
Hyoma from the Kouga faction is my favorite--dude's a blind swordsman and just a certified monster on the battlefield. Lots of the ninja are really cool and their portrayals of ferocity and savagery in battle are uncanny and just splendid displays of tao of the warrior.
This tale of rival ninja clans is amazing! Easily one of the best anime out there...warning, the ending SUCKS! But the whole journey to the destination is so good, it's worth suffering over and over again. The characters are just so enjoyable and the story is fun. I actually like the music too...
Anyway, I think it's a must own, right up there with classics like Berserk, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust, it's just a quality show from start to finish.
Must see anime especially for those who prefer a more mature story and theme and are more averse to the kiddy-type stuff.
This one gets the Your Favorite Antagonist guarantee X2 and I hope my stream of cosciousness-style review was enough to capture your expectations and make a sale--you'll thank me later!!!!!
* this series is so good I had to own it so I could watch it every few years, even though the ending is highly undesirable...this series is perfect for the first 23 of 24 episodes, as far as I'm concerned.
I do not say this lightly - this story takes risks with the demise of the characters on the level of The Walking Dead.
This is one of the greatest anime series ever made.