Focusing on Manji and Rin's quest to slay members of a group of master swordsmen called the Itto-ryu out of atonement and revenge respectively, Blade of the Immortal attempts to explore the moral ramifications faced with killing and the ramifications of not being able to die, the latter being the case for Manji as his body is infested with a plague of bloodworms that grant him immortality. However for 13 episodes, the scope of this title's story is a bit too grand for only 13 episodes.
To make things short and sweet, Blade of the Immortal's manga source material offers up a good deal of fleshing out with the various members of the Itto-ryu that Manji and Rin cross paths with to explore what purpose they have for their lives and the anime only covers much of the first arc to said series which is only about 20 of the 206 chapters that make it up. The anime structures each encounter in one to two episodes leading to some rather mixed results with how well the stories with each Itto-ryu encounter comes across. The majority of the first half episodes are not too well executed in their storytelling as their self-contained narrative prevents much connection that viewers can make to the characters, feels too much like a typical revenge story and Manji mostly getting by through exploiting his immortality for the element of surprise for each foe he slays. Also, the final two episodes don't add anything to the story as the anime adds on more hints of events yet t come, Rin still committed to revenge and the series ending inconclusively just as events are about to escalate in the series.
In spite of its significant flaws, the anime does have its bright spots. The middle arcs of the series offer better story developments as Manji finds himself challenged by another immortal in the form of Eiku, Makie being conflicted over her role with the Itto-ryu and Araya trying to conceal his past from his family while forcing Rin to confront the flaws to her desires of revenge. Plus, the series is a beautiful one to see visually with gorgeous scenic shots, lifelike character designs and great sword fight choreography with Manji's encounters with the various Itto-ryu members.
Still in spite of these minor praises, Sword of the Immortal still carries major issues stemming from its adaptation only being a small part of a larger series and it shows with the majority of the series not providing much fleshing out of our two leads, early episodes feeling a bit underwhelming in their developments and two final ones mostly being a tease for things to come later in the series. If you want to get the best out of seeing the series, I'm more inclined to recommend checking out the manga adaptation of the series over this one.
Last updated Friday, April 15 2016. Created Friday, April 15 2016.
Just looking at the artwork and reading the synopsis above was enough to force me to pick this one up. I'm sure glad I did.
Art, Animation & Character Designs
The artwork was really good. The colors were rich, if not a bit on the darker side and the animation turned out to be pretty smooth. As for character designs, they were pretty much top notch. All the characters were well designed and distinguished enough to make them stand out from each other. Some of the female artwork was really good. Good enough to call them hot!
The OP was sorta... dark. I didn't really care for it but it worked well for the series. It was a sorta, goth-punk-rock type with female vocals. The ED was equally as dark but still worked. As for the rest of the soundtrack, wasn't even noticeable.
Series and Episode Story
This series had a lot going for it.... up until the abrupt end that is. Somehow, the series sorta ended in the middle of the story telling, leaving the viewer expecting enough several episodes to come. However, it wasn't the case. This leads me to believe that it will continue sometime in the near future... at least I hope. If you don't mind bloody gore, near nudity and a lot of plot revolving around prostitutes, then you should like this quite a bit. Our protagonist, "Manji" is one kick-ass sword swinging samurai with not a single bit of remorse or guilt in him. However, he's the "goodguy"! As tough as he is, I found that all throughout the series, he's still nearly getting his ass kicked around by even badder swordmen..... and not to mention from a hot chick samurai. Strangely, this is what makes the story a bit more believable. The fact that he isn't this "unstoppable" killing machine that nobody can beat. Instead, he squeeks a win by chance, luck, or help. The plot itself is sorta shallow but good nevertheless. Near the end, a sign of a plot twist was starting to form.... but then..... it ended. WTF????
Overall it's a good series if not really short and sudden. I would still recommend to watch but just keep in mind that it's a cliff hanger..... and you'll be literally left hanging.
Last updated Sunday, June 21 2009. Created Sunday, June 21 2009.
I was hoping that this series was as good as I thought it would be. It wasn't...it was better. The story is set in the time where samurai were starting to become a distant memory. Manji, an immortal ronin warrior, helps out this girl who's parents were murdered by a young swordsman and his "school". That's basic plot of the series. Everything else is pretty much set coming up to the last episode. The last episode is open ended so I'll speculate that there will be a second season of this series. That will certainly be worth it.
Art and animation are nicely detailed. Definitely an eye pleaser. The action sequences can be a bit shady but not to the point where it's a guessing game. A nice amount of blood and guts to satisfy the bloodthirsty action fanboy. Manji is kinda gross looking because of all his scars and especially his right (missing) eye. Most of the episodes I stare at it cause it really distracts me. I'm not grossed out or anything, just a bit perhaps. Storywise it's just half of what's going on. Since I speculated a second season, I expect some conclusion to the series. It is well paced but some of the characters have no background story. Maybe for the second season but it doesn't really take away from the anime. Manji is what kept me interested in this series. He's a loner who devotes his immortal time on earth to slaying a thousand enemies. It's his way of repenting for all the people he has killed before he became immortal. Manji is a stubborn man socially and a bit of a degenerate but his focal point is that he wants to die. He would like nothing more than for someone to kill him so he can finally pass on. He treats his immortality as a curse and simply wants it to end. However, going forward he finds a reason to stay alive for a while. The girl he meets along the way is like his balance. He wants to die but she makes him go on.
Overall, a lot of action, the story is great, the characters are certainly interesting, and the art/animation are great. I would like to see this series stateside one day. It's definitely worth having in your collection. Feudal Japan is a great setting for this bloody action packed series.
Last updated Saturday, April 04 2009. Created Saturday, April 04 2009.
|Official (Japanese) Series Web Site